Evaluating strength and weakness
This week has provided an excellent opportunity for me to evaluate my strengths as a coach. It’s also been a good week for determining where I have gaps between my current self and my ideal self. This week I’ll be looking at what I value about myself, and the skills I wish to develop to close the gaps. I’ll also look at how I’ll know when I’ve achieved my ideal and will finish of by defining a question I could ask myself that would foster my coaching improvement.
My Ideal Self
Looking for my ideal self is a lot like asking what I want to be when I grow up. I must admit I’m still working on the growing up part, but I’ve begun to form a picture in my head. “Picturing our ‘ideal self’ provides us with something to aim for” (Hay Group, 2009), and I need something to aim for, so here goes nothing. As my ideal self, I have a job that I love to wake up to, and I make a comfortable living doing something that energizes me. I am well liked and respected by the people in my life, and I have a core group of friends and family who are supportive and understanding. I am doing what I love and loving what I do.
According to my Hay Survey results (2010), I want to be the kind of coach who inspires people to become better, not just at their job, or schooling, but also in other aspects of their lives. I want to be a coach that people can trust with their problems because they know I’ll help them find their own solutions. I want to motivate people to reach for, and work towards, their own dreams. When I imagine myself as the coach I aspire to be, I am thinking about how good it feels to help another person. I am feeling excited about the possibilities they have before them, and I am helping them find their own answers by asking pertinent questions.
Although I am not in my ideal place yet, I am closer than I was a year a go, and a whole heap closer than I was ten years ago. I have a decent job, and I like it a lot, but it’s currently part time, and I’m still not entirely sure I want to devote my life to teaching. This wasn’t a position I ever saw myself in, and I don’t know if a teacher’s salary is enough to meet our obligations when my husband retires. It may not be my ideal, but my situation suits me for now. Working part time allows me to continue my own education, and I can continue working on my own professional growth. However, when I graduate in 2012, I will need to decide about what I want to do with my life. Until then, I will continue to investigate a variety of positions that interest me, and work to narrow in on my ideal career.
I am well liked and respected by the people in my life, but I need to develop professional relationships that will help me grow into my ideal professional self. I also need to work on engaging my students and learning all I can about the teaching profession. Working with my mentor will be important in the coming school year, and I will use my newfound coaching skills to draw information from her by asking questions and truly listening for the answers. Practicing my coaching skills will also be necessary in the classroom, and one technique I plan to utilize right away is the skill of artful coaching. “Artful coaching is about bringing the whole self to the coaching experience and engaging the whole self of the coachee” (Ting & Scisco, 2006). My students need to have their entire being engaged in their education. By using stories, pictures, videos, and other media, I intend to get them wholly involved in my class.
My Hays survey results (2010) indicate that I am in the mid level for most coaching skills. Numbers range from 23 to 29, and indicate that I have high coaching qualities, but need to work on preparation, techniques, and conversation. I can get closer to my ideal self by continuing to develop myself. I can work on my strengths by improving my questioning skills and learning to love the silence. My goals are to finish my master’s degree and have a fantastic year teaching my students how to utilize their own strengths, and by helping them get excited about their education. Practice and more practice will help me develop as a teacher. Utilizing the skills of my mentor and learning more about positive behavior reinforcement will also be very helpful.
To know I’ve achieved my ideal I will have completed my master’s program; I will have a job that I love to get up for in the morning, and I’ll be making a comfortable living. I’ll have my friends and family to stand beside me, and I’ll be regarded highly by my peers. My students will look to me for guidance and inspiration, and they’ll begin to take an interest in their own educational achievements. “For individuals to successfully traverse the sometimes-rocky path between their dreams and their future reality, they need to identify and work on two or three major priorities...” (Orem, Binkert, & Clancy, 2007, p. 153). My major priorities at this time are to finish my master’s degree program, find ways to engage and inspire my students through positive reinforcement, and to develop a more robust professional network.
A question I can ask myself to foster coaching improvement is, “What techniques will be most effective for reaching my students?” Each coachee, or student, will need different things from me. Some will respond to artful coaching, while others will require something different. The one thing I can do consistently is to reinforce their positive beliefs about themselves. “People perform better and are happier at work when they use primarily their strengths” (Orem, Binkert, & Clancy, 2007, p. 30). By helping my students recognize and develop their strengths, I have a better chance to succeed in my quest to be an ideal teacher.
This week I’ve looked at my ideals and defined the gap between my present self and my ideal self. I’ve also defined what I want more of from myself and have addressed how I’ll measure my success. Finally, I posed a question that I can ask myself to foster coaching improvement. Although I am not my ideal self yet, I am on the right track, and I continue to take steps in the right direction.
Hay Group. (2009). Coaching process questionnaire. Hay Group.
Orem, S., Binkert, J., & Clancy, A. (2007). Appreciative Coaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ting, S., & Scisco, P. (2006). The CCL handbook of coaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.