Building Trust is the First Step When Coaching Instructional Coaches

photo of hands holding object that says "trust" for post about coaching instructional coaches

Coaching instructional coaches and helping instructional coaches develop their skills is an important part of their improvement, just like coaching someone in any profession.

Before utilizing technology such as video to coach instructional coaches, however, establishing trust is crucial. When any form of professional development is built on a foundation of trust, more meaningful learning can take place.

Read for more about why building trust is key to designing professional learning opportunities for instructional coaches, plus concrete strategies for supporting coaches when using a video coaching platform like Edthena.

Effectively coaching instructional coaches starts with a foundation of trust

A research-based method for professional learning for all educators is video coaching, and it is increasingly being used for coaching instructional coaches to get better at how they’re supporting teachers.

Video coaching for instructional coaches – meaning having instructional coaches record and share their coaching conversations – meets the needs of these coaches as adult learners.

Plus, this type of coaching can be easily implemented across a school building or district, helps coaches in mirroring teacher behaviors and skills, and is applicable to real-life scenarios.

Video coaching has made it easy for school leaders to virtually and asynchronously watch instructional coaches’ coaching practice and efficiently give feedback.

However, giving instructional coaches feedback is about more than just giving them a list of areas to improve on.

Trust and safety in working relationships are integral to getting and implementing feedback.

When colleagues trust each other, they’re more likely to feel safe enough to learn and grow and put feedback into action.

By trusting the school leaders or colleagues giving them feedback on videos of their coaching practices, instructional coaches are more willing to take risks and try new things. They may also be more receptive to difficult feedback.

A foundation of trust enables coaches to grow more and is an important first step to using technology such as video coaching for coaches’ professional learning.

Foster a relationship before giving coaches feedback

Rapport and mutually respectful relationships are key to building trust before engaging in professional development for instructional coaches.

Jumping straight into giving a coach feedback, for example on a recorded coaching session, can do more harm than help if there isn’t an established working relationship.

Here are 7 relationship-building questions you can ask when coaching instructional coaches to build trust:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are your top 3 values that drive you as a person?
  3. What brings you to this work?
  4. What are your personal strengths?
  5. What is your vision for yourself and for your work?
  6. How do you best receive and process feedback?
  7. What should you and I commit to for our relationship?

Use these questions to cultivate a strong human connection even while using technology like video coaching.

Be upfront about the video coaching process

Instructional coaches, literacy coaches, math coaches, and all other types of coaches may feel hesitant about turning the camera on themselves. video clapperboard with text "Using video coaching? Here are tips for building trust"

It’s important to be straightforward about how video observation and video coaching will be used for coaching feedback.

Perhaps the coaches have never recorded a coaching conversation or a model lesson before and they are nervous that others will be watching the recordings.

Coaches may believe that videos of their coaching sessions will be used to evaluate them.

To address this, be sure that the coaches you work with know that their videos will only be used to support their professional development.

Or, perhaps a coach is wary of new technology. Walk your coaches through the video coaching process so they know exactly what tools to use and how and when to use them.

The more transparent you make the video coaching process, the more teacher coaches will trust that this medium will be used to support them and their instructional coaching growth.

Don’t let mistrust stunt your video coaching for instructional coaches

Video coaching is effective for coaching instructional coaches. Trust must be established first though, so coaches are invested in this professional learning process.

Focus on relationship-building and be upfront about the video coaching process before diving into giving feedback so that your instructional coaches feel more comfortable with the technology.

Professional development for coaches, just like with any educator, must be built on top of an existing foundation of trust.

If you’re looking for more on cultivating strong relationships while coaching instructional coaches, check out our post on skills to cultivate empathy.

Not convinced that video coaching can help coaches improve their support for teachers? Check out this blog post: 4 Ways Professional Development for Coaches is More Like Teacher PD Than You Think

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