Mary-Jo Hill

16 Jan 2018

One of the greatest myths about coaching in schools still presents itself to me regularly, despite coaching for schools improvement since 2012. During the process of professional dialogue, we discuss what the experience has been like among many other things.

“It really is like a magic key turning…(laughter)… thank you… you really have given me such great advice!”

There it is. The moment. The myth.

Coaches do not offer or give advice. Differently from what it is expected, coaching is not counseling. As a coach, I am not there in an advisory capacity. I am there as your coach. Yet the TA or teacher or headteacher really believes for a moment that they have been given advice or an answer to a professional issue. In fact, they have uncovered the answer themselves via the skills and expertise of the coach.

So to return to this example. The response of the teacher is one of a transactional nature. I needed something; you gave it to me. As Askew and Carnell highlight in “Transformative Coaching, A learning theory for practice” – Institute of Education 2011, one is aiming for a perspective transformation approach to coaching or theoretical reflexivity to make the experience for the teacher and coach more effective. Theoretical reflexivity is the process by which one becomes aware of the taken- for- granted cultural and psychological assumptions that determine how one thinks, feels and acts.

My thoughts return to what assumptions are being made here by the teacher who feels their issue has been ‘solved’ by another. Answers on a postcard please or maybe just via the comments box?

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