How to Engage in a Coaching Kick-Off Meeting

The kick-off meeting is a key piece in setting up a successful coaching cycle. Let’s talk through a few “key look-fors” for engaging in a successful kick-off meeting.

The primary purpose of a coaching kick-off meeting is to identify a focus for your upcoming coaching cycle with a teacher, familiarize your coachee with the logistics of the cycle and give them the opportunity to ask clarifying questions or express any concerns.

Engaging in a successful coaching kick-off meeting with a teacher lays the foundation for a successful coaching cycle.

In this video, I give you a peek inside a coaching kick-off meeting I conducted with a Kindergarten teacher, Tyler, as well as the coaching tools I used.

How to Engage in a Coaching Kick-Off Meeting

A coaching kick-off meeting is a little bit like a dance, and no two meetings are exactly the same. However, there are a few key coaching moves you can plan for.

1. Ask Clarifying Questions

Asking clarifying questions will help you guide the teacher in identifying a focus. It is helpful to plan questions you might ask in advance, especially if there is a more specific focus you would like to steer the teacher towards.

2. Identify a Target Standard

Identifying a standard and unit of instruction to anchor your coaching cycle to is very helpful. This will also help you in identifying what data or evidence you will use to monitor your progress towards the goal.

3. Identify and Create a Pre-Assessment

In this kick-off meeting video, you’ll notice Tyler and I discuss what pre-assessment data we could collect to help us understand where students currently are in relation to our target standard. We also discuss how we can work together to create this pre-assessment.

4. Discuss the Trajectory of Using Student Evidence Throughout the Cycle

Connected to identifying and creating a pre-assessment, I also helped Tyler understand the purpose of the pre-assessment and how we would continue to look at student work during and at the end of the coaching cycle to track and reflect on our progress.

5. Share Strategies for Coaching and Collaboration

During the kick-off meeting, review logistics of the coaching cycle with your coachee such as coaching tools you’ll use together and scheduling. This is also your opportunity to ask teachers about any concerns they have, any questions on their mind, or anything else they would like you to know as their coach before moving forward.

The Coaching Kick-Off tool I share in The Simplified Coaching Planning Kit, will help you plan for successful kick-off meetings of your own.

And on to the video!





I hope this video helped you get a better idea of how to engage in a successful coaching kick-off meeting.

Good luck, and talk to you soon!

 

How to Set-Up Your Coaching Cycle Calendar for the Year

Do you have a plan for how you’ll work with teachers in coaching cycles throughout the year? Let’s talk through how to get these mapped out for the year.

In the last few years, I’ve started to map out my coaching cycles for the year, and I’ll tell you…I would never want to go back!

Only having to “launch and market” your coaching support once at the beginning of the year, sure takes a load off your shoulders, and also gives you so much clarity in your weekly and monthly planning.

I’m currently working with my co-coach and principal in preparing to map out coaching cycles for the year, and thought it would be helpful to walk you through our process.

How to Map Out Your Coaching Cycles for the Year

1. Determine How Long Your Coaching Cycles Will Be

The length of a coaching cycle often varies depending on your coaching model or approach.

You may also want to add in “intensives” or short cycles in between longer cycles to meet certain building needs.

For us, we structure our coaching cycles in four, 6-week rounds with the goal of engaging every teacher in at least one full coaching cycle during the year.

2. Create a Professional Development Calendar

As coaching cycles are a form of professional development, it’s helpful to have a calendar set-up that shows all of the professional development structures for your school. On this calendar, also add in holidays and any other “no-school” days.

You can then use this to map out where your coaching cycles would best be placed.

3. Add Your Coaching Cycle Rounds to the Professional Development Calendar

Now just ‘color in’ your coaching cycle dates for the year! You can see above how we used the color purple to indicate these days.

And as I mentioned earlier, this will depend on about how long you typically run your cycles.

4. Launch an Invitation for All Teachers to Enroll in One of the Coaching Cycle Rounds

Once you’ve done the pre-work of mapping out your coaching cycles or ’rounds’ for the year, you’re ready to launch to the staff!

We plan on doing this in a whole staff meeting this year, though I have also “launched” via email and a snazzy Google Form.

In our upcoming launch meeting, our principal will be leading the messaging, and my co-coach and I will be sharing our goals in working with teachers and how we believe teachers will benefit from participating in a coaching cycle.

5. Iron Out Logistics with your Leadership Team

Who will be coaching? Focus of cycle? Dates?

As a leadership team, you’ll want to figure out and agree on certain logistics of your coaching cycles for the year. This could include:

  • How many teachers each coach will work with during each round?
  • Who is coaching who and when? This helps ensure teachers won’t be “double dipped” and their time is respected.
  • When will you meet to debrief coaching cycles and plan for the next round?

I’ve include two helpful tools in the Simplified Coaching Kit digital to support you in structuring this work. As well as many other helpful forms!

6. Share Finalized Coaching Calendar with Teachers

The last step is to share your team’s finalized coaching calendar for the year with teachers so they know when they are slotted to participate in a coaching cycle.

This calendar is also supportive to use with your leadership team, as a home-base for adding notes throughout the year and tracking progress as you go.

In the next post, we’ll chat more about how to kick-off or launch your coaching cycles with individual teachers.

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Talk Soon!

How to Organize Your Simplified Coaching Planning Kit (Digital!) in Google Drive

Do you have a good system in place for organizing your DIGITAL instructional coaching tools and resources? Let’s talk through how to get your digital coaching life organized.

One of my most used coaching resources is my Simplified Coaching Planning Kit. I have used this paper based coaching kit for years now, and will continue to do so.

However, there is also a digital component to our work and planning as coaches, that needs to be attended to. Also, some of us just have a preference for digital based tools rather than paper. I get it!

This year I set up a digital extension of my Simplified Coaching Planning Kit in GoogleDrive, that I’m excited to share. Let’s take a look at my set up process.

How to Organize Your Simplified Coaching Planning Kit (Digital!) in Google Drive

1. Delete and Purge

First. The big delete and purge.

Go through all your digital files from the previous school year, and delete anything you didn’t end up using or know you won’t need going forward. We can think of this as digital clutter. Out it goes!

Everything else can be archived.

At the end of the school year, I create an archive folder for that year. Within the archive folder, I set up sub-folders so if I do end up needing to reference anything from previous years, I can quickly find it.

2. Create and Name Your Main Category Folders

Next up, I created my main category folders. I was intentional in “matching” these category folders to the sections I have in my paper-based coaching kit. This allows me to work flexibly with both components of my system.

A few notes:

  • I have enough folders to organize the different areas of my work, yet not too many.
  • Color coding support with visually distinguishing between categories, and it just looks pretty :)
  • I added numbers to the front of each folder title, to order my work, based on priority and importance for my coaching role.

3. Create and Name Your Sub-Category Folders 

I use sub-categories to keep my main category folders organized.

For example, I break my main coaching category folder into different folders for each round of coaching I expect to do throughout the year. Then within each of these folders, I will create a folder for each teacher I will be working with.

I also like to match my sub-category folder color to the main category color.

4. Create a Tools Folder

OK, this is important. Make sure each of your main category folders also includes a “Tools” folder.

This is where you will house all of your coaching forms and planning tools as templates.

The Simplified Coaching Planning Kit Digital has a collection of 25 Coaching Tools you can add directly into your Drive to get you started!

With this system in place, you’ll be ready to go for whatever your coaching work may bring you!

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Talk to you Soon!