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How to Find Your Voice and Talk About What’s Important with Dr. Heather Michel, Ep. 83 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Finding a way to talk about sensitive topics can be challenging for instructional coaches. On episode 83 of The Coaching Podcast, Dr. Heather Michel joins me to discuss how to find your voice and talk about what’s important. She offers advice on how to approach tough subjects while making teachers and administrators feel at ease. Listen for instructional coaching tips to help you communicate effectively with your team.

Are you struggling to find your voice when talking to teachers and administrators?

As instructional coaches, we see many issues and don’t always know how to have conversations with our team about them. We’re afraid that making waves might cause problems and make others not want us around anymore.

It can be hard to find our voice and talk about what’s important.

Dr. Heather Michel joins me on this episode of The Coaching Podcast to talk about finding your voice so you can make a big impact with those you coach. She discusses how she started addressing challenging topics and communicating with the staff.

How to Find Your Voice and Talk About What’s Important

During our conversation, Dr. Michel explained that she addressed challenging topics by building relationships with her team. Once teachers were comfortable telling her about their experiences, they would usually offer things they needed to work on. She grew her relationship with the team and it moved the work forward.

Another suggestion she has for finding your voice is having a three-point conversation using data. Try having a conversation where it’s you, the teacher, and a third artifact. It can be a picture of student work or anything that you can look at. This takes the pressure off the two people involved and deflects the energy into something more tangible.

The Importance of Self-Reflection

On the call, we chat about why coaches and teachers need to be reflective about their biases and perspectives. Let’s face it, we all have work to do on this front and self-reflection puts us in a learning position.

If we have discussions around bias with teachers, we will have the language to talk about it and the context to do that work. It also helps ensure everyone is operating off the same knowledge base when talking about important topics.

Meeting people where they are and then pushing their thinking can be difficult because everybody is in a different place. We all have misconceptions about what people think and that makes it challenging as well.

Most teachers have noble intentions. They want to do the right things and make an impact. But it can be challenging because there is a constant stream of new information and buzzwords.

Being reflective can make a big difference, especially when taking in new information at odds with something you thought you knew. Having a place to share your thinking and basic information adds to that knowledge base.

Helping Teachers Find Their Purpose!

Dr. Michel says everything goes back to identity and purpose. This includes biases as well as the teaching and personal experiences you bring to the role. 

Teacher retention is a huge problem right now across the country. When teachers have a clear purpose, they stay in the education field. Instructional coaches can help teachers find their purpose.

There are going to be hard days when teachers want to give up and leave the profession. Helping our teachers think through their purpose so it’s crystal clear will make it easier to stay.

To find purpose, teachers need to identify what brought them to teaching. Teachers that stick it out for the long haul are the ones that can articulate a clear sense of purpose. It serves them better if they can identify a purpose outside of themselves, like social equality or something else important to them.

When teachers have a purpose that is bigger than them, it keeps them coming back to work. With a clear purpose, teachers can get through the day-to-day stuff and that keeps them in education. They will have something they’re trying to accomplish that is bigger than any one moment in time.

Being an instructional coach isn’t easy. You’re always trying to find the right balance between supporting teachers and staying true to your own beliefs. If you want to learn more about how to find your voice and talk about what’s important be sure to check out the entire episode.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative

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