Part of my job is to coach educators toward their ideal balance of technology integration and the right blended learning for their environment. My idea of the coach I was going to be, my assessment of the coach I am, and the coach I want to grow into is important to how I do my job.

Three Types of Coaches PIN

Always a Coach

I was always interested in coaching sports in which I enjoyed a measure of success. It speaks to those who master a skill or strategy wanting to share that knowledge. It also helps me understand my personal approaches over time to motivating other educators. My approach has evolved over time and has become more inclusive and inviting.

I always knew I would be a teacher, but the title of coach was something I added to my list of goals in middle school. While I was moderately successful in academics, I was rapidly successful in sports. Students who experience that rapid growth in anything are enthusiastic about that topic. I went so far as asking my high school coach to wait to retire until I was done with college. I was pretty certain of where I would be and what I would be doing.

Then, as life does, it changes your well-laid plans. And I moved out of state to finish my undergraduate degree in education elsewhere. And my first dream coaching job went to a teammate.

Three Types of Coaches

What I liked about the idea of coaching however was not gone.

Books I read when I when I needed to be a coach, but could only imagine athletics:

The Heart of a Champion: Inspiring True Stories of Challenge and Triumph

Friday Night Lights, 25th Anniversary Edition: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

The older me would also add this to that list:
My Losing Season: A Memoir

What Kind of Coach

As I gained my own classroom, I realized that I could coach in the way that I wanted without content in which I was a practiced expert. I was delighted to discover that my motivational style was well received by many students. The fact that I could guide positive results without being a complete expert was new and exciting to me.

As I worked on my craft of teaching I encountered students who were motivated differently and by unexpected things. Instead of learning all the ways to motivate individuals I started, slowly, to loosen my grip of control over the direction or from the motivation could take for different students. That is a long, ongoing process for me.

Currently I strive for a wide background of knowledge and learn specifics of softwares right before redelivery for the most part. I appreciate that the room often contains many experts, some paid to talk and others who thought they might spend the session quietly; it is my job to discover and invite them to the conversation.

Now working as an eLearning Specialist (which could also mean: a Technology Coach, an Instructional Coach) I mainly work on coaching adults in the process of creating more technology-enriched lessons, or a blended learning environment. I have a complete grasp on the fact that I need to approach each participant, in any coaching scenario as someone who will tell me how they want to demonstrate understanding, how they will participate, and to what depth. Maybe I do not lead with that, but that is now my default expectation of adults I coach. I still fight against a compliance background, where all participants much reach Level X by a set time, but I recognize the extra miles I see people give when they opt-in to an idea.

Books I read to get me to where I am:

The Water Is Wide: A Memoir

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

I Still Need Coaching

In order for me to grow I need more coaching. I belong to an educational technology professional learning network, #ETCoaches, which helps me gather resources to read and consider. Some recent book studies in particular have included:
Learning First, Technology Second: The Educators Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons
Effective Digital Learning Environments: Your Guide to the ISTE Standards for Coaches

You can read about our first slow chat book study.

I wrote this book review and I would welcome more to review on this narrow topic of instructional technology leadership, EdTech Leadership.

Books which I am currently reading which I hope propel me forward:
The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation
Coaching: The 7 Laws Of Coaching: Powerful Coaching Skills That Will Predict Your Team’s Success
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Continual rereads for me:
Outliers: The Story of Success
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Books I have yet to read:
The Art of Coaching Teams: Building Resilient Communities that Transform Schools

My Pinterest board for “Great Reads.” My GoodReads account.


What are you reading professionally that is helping you move forward?