Written by Forward Edge Instructional Design Coach, Brooke Conklin.
Supporting your instructional coach through mentorship will skyrocket your coach’s success. Research shows us that job-embedded instructional coaching has the highest rate of both personal mastery and the transfer of new skills into classrooms out of all other forms of professional development. (Joyce & Showers, 1995, 2002)
When you make the leap to add an instructional coach to your staff, you are investing in the best form of professional development in the market. You are putting your eggs in a basket that has a 95% success rate of transfer into the classroom.
This portrait of success is riding on one very important assumption- that your coach is fully trained and equipped to run a successful coaching program. Coaching programs are complex. They are nuanced, sometimes logistically messy, and can take multiple years to implement effectively. More often than not, individuals are thrown into a coaching role with little coaching experience or professional training- setting a very slow pace for transformation.
How do you equip your coach with the skills that THEY need to run a successful coaching program and transform teaching & learning? You invest in a mentorship.
4 Reasons Why You Should Invest in a Mentorship
- You Collapse Time
Coaching, like all other art forms, takes time to master. Mentorship allows coaches to skip past trial and error to begin achieving maximum impact right away.
In our experience, the greatest rates of transformation don’t happen until year three of a coaching program’s implementation. It can take a long time for a coach to develop the soft and hard skills to effectively change the behaviors of the wide range of individuals they work with. Mentorship teaches coaches these skills from day one, eliminating the lengthy trial and error learning that a coach might endure before they discover their “secret to success”. Mentorship allows for open dialogue, problem-solving, and strategizing with a veteran coach who has a deep background of experiences to pull from. This means that your coaching program will start showing results faster- effectively, collapsing time.
- The Effects Ripple
Mentorship not only creates a better coach, but it provides your educators with better coaching and support too.
Depending on the scope of your coaching program, an individual coach might be responsible for supporting multiple different grade levels, content areas, and a range of educator skill levels. That’s a lot of responsibility and potential influence for an individual coach. The quality of support that your educators receive is dependent on the expertise that the coach brings to the table. When a coach is supported by a mentor, they are not only bringing their ideas, talent, and creativity to your staff but that of their mentor as well. It’s like having an additional coach, at a fraction of the cost!
- Motivation & Focus
Does your district have over or under 100 competing initiatives? Mentors help coaches manage their workload and see the vision to completion. They are a constant point of contact for accountability, inspiration, and support.
One thing that Forward Edge mentors do better than anyone else is strategically aligning the work of our coaches to the goals and initiatives of the districts we partner with. Often, coaches are tasked with driving growth for many competing initiatives- equity, literacy, community engagement, technology, etc. Balancing all of those initiatives in a way that systematically promotes growth for ALL of them is a tall order. Mentors work with coaches to create systems for transformation that align with district goals through their coaching program. Mentorships nurture a systematic approach to coaching that will benefit districts for years to come.
Burnout affects coaches too- especially when they’re fighting an uphill battle for change. Mentors provide invaluable support through the easy and hard work. It is essential to have someone in your coach’s corner. We’ve been (and are) in the trenches too!
Teacher burn-out is on the rise, and coach burn-out is not far behind. Changes in the education ecosystem have left us working harder and longer hours than ever before. Coaches are bearing more and more weight as educators are feeling increasingly underprepared for the demands of our new academic reality. Mentorship provides coaches with a network of support that is otherwise nonexistent in the coaching role. This directly benefits the coach, but equally as significant benefits the school and district at large.
Maximize the success of your coaching program by investing in mentorship for your instructional coach today. Learn more about our mentorship offerings here: