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.