“Stories illuminate our efforts to reclaim, retain, reframe our personal narrative. Who are we now and who do we want to be in the future.” David Drake
In my district, we have been taught to begin meetings in a very intentional way. First there is the presentation of protocols: no sidebar conversations, take care of yourself, etc. Then there is the agenda that spells out what will be discussed or decided during the meeting time. Such structure is necessary in order for a meeting to be productive.
Coaching begins in a very intentional way as well. It begins with a story; the story a teacher needs to tell. To encourage teachers to tell their stories, coaches must create a safe environment. The key to this creation is asking questions that trigger stories related to the teachers previous learning and growth. These stories enable teachers to discover the focus, power, and engagement that lies within themselves.
Our coaching begins when teachers share these stories and reveal the sense they are making of their experiences. Evocative Coaching describes two strategies for evoking coachable stories.
- What color might capture how you feel right now?
- What object that you can see reflects how you are right now?
- What song could be the theme song for your day?
The teacher’s mood and feeling at the moment will dictate the success of the coaching session, so it’s important to acknowledge and accept these feelings. These three questions all have a physical component to them. They require that teachers attach their feelings to some object that can be sensed. Also, they encourage descriptions rather than explanations.
Tell Me a Story …
- about what is working well for you.
- that illustrates what you love about your work.
- about an experience in the classroom that taught you a valuable lesson.
- about when you tried something new.
These story starters invite teachers to tell stories about times when they felt engaged, excited, and challenged by teaching. They encourage a “How did you grow?” story wherein teachers uncover their own capacity for learning.
What techniques do you know of for evoking a coachable story? Tweet your answer to …
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