Not sure what coaching is, why it’s so great or how it differs from mentoring? Our Accreditation Coach, Charlotte Andrews answers some frequently asked questions, and our EdTech Advocate, Nicole Ponsford, gives some top tips for eCoaching. What is coaching? Coaching is a tool which is used to help clients (that’s you!) to identify and achieve their goals. It is a structured conversation where the coach listens and asks questions to help clients understand more about who they want to be and where they want to be, as well as empowering them to achieve those things. Coaching differs from mentoring as coaches do not give advice or pass on advice to their clients; coaches believe clients have the answers they need and that they can be ‘unlocked’ by asking the right questions. Coaching also differs from counselling as it does not deal with psychological issues (although it does provide an opportunity to address limiting beliefs and build confidence) and it is present and future focused rather than focused on dealing with past issues. Unlike mentoring, coaching also has no agenda. We know that becoming a new parent can be accompanied with a whole range of welcome (and uninvited) tips, advice, instruction and duties, and we have found that a coaching relationship can provide you with a space for your thoughts to be articulated and heard. Whilst The MTPT Project is interested in teacher retention and gender equality in leadership, the coaching process focuses on you deciding what you want, without any influence from your coach. How do I know that coaching is right for me? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, coaching can support you:
- Is there a gap between where you are now and where you want to be?
- Are you at a ‘crossroads’ in your life and not sure what the way forward is?
- Do you feel that you aren’t currently reaching your potential or feeling fulfilled in some way?
- Is there something new you want to explore but aren’t sure how to?
- Do you feel you don’t have the confidence, skills or resources to do what you want to do?
- Do you feel stuck, or like you have too many or too few choices available to you in areas of your life?
- Do you feel torn by conflicting demands?
What happens during a coaching session? Almost all of the talking done in a coaching session is done by you. Your coach will normally establish the session and then ask questions and listen. They will not give you answers or tell you what to do. Coaching can be carried out over the telephone/SKYPE or face to face. Coaches use different models to structure their sessions. At The MTPT Project, we use the GROW model which is an acronym for the areas explored: Goals, Reality, Options and Way Forward. This keeps you moving forward towards your goal. Each session will loosely guide you through a 6-point process:
- Review the previous session and the actions you have completed
- Set the goal for that session
- Consider where you are currently in relation to this goal
- Consider your options in meeting this goal
- Agree on some actions
- Summarise the session