The Subject Learning Coach Programme was designed to help develop the tutors coaching skills, enabling them to support others in their own organisation. It is designed for people who are in a teaching/training role in their organisation and who want to develop their coaching skills to support improvements in teaching and learning.
The course was run from January 2013 till the end of April 2013. We had to attend every Thursday 2.00pm till 5.00pm. and included the following stages
Developing reflective practice through subject coaching
The principles and practice of coaching
Developing coaching skills within your organisation
Developing subject pedagogy through the application of coaching skills
Embedding coaching practice in your organisation
As part of the course we also had to complete 6 hours of coaching practice on another member of staff and an action research project that was designed to explore an aspect of quality improvement in any teaching and learning aspect. I chose to look at some teaching materials to redevelop.
The course taught me about the power that coaching has. And how we can get the learner to identify solutions for themselves if they are pointed in the right direction and has a much a better impact than the learner just been told what to do. The coaching programme installed in me the confidence & ability to be a more effective coach and indeed a more effective teacher. The skills learnt were certainly transferable.
The programme also helped me to develop my skills in supporting whole organisational improvement of teaching and learning. I can also use my new found coaching skills with learners to support their progress and achievement. And I was also able to develop and strengthen links with people carrying out a similar role in other organisations across the region.
The college have been looking to have at least one Learning coach per department up to now there have not been many. The college does have mentors but mentors are different to coaches. This is a table I had to design to compare coaching with mentoring so that I could understand the difference between the two.
Comparison between coaching and mentoring
Coaching is usually focused professional dialogue designed to aid the coachee in developing specific professional skills to enhance their teaching repertoire.
Mentoring usually takes place at significant career events, such as to support induction or taking on new professional roles.
For tutors it often supports experimentation with new classroom strategies.
It has an element of ‘gatekeeping’, and the mentor is almost always someone more senior in the organisation.
Coaches are not normally in positions of line management in relation to their coachee.
There is often an organisational motive for the process; for example succession planning.
Coaching for enhancing teaching and learning is not normally explicitly linked to a career transition. The focus of the coaching is usually selected by the coachee and the process provides opportunities for reflection and problem solving for both coach and coachee.
In some cases there is a requirement that the mentor provides documentary evidence of the mentoring process and its outcomes; for example demonstrating that the participant in mentoring has met certain competencies.
The college view on this is that by the tutors learning and improving on their own development it helps to underpin the colleges’ improvement and provides a vehicle for raising achievement and attainment. When tutors learning is based on their genuine assessment and understanding of pupils’ learning they can start to make adjustments to their own practice which can then lead to real differences in outcomes, which then helps to create conditions which allow tutors to experience and