Characteristics of coaching and mentoring

Relationship is at the heart of every successful coaching and mentoring conversation. In a relationship where we build trust, we can have open and honest conversations and our contribution is valued. These conversations should be challenging, and the supportive nature of the coaching relationship allows for deep reflection and enquiry – encouraging, stretching and pushing others to take responsibility for their development, to set goals, take action and grow. The PRD process has an annual meeting once a year, however, coaching and mentoring is essentially part of the ongoing supportive PRD professional relationship and dialogue a teacher has throughout the year.

Coaching as part of Professional Update, it is about enabling us to be more successful in achieving our goals.

During a PRD conversation, the reviewer, trained in coaching, brings the skills of active listening and questioning to support the coaching conversation. Imagine the following questions as part of the PRD process and the rich conversations that might ensue:

  • What changes to your professional thinking and practice have you made over the last years?
  • What has contributed to that?
  • What impact, if any, has there been on yourself as a learner?
  • What impact, if any, has there been on your pupils/ colleagues as learners?
  • What impact, if any, has there been on your wider professional community?
  • How do you know?    

The tools a coach or mentor can bring to a coaching conversation vary but in essence the coach often follows a framework and brings a clear structure and methodology to the conversation which helps centre on the teacher as learner, helping them to think critically about their own professional learning, development and impact on practice.

If used effectively, there is abundant evidence that coaching and mentoring empowers individuals, builds teams, enhances collegiality and improves morale across the team or establishment. As a result of feeling more in control individuals are more likely to accept responsibility both for their own learning and behaviour and for the aims of the organisation (in this context the school/ education establishment) as a whole.

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