Coaching Beliefs: The Value of Family

This book is inspiring, thoughtful...and covered in stickies.  (I borrowed it.)

This book is inspiring, thoughtful…and covered in stickies. (I borrowed it.)

I love our annual family camping trip!  It’s an opportunity to connect with my parents and my cousin in a very enjoyable, ‘don’t care if you didn’t shower today’ kind of way.  Our children love sleeping, cooking, and playing outdoors.  This year, we arrive at our destination and, after half a year of planning, deciding on menus and who’s bringing what, we realize that we’ve forgotten two or three key items and it starts raining.  And still, through it all, we are incomparably resourceful.  We are in it together, happy to be where we are, and each helping to make the experience unforgettable.

Mom and the boys making fresh saskatoon pancakes...under the rain tarp.

Mom and the boys making fresh saskatoon pancakes…under the rain tarp.

Dad cleaning bacon fat off the hot griddle.

Dad cleaning bacon fat off the hot griddle.

Before our trip began, I had gotten deep into reading my borrowed copy of The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar (John Wiley & Sons, 2013).  I knew that our annual camping trip was for family time but my family (God Bless them!) also knows me well enough to support my #Nerdcation.  In fact, Chapter 3: “Which Beliefs Help a Coach Be More Effective?” actually had me looking at my family and our time together influencing my instructional coaching.

Elena Aguilar (@elenaaguilar) highlights that

“An essential component of coaching is supporting others to become conscious of their belief systems – about children, learning, students of color, immigrants, and so on.  But before we can engage in this work, as coaches we need to become aware of our own beliefs.” (35)

She encourages coaches to identify their core values, and her website has a great exercise for doing just that. (39) So before packing began, I took the time to recognize my core values.  And (no surprise here) they came up as: family, happiness, and making a difference.

Elena very thoughtfully outlines what she calls her “Transformational Coaching Manifesto” (40).  Many things resonated with me; yet, I felt the need to translate my core values into some belief statements of my own.  So, although I’m not calling this a manifesto, I have come up with the following key beliefs.

1. We are in this together Just like a family, teachers/colleagues experience joy, sorrow, success, failure, togetherness, rifts.  My role as a coach parallels my role in our family; I am hear to encourage, support, listen, laugh with, and cry with.  And though we may not bring the same background experiences, coaches and teachers are connected with a common goal.  Families work together.  Families aren’t always perfect.  Families have a vested interest in each others’ success.  Just like I believe coaching relationships need to be.

2. We deserve to feel happiness in our hard work.  “Happiness is not something ready made.  It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama.  This resonates with me because happiness can be so easy or so difficult, if you let it.  Be thankful, be thoughtful, give to the world what you wish to receive, and happiness will be a powerful force in your life.

3. We can each make a difference. “We are all somewhere.  And we don’t have to stay there.” (Aguilar, 40)  I need to recognize the worth and potential each person brings to each situation, and help others to see that in themselves.  I do not want to be seen as the expert who can fix things; I want to be a resource to help people make the difference they are capable of making.

“Find out what’s really out there.  I never said to be like me, I say be like you and make a difference.” – Marilyn Manson

I look forward to building and reflecting on my beliefs.  I anticipate they will change and be challenged.  But half the joy of learning is the unexpected, right?

Thank goodness for family, camping, and opportunities to be challenged and grow.


2 thoughts on “Coaching Beliefs: The Value of Family

  1. It is great how you connect what you are doing as a family with how you see the relationships you will have as a coach. Because relationships are the key to all that we do as educators, it’s the core of our work whatever our position. As with all family, we also must remind ourselves that we need to meet the other person where they are, not where we want them to be which, in a role such as coaching, is significant. With 8 children, I’ve often had them remind me that, in my role as dad, I cannot give them the experiences and, in order to learn and grow, I can’t always allow my experiences to short-change theirs. I believe the new catch phrase is “fail-forward”! We are all in this together but we each have different interests and needs because of our roles. Good luck with your coaching and enjoy the rest of your summer!

  2. Hi Robin, Though I am not in a coaching role, I often find myself coaching teachers. I really like your three “rules” and look forward to applying them. I also like how you applied them to your family trip. I am also traveling and reading right now, so I especially appreciated your #nerdcation reference, which is what I usually take! I look forward to going forward and “making a difference” in my role, and providing coaching in whatever way I can. Thanks for your encouragement!

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