The 21st Century Trainer

Technology training will not go away. It is very efficient, one or two skilled trainers can provide services to many others, and it fits into the traditional view of learning, the transfer of knowledge and skills from expert to novice. But can training alone develop 21st Century teachers?

Effective teaching in the 21st Century is a complex endeavor. Not only are teachers expected to thoroughly understand subject area content, artfully structure classroom (and virtual) learning, and skillfully integrate technology, but also foster growth in higher order thinking skills such as creativity, innovation, and critical thinking.

Few of us are “ready-made” to meet all of these expectations at the highest of levels which means that most of us will need to grow. Fortunately, inspiring, equipping and sustaining professional and personal growth is at the heart of Evocative Coaching. The Tschannen-Morans call this growth process the Dynamic Dance of Evocative Coaching. This dance creates relationships that “motivate and empower teachers to improve their own performance and quality of life.” The steps in this dance, as well as descriptors from the International Coach Federation, can be categorized by important 21st Century skills.


  • Reframe difficulties and challenges as opportunities to learn and grow
  • Enable teachers to build supportive environments and teams
  • Use intuition and trust inner knowledge
  • See many ways to work with a teacher and choose the most effective path


  • Invite teachers to discover possibilities and find answers for themselves
  • Inspire and challenge teachers to go beyond what they would do alone
  • Take risks
  • Experiment with new possibilities for action

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Ask and trust teachers to take charge of their own learning and growth
  • Assist teachers to create personal growth plans
  • Shift perspective in order to view obstacles in a new light


  • Listen; let teachers do the talking
  • Maintain an upbeat, energetic and positive attitude
  • Talk with teachers about their teaching dreams and goals
  • Use humor to create energy


  • Accept and meet teachers where they are at that moment
  • Support teachers efforts to brainstorm and try out new ways of doing things
  • Collaborate with teachers to design and conduct appropriate learning experiments

Which of these categories or “dance steps” resonate with you? Tweet your choice using the message below.

 The 21st Century Trainer (your choice phrase) #beyondtools

“Calling into Action” – Five Factors of Evocative Coaching

To evoke is to “bring to existence” or “to call into action”. What I love about this word in relationship to coaching is the assumption that teachers already have what it takes to move forward, to grow. It may only be dormant at the moment. Waiting for a relationship with a caring coach to nurture what is already alive.

Relationships are a key factor for any powerful, sustained adult learning to take place in a professional development setting. The Tschannen-Morans’ discuss 5 factors of Evocative Coaching.

Consciousness – An evocative coach begins by listening to the stories a teacher has to tell and responds to these stories with empathy. The outcome of consciousness is an growing awareness on the part of the teacher regarding what’s currently happening, what needs are being encouraged, and what strategies are working better than others. Increased consciousness will lead a teacher to a greater awareness of their own desire to change.

Connection – When an evocative coach listens to a story and responds with empathy, the beginnings of a productive collaboration are born. As coach and teacher develop deeper connections, reflection increases, teaching practice becomes less private, and motivation and self-efficacy increase.

Competence – Coaches help teachers clarify what they want and need, identify and build upon strengths, and conduct no-fault learning experiments that test the effectiveness of teacher selected goals.  Adult learning is highly dependent on previous experiences of competence. Coaches engage teachers with these past experiences in order to generate the motivation and self-efficacy necessary to grow to another level of competence.

Contribution – Evocative coaches are always seeking to create a “can-learn” attitude in teachers. This is accomplished by framing manageable goals and celebrating the successful moments that are a part of all teachers’ lives. The coaches’ adage here is, “My certainty is greater than your doubt.”

Creativity – The evocative coach seeks to increase the positive energy, humor, delight and wonder that should accompany learning. Coaches encourage teachers to entertain new interpretations of classroom events and brainstorm and explore new directions and strategies. Creativity is essential for creating and sustaining an environment where coaches and teachers can explore the “what could be’s” of improved performance.