The Most Convincing Coaching Demonstration

This article is dedicated to coaches who want to bring coaching into schools and colleges.

“I might not be able to pay teachers more money, or give them the public recognition they deserve for the amazing work that they do, but I can encourage professional coaches to approach schools and colleges to introduce them to coaching. And that will be my contribution to a better world.”

Martin Richards

I am a teacher and a coach. I coach teachers. Before I can coach them, they need confirmation that coaching is worth their time. So, I give live coaching demonstrations to the staff at a school before I offer to coach any individual teacher.

Over the years, I have tried many styles of demonstrations. I have been cautious, delivered research and evidence of the benefits of coaching. I have been reckless and simply coached a teacher in front of their peers. Both styles worked well.

The demonstration of coaching that really convinces the widest range of teachers is one that has the following ingredients:

  1. Includes many different coaching topics simultaneously
  2. Is done in confidence and in silence
  3. Is done in a way that’s logical, emotional, and uses the teachers’ intuition.

The most successful demonstration that I have used is where the key coaching questions are on display during the demonstration and I coach everybody in the room, at the same time, and in silence on topics of their own choosing.

If the school leadership team is in alignment with you giving the staff a coaching demonstration, then almost all the staff will want to sign up to be coached.

The 12 Key Questions

If you are a trained coach, you already know the kind of key questions to use. If not, then here’s some pointers for you to consider before starting the demonstration:

Remember preparation is everything. Gain the teacher’s trust. Present yourself, the research, case studies etc. take the time. Get the teacher’s permission, and get them in the right state of mind to be coached at all. Get them out of their thinking minds and into their bodies. A brief light meditation exercise does this.

These questions are offered here to give you an idea of what to say. The bold text is what is on display, the other words are to give you an idea of what to say:

  1. Choose One Thing to Change.
    “Looking at all aspects of your work as a teacher, what is one thing that is asking to be changed?”
  2. How do you feel?
    “How do you feel about this aspect of your teaching? (1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest, most satisfied)”
  3. How do you know?
    “How do you know that you are this satisfied or dissatisfied with it?”
  4. Look ahead. Add two.
    “Now you are moving ahead in time, a little. Allow yourself to feel that your satisfaction is two levels higher.”
  5. How do you feel?
    “At this higher level of satisfaction. Describe how you feel about getting to this level.”
  6. Choose One Thing to Change.
    “Now you are going to focus on action. What is one thing that you can change about yourself that could take you closer to your goal?”
  7. What’s in the Way?
    “Look ahead of you, what’s getting in the way of your success?”
  8. When do you want this?
    “Now you are getting into time planning. By when do you want to arrive at your goal?”
  9. How will you get this?
    “Now you are getting into strategies and resources. How you are going to get that higher level of satisfaction that’s asking for change?”
  10. Reflection.
    “Reflect for a minute. Do you have an answer to all of these things: “What I want to change? Why I want it? What’s getting in my way? What I need to change about myself? When I want the change? How I make the change? What I need to support this change?”
  11. What happens next?
    “If you answered “No” or “I don’t know” to any of the reflection questions, then you need to go back and spend a little more time exploring those questions before moving on to the last question.”
  12. The last question.
    “When are you going to start?”

The last question usually results in laughter. Always a good sign.

At this point, take a survey of the results. Ask them to raise their hands to, “How many of you feel that you have made significant progress towards your goals of increased satisfaction in your work?”. Here you can also take a moment to point out that you knew nothing of the aspects of their work they had chosen to focus on, nor had you given them any direct advice on what to do. And yet, most of them had raised their hands!

One thing that’s always true about change. There is only one time to start. Now!