My career has taken me on an incredible learning path and one full of rich learning’s and invaluable lessons. Coaching and teaching taught me to pay attention to the learning styles, behaviors and inspirations of those 24 pairs of eyes which can be a daunting task. The real journey is finding the connection with each person which allows us to unlock the spirit and meaning behind the lessons so that each pair of eyes gazes brightly on each and every word.
Nelson Mandela was quoted as saying, “Education is the engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another”
Powerful words that made an impact on the very essence of how I taught and coach and to this very day. Once discovered, these words shifted how I started to communicate and when combined with the skill of coaching, brought a new awareness of what was possible for a classroom of moderate and severe behavior students. It was these students that taught me the biggest lessons as a teacher.
From communication with parents, to the challenges of individualized learner programs, the dialogue we shared in a student-teacher relationship allowed us to grow as individuals and a group. Coaching and being curious allowed us to create an environment without judgment and one where results became an everyday event to celebrate.
Whether you are in a classroom or in an organization, a subtle shift in how we communicate inspires a level of engagement that will produce results. The following is an example which has words that can be shifted to make it relevant to your personal scenario. This was taken from a personal journal and communication with parents:
From Traditional Appreciative and Coach Approach
Does he/she share and take turns? How does he/she share and take turns?
Is your child willing to take risks? How do you see your child taking risks?
Is he/ she a leader, follower or combination? What types of leadership roles could we give your child?
What challenges do you see with your How do you see them reacting?
child’s academic progress?
The best story to come from of all this was that these strategies were shared with and used by an educator with 35 yrs of elementary school experience and it shifted a potentially non communicative parent conversation into the most powerful and engaging conversation with the parents they had ever had. To see the shift to a now healthy and active child embracing and engaged in learning and a legacy of positive communication they walked with in the final years of their teaching career fulfilled.
Coaching allows us to be curious and value the perspectives and passions of those we connect with. In business, education, and from a most recent health care coach delivery, coaching tools are being integrated into professional development initiatives and leadership toolboxes. No matter what profession you are in, we are all in a profession of great influence.
“Imagine the Possibilities” of what could be by just listening intently and staying curious?