Building Relationships with Teachers, Ep. 74 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast
Building relationships with teachers is fundamental to coaching. It’s also really hard sometimes!
On this episode, I share five strategies instructional coaches can use to build relationships with teachers. They are practical and help frame your work while allowing you to get to know your teachers.
I encourage you to take ideas from this podcast and apply them to your coaching work. It’s especially helpful to start at the beginning of the year. A little bit of effort and work now will set the tone for your coaching work for the rest of the year and make everything so much easier.
Listed below are some of my favorite ways to build a relationship with staff on campus. If you want to learn all my tips and suggestions, be sure to listen to the entire episode.
1. Focus on the Trust Equation
All relationships require trust. Donald Miller explains the trust equation as empathy plus credibility equals trust.
To gain trust and build a relationship you must be empathetic and credible. One of the ways I showed empathy as a coach was listening without judgment. I built credibility with the staff by being real and realistic.
2. Schedule One-to-One Conversations
To build a relationship, you need to get to know the person and they need to get to know you. When I was a campus coach, I would have one on one conversations with the teachers and ask how I could support them.
These conversations gave me context about the teachers and if I needed to clarify my role to them. Once these initial conversations happen, I created a rotation schedule to regularly check in with the teachers. This let them know I cared and built rapport.
3. Share Stories and Build Personal Connections
When we share stories with teachers, we get to know who they are and they get to know who we are. We also get to learn about what has shaped each of us personally and professionally.
The first step you can take is to use the details from the stories that you’ve shared to build bridges with the teachers. This isn’t going to be the foundation for your coaching work, but sometimes it’s a way to get them to talk to you.
4. Start with a Positive
When first visiting a classroom, an instructional coach should begin by noticing something positive. In some classes, it’s easier to find the good than in others, but there is always something in every room that you can praise.
Doing this will make sure that that you are framing your work in a way that shows that you’re not there to focus on what’s wrong but to grow what’s already great. Try to start with something positive but don’t lie or make it up.
5. Give Them a Quick Win
You build your credibility if you can be the person who gives a teacher a quick win. If you can change something in the classroom for the better or solve a small problem, you will improve the relationship.
When we show teachers that we’re there to support them and help them figure out better ways of doing things, it builds trust. Giving them a quick win also shows that we are useful and valuable.
Building Relationships with Teachers
If we approach teachers with the understanding that they are trying their best, then our support can come from a place of goodness and sincerity. I find that once I stray from that belief, my coaching support gets more strained and it’s harder for me to build the relationship in any context.
We want to approach coaching with that mindset. If the teacher is doing their best, then we should be there to support them and help them grow.
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Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.
Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros