This is a well written, easy to read practical guide to coaching principals and other school leaders. It contains many examples of different coaching styles for the education sector.
The authors offer a fresh approach to professional development of leadership. Blended Coaching provides research and theory for the readers with practical skills and strategies for leadership coaching which is connected to the needs of principals and other school leaders.
This book provides field tested, concise guidance, for all who are concerned with supporting new and veteran principals’ professional learning and all other leadership stakeholders within the education sector. In this book you will find real life examples to enforce key concepts, exercises for coaches and principals, and comprehensive resources which include worksheets, sample forms, and assessments. This is a must read for principals who are determined to improve their leadership abilities. Bloom, G. , Castagna, C. , Moir, E. , & Warren, B. (2005) are the authors of Blended Coaching: Skills and Strategies to Support Principal Development.
The publishing company is located in Thousand Oaks California, Publisher Corwin Press A Sage Publications Company. The price of the book is $23. 45 and has 147pps. The authors of this book are affiliated with the New Teacher Center (NTC) located at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). The New Teacher Center is dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new and veteran teachers and school leaders.
The center has been in operation since 1998 and has served over 49,000 teachers and 5,000 mentors. The NTC has touched millions of students across the country through comprehensive mentoring and professional development programs.
(Each author has an educational background. Collectively, their background and experiences range from classroom teacher to assistant superintendent, bring almost 100 years of experience to the writing of the book. The experiences speak volumes in that authors are practioners that have translated their work into theory.
These authors are all affiliated with the New Teacher Center which can be found on the website: http://www. newteachercenter. org/index. php. Blended Coaching elements of the book are well defined in three parts. Part I consist of Leadership Coaching Skills. It defines what is coaching and ties the power of coaching to what we know about how adults learn. This chapter pays particular attention to emotional intelligence and cultural proficiency as a prior condition to success as a school leader.
Some of the key elements in the chapter one are:
In part I coaching is considered to be the practice of providing intentional support to another individual to assist clarification in achieving their goals. In order to supervise instructions and bring about change in an individual’s leadership a coach must establish trust, demonstrate competence, observe and provide feedback to the individual. It is important to provide coaching strategies that will support the individual’s leadership and improve their leadership skills without feeling belittle.
The book utilizes an excellent real life example of learning to fly an airplane reflecting on the flight instructor as a coach to demonstrate the knowledge and skills of coaching. The authors demonstrate the similarity between certified flying instructor (CFI) and leadership coaching. Marsha Speck and Carol Knipe outlined a number of research findings regarding adult learning that helped to explain the success of coaching. Some of the research findings are listed below:
Employment for the purpose of coaching on a one to one basis responds to each of these characteristics of adult learners whether they lead schools or private businesses. The authors further discuss what coaching isn’t. In order to understand the concept of coaching it is necessary to know what coaching is not, and to review some of the practices that are infrequently confused with it. Coaching is not training. Coaching is centered on context and design to respond to the needs of the individual learner. Coaching is not mentoring although effective mentors use coaching skills and strategies.
The terms coach and mentor are sometimes used interchangeably. The author indicates that a coach brings an outside perspective and has no stake in the status quo of an organization. Coaching is a professional practice; mentoring is typical voluntary and informal. Coaching is not supervision but effective supervisors a lot. A supervisor has the authority to give direction; a coach does not. A supervisor may have influence over an individuals employment a coach does not. Most of the time the supervisor’s role is the same as that of a coach: to nurture growth in their subordinates.
Last but not least coaching is not therapy. Coaches should be prepared to suggest that coaches seek additional help if personal situations warrant. The authors discuss Leadership Coaching For School Leaders. Effective School Leadership Coaching utilizes the elements of what coaching is and what it is not. It is important that the school leadership coach develops a relationship based on trust and permission. A coach and coachee must have an agreement by which the pair has set goals and each party has given certain permissions to the other.
The finale of part I Meeting the Challenges of the Principleship is descriptive and well needed information to assist new and veteran principles. The authors discuss standards for principals. These range from dishearten to global events which involves communication skills, curriculum decisions, expertise of teachers, and endorsements from societies. The principalship is about interwoven work that cannot be mastered in theory. Much of the work must be learned or introduced within the classroom but it’s not likely to be learned well until it actually happens or the need presents itself.
It is further discussed the issues of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Daniel Goleman defines EI as the “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. Recognizing and accepting change in how we are perceived can be a difficult adjustment. Lindsey, Robins, and Terrell (1999) outlined five elements of cultural proficiency which are calling upon school leaders to assess culture, manage the dynamics of difference, institutionalized cultural knowledge and adapt to and value diversity.
School leaders are definitely in need of external and internal support systems. As principals there is always room for learning. Coaching is grounded in the basic skills of listening, observing, questioning, and positive feedback. In Part II the authors explore the fundamental structures of coaching conversations and relationships which is called coaching strategies. There are two basic approaches to coaching, instructional and facilitating. The authors suggest that effective leadership coaches utilize a variety of blended coaching strategies.
Preparation is imperative for school leadership coaches. The author’s points out that instructional coaching have to be prepared to teach, to share their expertise and professional resources with their coachees. This book states that the model it was build upon is the outstanding work of Costa and Garmston in articulating a constructivist approach to coaching, while integrating other strategies. “Cognitive Coaching is a non-judgmental process of mediation” (Costa and Garmston, 2002, p. 29)-and their recognition of the need to use instructional strategies in the coaching process.
The mediator or coach influences the direction and flow of another persons thinking through conversation. Through meditational questioning, the coach encourages the development of the coachee’s problem analysis skills. The take away for me or anyone being a supervisor is the essential need to be able and willing to analyze a situation thoroughly before making decisions. The significant goal of the coaching process is triple loop learning and personal transformation. We often start in the instructional mode, at the level of single and double loop learning.
The supervisor’s goal has to be to move toward the deeper growth that is represented as triple loop learning. Triple loop learning requires the establishment of new ways of seeing and interpreting things and demands that we practice new ways of being. Developing new ways of seeing, interpreting, and being is at the heart of both ontological coaching and forms the essence of transformational coaching. In part III the authors bring all the blended strategies together through a discussion of the importance of using coaching to drive systems improvement.
It is discussed the importance of using coaching to drive systems improvement. The book discusses the components of quality leadership coaching and professional development induction programs. The book shares with us a variety of resources intended to help individuals and organizations that are interested in building such programs. One of the needs for coaching is that they can do an outside observation of everyday activities within the schools and provide supportive strategies in creating better systems for better results.
This too is another strong take away that I may use from Blended Coaching. This book is a one to one process for the purpose of helping others to clarify their professional goals and achieve them. The authors educate new coachees and what to expect and encourages them to invest in coaching relationships. Robert Hargrove, author of Masterful Coaching eloquently justifies the authors’ position on Blended Coaching by stating, “Masterful coaches inspire people by helping them recognize the previously unseen possibilities that lay embedded in their existing circumstances”.
The book is grounded in research and theory and provides the readers with practical skills and strategies for leadership coaching. Blended Coaching has had a profound impact on me as a veteran teacher in reconsidering my need for improvement of skills to be a masterful leader in my supervision. I would use this book as my bible for guidance in the professional field of education.
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