Developing a Peer Coaching Toolbox

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One major “ah ha” moment I have had during my master’s program research in digital education leadership is that good teaching is good teaching.  By this I mean that many of the best practices we use in our K-12 classrooms are equally effective when creating professional development for teachers. This quarter, my cohort has had the chance to look deeper at peer coaching and I recently had a similar “ah ha” moment; good coaching is good coaching.  Specifically, efficient coaching strategies for educators are, at their core, very similar to those used in other fields of work. I have used this perspective most recently as I have conducted research for my module 4 triggering question:

What are a few essential resources to add to my “peer coaching toolbox” that will help create valuable conversations while ensuring I don’t come across as critical?

Asking “what makes a great peer coach” without limiting my search to only educational coaching led me to countless resources, some gems and some that were easy to pass by.  As my intention is to create a “toolbox” of peer coaching resources, my resolution to my research was to synthesize some of the best information I came across into a document (shared in the “resolution” section). While sifting through resources, I attempted to really focus on the second part of my question, “[to choose tools that] create conversations that don’t come across as critical”. What follows is only the start to my peer coaching toolbox and I intend to build on it as I learn and gain more experience.

Resolution

Peer Coaching Toolbox

Overview of Resources

Since most of my peer coaching toolbox is made up of resources created and shared by others, rather than simply created by me, I didn’t think that a quick link in the “references” section gave due credit.  Below I include a brief overview of the resources I used to create my comprehensive toolbox.

  • EDTC 6103 Course Materials: this quarter it has been a bit difficult finding resources that top those provided by my professors, David Wicks and Les Foltos.  All that they have provided is already part of my toolbox, but for the sake of this module resolution I tried to narrow down to just a few resources that I found most valuable in general.  Some which I included are the learning activity checklist and tips on listening and asking probing questions.
  • Peer Coaching Resources: this resource was a gem and exactly what I was looking for to help address my question!  This was actually created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services and, as far as I can tell, is for nurses, specifically those working in nursing homes.  That being so, I still found that just about all of these resources are equally relevant to peer coaching for teachers, or most professions.  I liked that they included several ready-to-use resources and among my favorites were ones on setting goals, establishing a clear plan for peer coaching, active listening, and activities for reflection and seeking feedback.  While not included in my toolbox, I really appreciated that they included a document that lists common peer coaching roadblocks along with solutions.  This is something I would like to develop later on!
  • How Google is Making Work Better: This episode of the podcast The Hidden Brain talks with Laszlo Bock about how his research on a successful workplace, outlined in his book Work Rules has been applied at Google.  In this episode, Bock and host Shankar Vedantam discuss leading theories on what creates an effective work environment.  
  • What Makes a Good Sports/Fitness Coach: when I looked at how to be an inspiring coach, I came across many resources for sports/fitness coaches.  While I didn’t come across many tangible items to add to my toolbox, I did appreciate that many of these resources seemed to focus on encouragement, positivity, and the attitude of the coach, which seemed a vital point to consider when selecting other resources.

Future Questions or Inquiries

  • What resources am I missing? Is there an element of peer coaching that is totally neglected?
  • I started this module intending to look at questioning strategies for peer coaches.  I ended up straying from that topic though because I feel like that’s already been done by many of my classmates and there are some good materials in our course documents.  In the future, this is something I would like to revisit.  
  • I want to look a bit further into how to include feedback and reflections into peer coaching opportunities.

References

Goldburg, A. (2016). SPECIAL: What makes a GOOD COACH? Retrieved November 27, 2016, from https://www.competitivedge.com/special-what-makes-good-coach

How Google’s Laszlo Bock Is Making Work Better. (2016, June 7). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/2016/06/07/480976042/how-googles-laszlo-bock-is-making-work-better

Peer Coaching Resources. (2015, August). Retrieved November 20, 2016, from http://www.alliantquality.org/sites/default/files/Peer_Coach_Resource_508_FNL.pdf

Quinn, E. (2016, April 5). 9 Qualities of a Great Sports Fitness Coach. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from https://www.verywell.com/what-makes-a-good-coach-3120792

Reeder, E. (2011, March 4). Retrieved November 20, 2016, from http://pimarsc.pbworks.com/w/page/37053775/LessonActivityChecklist

4 thoughts on “Developing a Peer Coaching Toolbox

  • November 28, 2016 at 4:02 pm
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    Wow Hanna! I really appreciate your Piktochart resource. You took a lot of valuable information and compiled it into one visually friendly, content rich resource. I feel like it is so important to create a “toolbox” of resources in many different areas. I am so glad that you modeled how that relates to peer coaching and what that may look like.

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  • November 30, 2016 at 3:28 am
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    Wow! Your “Peer Coaching Toolbox” is a great way to showcase the tools you’ve collected during our coursework… and to bank those resources for future use.

    I also like your mention of the sports/fitness coach mindset. I was an assistant volleyball coach for one year and it actually ended up being the best crash course in “classroom management.” I learned so many “transferable skills” that mostly had to do with “mindset” when working with students.

    I like that you are looking beyond what has been researched and written about in terms of coaching in the teaching profession. Now, we need to get out there and publish our own research, based on our experiences and combining all of the transferable skills and resources we have discovered!

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  • December 5, 2016 at 10:45 am
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    Great set of resources. It is so powerful that they come from a variety of professions. It does demonstrate that good coaching is good coaching. As Liz says it will be interesting to how you publish based on your experiences. I am looking forward to hearing how these resources shape your coaching work and your learning partners teaching practices.

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  • December 13, 2016 at 10:28 pm
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    Your toolbox you compiled is amazing. Great ideas and nice work!

    I really appreciated your diverse resources. All too often I go straight to EBSCO to find academic articles, but there are so many great podcasts floating around just waiting to be heard. (Not to mention they’re far more commuter-friendly!).

    The sports coaching analogy came up a few times in my reading these past few weeks as well. These athletic coaches can be such a powerful example (both positive and negative) in coaching conversations early on with colleagues. I can think of few better individuals to model coaching practices after than Coach John Wooden. Your sports resources will be helpful in extending conversations — thanks

    Great work

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