By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Professional Institute for Instructional Coaching (TPIIC)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Be a thought partner, not a micromanager or absentee manager.

In the recent SmartBrief on Leadership issue, there is an interesting blog from Radical Candor. I hadn’t previously read anything published by Candor so this is new for me. I tend to shy away from anything labeled, “Radical” given the nature of our work!

What was interesting in this blog was the question asked, “How can you determine where you fall on this spectrum, so you can learn how to move in the right direction?”

It’s no surprise that Candor suggests that people on your team are more engaged when partnering exists. That’s the mantra of an instructional coach… partner, not dictate; collaborate, not tell, even when the advice is under the guise of guidance.

This blog recommends these actions to ensure a partnership approach:
·  Hands-on, ears on, mouth off
· Displays curiosity and recognizes when more knowledge is needed;
· Listens to problems, predicts problems, brainstorms solutions, and asks why;
· Asks about relevant details;
· Is informed because of a hands-on approach;
· Leads collaborative goal-setting;
· Removes obstacles and defuses explosive situations (coaches are oftentimes intermediaries and

   liaisons minimizing the possibility of any volatile situation)

I agree with most of the above list but the one that sticks out to me in a negative way is the “predicts problems” phrase. Coaches do not predict problems; coaches ask questions that help their teaching colleagues share the “what if” kinds of scenarios. Predictions may become someone’s prophecies; coaches avoid telling a colleague that a problem will occur even if they suspect it will happen. Instead, coaches are thought partners who help their colleagues think through instructional practices, discuss about multiple perspectives and ideas, co-plan strategies to address a myriad of classroom and instructional efforts, and collectively problem solve to find multiple ways to approach teaching and learning.

Are you a micromanager, absentee manager, or a thought partner?

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

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