By Ellen Darling

27 July 2013 - 10:41

'The person being coached knows the answer already.' Image ©

Alexas_Fotos, licensed under CC0 and adapted from the original.

Professional development is important for good teaching. Ellen Darling of the British Council shares some of the coaching tips passed on by education expert Loraine Kennedy during our webinar on 26 June 2013, attended by people from all over the world.

Coaching vs mentoring

Loraine makes a clear and useful distinction between coaching and mentoring:

Coaching is a developmental process by which an individual gets support while learning to achieve a specific personal or professional result or goal.

Mentoring, on the other hand, is more like a teacher-pupil relationship whereby an expert or more experienced person helps a novice or new member of staff develop into a new role.

Coaches use questioning and listening techniques to help someone discover their own learning path and this approach could work particularly well with experienced people who need guidance, but are capable of finding their own way to grow further.

Principles of coaching

The person in the coaching role should focus on a coachee’s future potential, and disregard any preconceptions that they may have, based on past performance.

In addition, coaches need to be able to understand and value personality differences and respond to individuals accordingly.

By looking forward and focusing on solutions rather than problems, coaches can motivate people in their professional life and re-engage them in their work.

Interestingly, the person being coached knows the answer already and there is no right or wrong answer, but many right and equally valid answers.

Setting clear objectives and creating an honest and trusting relationship are fundamental to the coaching process.

Models of coaching

ADKAR: Awareness of the need to change; Desire to change; Knowledge of how to change; Ability to implement change; Reinforcement to sustain change. This framework describes a process which can be followed to make professional changes.

COACH: Collaborate; Own; Acknowledge; Communicate; Help. The coaching role here involves a great deal of collaboration with the coachee.

GROW: Goal; Reality; Obstacles/Options; Way forward. The coach needs to understand the coachee’s context and perspective and to explore many options before deciding future action.

Qualities of a coach

A coach has to have good communication skills, particularly highly developed listening skills. You can follow the webinar for tips on how to avoid sounding patronising, such as avoiding making presumptions and delaying offering advice until invited to do so.

Good coaches seek out someone to coach them or engage in peer coaching. To be a good coach you need to be a good coachee.

For detailed practical advice, as well as links to further resources and courses, you can follow the webinar in your own time.

More webinars on continuing professional development are available on our English Agenda website.

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