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Before you can be really effective as a coach you need to have an understanding of your own style and how it can help or hinder the coaching process. Informal coaching can take place almost anywhere or any time as long as you can give the person you are coaching your undivided attention – even for a very short time.
If you look for them, you’ll be amazed at how often you’ll be able to create “on the run” coaching sessions. Teaching Scotland's Future endorses the more general applicability of mentoring and coaching. The literature on mentoring and coaching is vast but essentially they share common ground and work along the same continuum of professional support from ‘non-directive’ to more 'directive' approaches. This continuum can perhaps be exemplified in a school based context through the experiences of a Probationer Teacher in their induction year. The terms coaching and mentoring describe a continuous two-way process through which the person in the role of coach, or mentor, uses questions, discussion and guided activity to help the person being coached, or mentored, to solve problems, address issues or do tasks to a higher standard than would otherwise be the case. There are three core coaching and mentoring characteristics that support our PRD process - Relationship, Being and Doing.
According to Authentic Success (2011), coaching and mentoring ultimately has one purpose, which is to help an individual or organisation be more successful, and as part of our Professional Update, it is about enabling us to be more successful in achieving our goals. The tools a coach or mentor can bring to a coaching conversation vary but in essence the coach often follows a framework and brings a clear structure and methodology to the conversation which helps centre on the teacher as learner, helping them to think critically about their own professional learning, development and impact on practice.

If used effectively, there is abundant evidence that coaching and mentoring empowers individuals, builds teams, enhances collegiality and improves morale across the team or establishment.
Mentoring Matters is an online resource designed to support educators as they self-evaluate the quality of their mentoring practice and reflect on the impact of mentoring on learning and teaching, providing exemplification and access to recent research into the use of mentoring at all stages of a teacher's career research .
There are a number of great resources on our PU employers sharing section on the use of coaching to support PRD. As part of MyGTCS you have access to a wide range of articles and books which has a very helpful section on Coaching and Mentoring. As long as the coaching style you are adopting suits the situation (the person and the task), learning will be maximised. However, these days, with the pace of work, it is often difficult to set up formal coaching sessions. The conversations you have with people in the lunchroom, in corridors, even in the car lot can all lead to potentially effective coaching. If you’re serious about helping the people you work with, you need to make time to set up some more formal coaching sessions.
Professional Update talks about Professional Review and Development (PRD) as not just a meeting, but part of a supportive process which places an emphasis on coaching and mentoring support (GTCS 2012).
At the start of the first term the teacher may need to call upon the mentoring skills of their supporter and the school team, to gain knowledge and provide solutions to different issues as they present themselves.

Remember the quote from the Mars organisation, “If any conversation lasts longer than 10 seconds it should be seen as coaching”.
In addition, the person you’re coaching feels that it’s more of a partnership if they feel they can come to you anytime without being “invited”. However, later on in the school year the teacher and their supporter would move towards a stronger coaching approach with the supporter helping the teacher to draw upon their growing experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to look for solutions to issues as they present themselves.
These conversations should be challenging and the supportive nature of the coaching relationship allows for deep reflection and enquiry - encouraging, stretching and pushing others to take responsibility for their development, to set goals, take action and grow. Hence, if a conversation is short and instructional, it does not seek to modify long-term thinking or action and therefore rarely counts as coaching. The PRD process has a formal meeting once a year, however, coaching and mentoring is essentially part of the ongoing supportive PRD professional relationship and dialogue a teacher has though out the year. This sort of coaching is appropriate when tasks are to be performed in the “right” way over and over. This sort of coaching is appropriate when there are many paths to a good result and there is not just one “right” approach.

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