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Brittany Michael-Singh Rehal: Introduction to Leadership Coaching Course

The Introduction to Leadership Coaching Course caters to adult learners by applying participants' experience to a variety of interactive learning activities. For example, part of our home learning includes reflecting on our past behaviour or typical behaviour patterns and re-evaluating the effectiveness of our behaviour in light of what we learn about ‘coaching way of being’. As a leader, this is a humbling practice that reminds me of the mantra Brene Brown often recites, “I’m a learner here to get it right, not a knower here to be right.” As a teacher, I am energized after actively experiencing how coaching can enhance our personal growth and our depth as educators. Before this course, I was aware of how the coaching approach could propel positive change by stimulating reflective practices amongst educators. After taking this course, I am thoroughly convinced coaching skills/coaching conversations have the power to improve all communication, generate deep listening and create a strength-based culture within schools.

 

The GCI facilitators consistently highlight how the content is immediately relevant and impactful to our professional and personal life by sharing examples of what coaching skills look like within educational leadership. As a leader, I feel connected to participants I’ve never met before because I connect to the shared and lived experience. As a teacher, I notice each participant is involved in the evaluation and planning of the course when answers from surveys we’ve completed are shown and celebrated during our workshops, live annotation tools are used on zoom to illuminate participants thinking in real time, and slides for the following interactive aspect of the workshop are released ahead of time. This feels respectful and inclusive of all learning styles as some of us learn better by taking notes, others benefit from printing out the material, and others can simply read through the content and feel prepared for the next lesson.

 

To further supplement live workshops, GCI created a user-friendly learning platform which enables participants to complete pre-workshop work within a week of the next workshop. The platform tracks completion based on percentage with a helpful visual aid showing how far along the participant is in the course. As a student, it’s reassuring to see a clear picture of what needs to be done before the next module and the progress that’s already been achieved. The content within the learning platform is inclusive of multiple learning styles by incorporating videos, articles, reflective questions, images and tasks for participants to apply and practice during daily conversations. While the articles draw upon theory and research, they are written in clear and understandable language which makes the purpose and key points simple for participants to understand and apply. Another fantastic feature of the course content is accessibility. Participants can access the online platform even after they’ve completed the course in order to revisit any of the slides, activities or content.

 

By participating in past coaching courses online and in person, I’ve realized the importance of having a psychologically safe space to practice and apply coaching skills. As a visual learner, this practice is amplified when I’m able to see coaching in practice and then apply what I’ve seen by engaging in a coaching conversation. Chris, our facilitator, models his advanced coaching skills through conversations and ‘coaching demo’s’ with participants, and simultaneously exemplifies humility by spotlighting videos of different coaches/coachees. Immediately following these videos, participants discuss what we noticed and then go into breakout rooms to actively practice the new skills. It’s incredible to be a part of a workshop where a psychologically safe space is created so quickly and so genuinely between participants and facilitators. There is a shared intention to grow and learn, thus we are able to take risks without fear of judgement.

 

As a teacher, I’m grateful to be equipped with new skills I can implement while teaching online or in-person. As a leader, I have a clear understanding of how to emulate a coaching approach and lay the foundation for a coaching culture within schools. As a student, I’m reminded of why I love opportunities to cultivate new understandings, share experiences and reflect on new knowledge within a professional community of learners.

 

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