How Are You Coaching the Coaches?


Get some popcorn. It’s coaching movie day. If you were at my house we’d top our popcorn with real butter and nutritional yeast and spike it with Hot Pepper Sesame Oil. Delicious.

This week I got two “contact me” emails through the blog asking me about how we continue to stretch our own personal coaching professional development in our district. So I thought I’d zoom in and share what we did today.

Our meeting started and 8:30 and when I looked around, several people were taking audible deep breaths. We’re one week from conferences, two weeks from spring break and just a few from spring testing. Teachers are having a tough time so it’s a tough time to be a coach.

I opened with two different videos that were gifted to me this week. The first one is on the power of cooperation.

The Coca Cola Friendship Machine Video

The second one is about imagination. Coaches constantly think about the “what ifs” as does this video when they consider, What if Animals Were Round? My favorite is the inflated cheetah and antelope interaction.

What If Animals Were Round? Video

According to a medical article I read recently, laughter relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins and protects the heart. So I like to start every Friday meeting with laughter if at all possible. I want our team of 17 coaches to look around the room and think, T.G.I.F!

If you are interested in past blog posts about videos to use with educators, here are a couple:

Using Video Clips Part One

Using Video Clips Part Two

We transitioned and started talking about using video with teachers. Corwin has put together a nice menu of short–very short–videos of teacher practice and reflection. We watched the cooperative learning one and “freedom within form” selection.

Corwin’s High Impact Instruction Videos

Finally it was time to watch our peers. We watched a coach working in a 9th grade English class.

Secondary Instructional Coaching

Then we moved down to the other end and watched a coach working with a kindergarten teacher.

Elementary Instructional Coaching (Kindergarten)

We informally debriefed and coaches talked about:

* what coaching moves they noticed
* how it validated their work
* what they wondered
* how they could use it in their practice

Wrapping up, I wished everyone a great weekend and we were off to classrooms, emails, planning, meeting and more. This is just one way we collaborate to make sure that we coaches are getting coaching too!

5 thoughts on “How Are You Coaching the Coaches?

  1. Thanks for the follow-up to my question about PD for coaches, Heather! The Coke video warmed my heart, and the round animals video made me chuckle. Both were appreciated at the end of what has been a very long and trying week for me.

    I have a few more questions for you and other coaches. How long do your meetings with the coaching team last? How much of your time is spent on talking about coaching, and how much time is spent talking about curriculum? How does your team approach the responsibilities of providing ongoing professional development for teachers?

    • Hi Gail,
      I hope you got my email response this week too. If not let me know. Our meetings are 90 minutes once a week. Our time is spent focusing on topics like coaching, leading professional development, adult learning styles, the Common Core Standards and of course, team building for fun. We don’t spend time on curriculum because this is a K-12 group focused on multiple subjects (those meetings happen at other times). Most of us provide professional development in a range of ways from in-class one to one coaching, joining PLC meetings, leading half-day trainings or offering after school classes. For example, I teach 3:45-5:15 classes once, sometimes twice, a week. I’m glad the videos offered you warmth and chuckles after a trying week. That was the intent.

  2. Dear Heather,
    Thank you for the video clips. I am going to share them at a team meeting this week to get us started with laughter.
    After watching “If Animals Were Round” I found this clip:
    I thought it could be a good opener for professional development that focuses on new curriculum or a new strategy. The video could prompt conversation around our reactions to something new coming along.
    Thanks again for this wonderful blog. I look forward to reading each post.

    • Way to pay it forward with the video, D. That’s a great one. I can see many ways to interpret “Trouble in Paradise.” Thank YOU.

  3. Dear Heather,

    Appreciate the videos. As a coach, I don’t get a lot of feedback on my coaching. All too often, I’m sharpening my craft by blogging with others about coaching. I spent a lot of time on the Coaching Clearinghouse when it first launched and learned about do’s and don’ts of coaching. I’ve applied a lot of what I’ve learned and it continues to be an ongoing process. Reading your blog on this topic gives me another avenue to pursue and share with my coaching buddies. Much thanks.

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