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Better Coaching Conversations with Arthur Aguirre, Ph.D., Ep. 139 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Are you looking for ways to have better conversations with teachers and administrators? Do you want to learn how to listen and communicate more effectively? If so, this episode of The Coaching Podcast is for you!

In this episode, I talk to Arthur Aguirre, Ph.D. of Inviting Difference about having better coaching conversations. Arthur is an Assistant Professor of Instruction at the University of Texas, El Paso, and a certified Leadership Coach. During the interview, he shares some great insights on how to become a better listener and ways to begin having more meaningful conversations. You know, the kind that leads to real growth and understanding instead of merely offering up solutions.

Man and woman sitting together talking with the words “Better Coaching Conversations with Arthur Aguirre, Ph.D.” on the bottom.

Arthur also shares tips on developing listening skills and noticing conscious and unconscious bias when we have conversations. He explains what to do instead of giving advice and how to use invitational rhetoric to understand others’ perspectives.

So if you’re ready to learn more about how to have better coaching conversations, tune in as Arthur shares his wisdom. You won’t be disappointed!

Topics and Questions Discussed in Episode 139 – Better Coaching Conversations with Arthur Aguirre

  • Using your charisma and experience when you don’t have an admin title
  • What it means to embrace differences in our coaching work
  • Using invitational rhetoric to better understand and value the inherent difference in other
  • The importance of coaching the whole person
  • Listening to understand instead of listening to respond
  • How he developed his approach to coaching
  • What meaningful coaching conversations sound like
  • The differences between coaching and consulting
  • Asking curious, open-ended questions and letting people navigate solutions on their own
  • Questions to ask to guide conversations
  • The power of silence
  • What being present and listening actively looks like – Plus how we can get better at it
  • Noticing verbal and non-verbal cues when communicating
  • How conversations impact a person’s capacity to create change
  • Encouraging people to be their own best resources and acknowledging that they already have all the answers
  • Issues with giving advice and why we should avoid it
  • Becoming aware of how conscious and unconscious bias plays out in our conversations

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You can sign up for The Confident Literacy Coach this week but act fast because the doors close on April 17, 2023. Sign up today so you can experience positive changes like the ones Kristi experienced in her coaching. If you have any questions or want more information, please send me an email at chrissy@buzzingwithmsb.com. I’m happy to answer any of the questions.

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Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros

Episode 139 -Better Coaching Conversations with Arthur Aguirre, Ph.D.

Hey coach and welcome to episode 139. Better coaching conversations with Arthur Aguirre. The Confident literacy coach course is live, I wanted to let you know this at the top of the episode, you can grab this all inclusive one stop shop have a course for literacy coaches at confident literacy coach.com. I’m so excited about the updates to this course because modules three and four are completely brand new. If you’re a coach that is desperately trying to help your school dig into the foundational components of reading, many of these have been overlooked in the last couple of decades. This course is for you. If you’re providing PD to your teachers and language and reading comprehension, word recognition, decoding or working on improving writing price practices. This course is going to give you the tools you need to help your teachers embrace better teaching practices. Check it out that confident literacy coach.com. Today, I am so excited to welcome my friend Arthur Aguirre to the podcast. Arthur is a leadership coach and he’ll share more of his background with you but he’s been sharing some of his excellent information about leadership, listening and having better conversations over on his Instagram account inviting difference when I was looking for somebody to talk to about how we can listen better and just have different kinds of conversations than the ones that maybe we get feel like we’re getting stuck in with teachers and really lead more meaningfully and from a better place. I knew that I wanted to bring Arthur on to the podcast.

buzzing with ms b  00:02

So let’s welcome Arthur. I’m so happy you could join us today.


Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

buzzing with ms b  00:07

Yeah. Looking forward to our conversation. I always love to hear your ideas about things. And so before we get started, I would love it. If you could introduce yourself to our listeners talk a little bit about who you are, how you ended up here, and what kind of work you focus on.


No problem. Okay, so I am, my main profession is I’m assistant professor of instruction at the University of Texas at El Paso, in the leadership and community engagement program. It was mostly for the last few years, a standalone master’s program at Utah, we recently started an undergraduate minor. So we’re really excited about that. And me, particularly because I love teaching undergraduates. In addition to that, I’ve been working as a Communication Consultant for a few years, and I recently received my certification as a leadership coach through Rice University. So those are all the things I’ve been doing. And in terms of some of the research most of my research recently, because my background is in communication, even though I am teaching in a leadership program, so I’ve had to shift a little bit to make sure I’m establishing myself in my field. And so my research has been on leadership, communication and Community Community Leadership.

buzzing with ms b  01:09

Yeah, I think I mean, there’s so much there. That’s like a huge issue with leadership. Yeah, is communication in all of its forms, right. So I do, I think that’s such a great area of focus. And we, you know, in terms of even this podcast, you know, coaches aren’t instructional leaders on their campus. They are leaders in terms of relationship and the way that they work with teachers, but they also don’t have the, like, the authority that an administrator has. So they’re walking this very fine line. So really, any leadership they have literally just comes from Goodwill. And, you know, have I inspired you in some way? Great. Because there is no technical authority. I mean, whenever I was a coach, I was paid a teacher’s salary, it wasn’t even considered a promotion, even though I was held accountable for things teachers said, so, you know, it’s a weird space to be in.


Absolutely. You know, I actually, like, have done some not research, but I’ve done some studying on not authority, but on power. And, you know, often often powers come, like you said, from a title. So if you don’t have that title, then you don’t have the power. And so then you’re left with trying to use charisma and, you know, experience to gain that power. And that’s the only way that you can really connect exercise it.

buzzing with ms b  02:22

Yes. You know, I’m so glad you said that word charisma. And I know this is not that we’re gonna go into direct different direction. But I’m just really glad that you said that, because that is not a word I’ve ever said on this podcast. But it is absolutely true. I think I’ve said personality, you know, but, but, but it is true that if teachers are not feeling like a, if they’re not drawn to you, for some reason, it can be really difficult to start building that relationship with them, because they just immediately want to turn you off, you know, right? Absolutely. Yeah, so interesting. So okay, one of the biggest challenges that coaches have when we’re working with teachers is something I want to talk to you about, we are coming many times from a completely different like a framework understanding philosophy than the people that we’re coaching. And so one of the things that you’ve talked about, I’ve seen on your website, I’ve seen it on your Instagram account, when you describe your coaching practice, you talk about embracing difference. And I thought that was really just such a great way to focus your work like a really important tenet of your work, because that is a huge challenge that coaches have, as we come out of the classroom, we think everybody teaches like you turns out that’s not the case. And you look around and go, oh, like we’re not even speaking the same language here. How are we going to work together? So can you talk a little bit about what it means to embrace difference in coaching work?


Yeah, no problem. So the the idea of embracing or inviting difference I kind of developed from the work of Karen Foss and Cindy Foss, sorry, Sonya Foss, Cindy Griffin and Karen FOSS on Invitational rhetoric, and essentially what that is, and I’ll try to simplify this and go through it as quickly as possible. But typically, it was made for public speaking courses in the way that we approach public speaking. And they argued that essentially most public speaking is all persuasive. You’re trying to change someone’s mind to believe that your ideas, right, your ideas, better their ideas wrong. And that’s fine. And that that has its place. But for the most part, it essentially disqualifies that person’s experience and identity, right? You’re essentially saying I know better than you do, even though my life experiences is going to be wildly different than yours. And so for them, the whole point of invitational rhetoric is to prioritize understanding and valuing the inherent value of the other person. So you you show up, you share your ideas with no intention of changing each other’s minds. If that happens, that’s great, but at the end, at the very least, you’re walking away understanding the other person, the other person’s perspective, and a little bit more about who they are. And so I took that and I’ve you know, there’s a workshop I give on leadership communication and I advocate for taking this type of style into leadership communication, right? The thing I love about it, and it’s all throughout the research is that you can, there are other tools in your toolbox in terms of being a leader, if you are in a situation where you don’t have the time, because it can be very intensive and time intensive, when you’re using this type of approach, then it’s okay if you need to take more of like an authoritarian style to leadership, and you have to just make an executive decision. But when you have the time, when you have the energy and you have the resources, you can embrace the other people’s imminent value, their self determination. And coach for me when it comes to coaching, it’s about coaching the whole person and really doing what you can to take the time to understand not just them, but their identity, their history, and their entire frame of reference, you know, which includes how they were raised, you know, what movies and TV shows, they were watching as a kid, what they watch now, all of those things influence who you are as a person. And so it would make no sense for me not to try to understand that as their coach to really try to get at what, what really might be at the heart of the issue, or whatever it is they’re trying to address.

buzzing with ms b  06:06

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I liked what you describe it as having a tool in your toolbox, because you’re right, then sometimes you’re in the middle of a PLC, and you’ve got five teachers looking at you. And we’re not going to sit and have a long drawn out conversation with one individual teacher to uncover why it is that she doesn’t think that this is a good assessment, because of her home life, right. But if you do have that teacher who was is resistant to many things, and you’re having trouble, really building any kind of rapport with them, this would be a good approach to take, because you’ve got this hurdle to overcome between you. And there’s a huge difference, obviously, in your perspective and your philosophy, right? So that’s whenever you would invest the time and say, Okay, I’m not making a huge impact on this teacher by going in and saying, Hey, how’s this going? How that’s going? Because you’re shutting me down. So what I’m going to do instead is I’m going to approach it from this other direction.


Right, exactly. And I think more than anything, and this is like a fundamental human need, that we all want to be listened to. Right. And I think all too often we are listening to respond. Especially, you know, recently, right, like, things have gotten very heated in a variety on a variety of issues. And it feels like most people have lost the ability to just listen, and understand not to listen to respond, but just to listen to really understand where the other person is coming from.

buzzing with ms b  07:25

Yeah, you know, I mean, I know that’s, I’m super guilty of that. And that’s an area that I have struggled in my whole life, I was raised in a very kind of authoritarian sort of household. And it was very much like you either do it right, or you just you just shut up, get out of my way. And so that’s kind of that’s who I have been as a person that I have been trying to undo. And probably the last 20 years, once I realized that was not ideal. So I think that, that we have all these little things that get in the way of having these good coaching conversations like interrupting or problem solving, swooping in and trying to fix everything and say, just do it this way. And it’ll be fine. You know, all these things get in the way of those good conversations, right? Absolutely.


And I think the other thing, too, what I like about taking this approach, and what I really try it and why I’ve really kind of focused in on it is because I think everyone’s identity is so important, and all the different aspects of it. And I don’t want to get into intersectionality, and all the different ways that people will have to overcome different types of oppression. But I think those ideas, those identities are really important. Especially now, I mean, they’ve always been important. But I think given the big push in a lot of industries, in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion, it is important to address these things and to address them in terms of the folks who have no idea what that is all about. And they’re trying to get better. And the folks who have been struggling with this and are on the other side of it, trying to succeed because what I like telling a lot of folks is, despite how hard it may have been for you to get to the top, someone probably worked even harder to get to the middle. And that person, they need coaching and they needed advice as well. And so their those experiences are going to be radically different. And so it’s important for me to get to know as much as I can about that person to be able to coach them properly.

buzzing with ms b  09:07

Yeah, that makes sense. So in thinking about this kind of approach, and this framework, what does a good coaching conversation look like?


So I it’s funny because it is a good coaching session is one where I’m not talking very much. Right? You know, coaching can be frustrating when you talk about when you’re pitching it to someone what coaching is really like there’s a misconception that it’s consulting. Consulting can be great. And there’s places for it where you know, you let me the expert and communication, know what the situation is. I learned all the factors I learned on the variables. And I give you some ideas of what might work you put in your input. And together we come up with a plan we figure out a way to evaluate that plan and the measurements of success. And that’s great. That is not what coaching is. For me coaching is understanding that the into the person who I’m coaching, they have all the answers and solutions. I don’t know anything, I don’t know what you know the person that their work that they’re having a problem with who that person is what their relationships like, or I don’t know what their home life is, I’m not experiencing their day to day. And so for me coaching is asking open ended curious questions to get to know my client better. And then from there asking the necessary questions for them to talk about what’s really going on and helping them find the solution through asking questions. And so a good coaching session is me asking a bunch of questions and allowing my client to kind of navigate things on their own. You know, it’s not the perfect metaphor, but essentially, unlike their their rideshare person, right there there can probably get there to their destination, using another app using another rideshare driver. But I’m just a vehicle to get them there. But they’re the ones that are, you know, they’re the one that has the address are the ones that know exactly why they’re going there. I’m just simply helping them get there.

buzzing with ms b  10:56

So then what does that sound like? Like, let’s say if you’re communicating with somebody, and they are struggling to see beyond what their current experiences, so, I mean, I know that as a coach as an instructional coach at the broad term, but, you know, you tend to slip back and forth into these roles, sometimes you’re even in the same conversation, you might end up going, Okay, I see that we need some consulting here, like, you do not have access to the information that you need to continue moving forward in this direction. So this does that play. In this approach, as well, like, what do you do?


Absolutely. In coaching, there are going to be some situations where your client is just gonna be, they’re just they, they hit a wall, they hit us, they’re stuck. And so you have to let them know, okay, I’m gonna take my coaching hat off right now, and I’m gonna put my consulting hat on, you have to make it very clear, like, this is not part of coaching. And you cannot expect this all the time, I am literally jumping into a different role right now for you. But that’s not what our coach gives, you know, you have to at the very beginning of your coaching relationship, you have to set an agreement about what coaching is and what coaching isn’t. And so if they’re asking for a break from that agreement, that’s okay. But they have to know that that’s not the norm, right? That essentially, if you’re getting into coaching, it’s because you have to understand that you’re capable and your whole and you’re resourceful and you have all of the things you need, you just thirds is a little bit of coaching, that’s needed to pull some of those things out,

buzzing with ms b  12:21

to help you think through the situations that you’re in, or whatever choices you have to make and the way that you’re living.


Again, because I think people just need to be listened to. And oftentimes, and I’ll use myself as a personal example, I in a lot of my my, my fiance, and my close friends and family, they can get frustrated with me, because I don’t share my emotions right away. But there’s a reason behind it. I’m not trying to hide anything. But for me, if I’m getting upset or emotional, I have to take stock for a second and realize Where’s it coming from? And why is it happening? Right? If I’m mad about something, usually mad is anger is a result of some type of fear that you’re having. And so let me figure out what exactly is going on. And I can let you know. And it takes a little bit of thinking and sometimes talking it through. And for a lot of people, a lot of coaching clients, that’s exactly what they need to, they may think, Oh, I am upset about this particular issue. And then they start talking about it, and all of a sudden, 15 minutes, and they’re talking about something totally different. And we’re at the actual issue now. But that would have never happened. If I didn’t keep asking questions about why this thing is so important to them.

buzzing with ms b  13:29

Do you have certain kinds of questions that you ask most often? Or do you just kind of vary depending on what the person is talking about?


I’ll say this. I am very sorry. Did you hear that? I mean,

buzzing with ms b  13:40

it was just a document. Okay. Okay, so people who listen, have dogs, I don’t worry about it too much.


So I am very grateful that I have that I’ve done some workshops in improv, because that is absolutely helpful when it comes to coaching. Because not you. Like I said, I am only a vessel to help them get to where they’re going. And it takes a lot of restraint not to grab the steering wheel and start driving the conversation. But I’m not I’m doing them a disservice because I’m taking them where I would want to go. And so it’s a matter of listening, being listening, being absolutely present in the conversation, not thinking ahead to where you want to go. And really staying on top of what they’re at what they’re talking about. And sometimes the power of silence, they’ll finish saying something you just say quiet for a beat. And you realize that those just start talking because a lot of people are uncomfortable with silence. And so they’ll just keep talking. Or it could be not even a question you could say tell me more about that. And they definitely have more than they can share about it. So it’s it’s hard to say if there’s any specific questions, obviously you want to make them as open ended as possible. But for me, I would say silence And some more statements like, Tell me more. Or, you know, why is that important to you? The other thing, usually that I like asking, at least when it comes to, when we start in the planning phase of how we’re going to address this situation. Before we start getting into the specifics, I’ll ask them, okay, can you give me some adjectives to describe what this plan is going to feel like for you? Right, this plan is going to be adventurous, this plan is going to be exciting, this plan is going to be bold, something along those lines, and then we’ll start building the plan. And when we’re done with it, I’ll say, Okay, does does this plan feel bold and adventurous and exciting for you? And if it does, great, and if it doesn’t, then we’ll you know, we’ll start the cycle again, and kind of figure out where we need to tweak things out a little bit.

buzzing with ms b  15:49

Okay, so you mentioned I really liked that question. Also, I think that’s really interesting. If you mentioned, like, the way that we listen to being present in the moment, what are you doing when you’re listening actively? What does that look like? And how can we do it better?


So right, so one thing I love telling people is listening is one of the most fundamental aspects, it’s like, the first thing we learn as kids is listening. It’s why, you know, we say mama and daddy, you know, over and over again, because we know they’re hearing us and that’s, that’s their first cent stents that they’re, they’re developing. And the other beneficial thing when I’m teaching a communication workshop is listening can be developed, no matter how old you are, you can develop your skills and listening. So one thing that I do because especially for folks who have a DD ADHD, using multiple senses can be helpful. So like, when I have students at at UTEP, who were asking me, if I’m going to post my notes on Blackboard, I’m like, Yes, I will. But I also suggest you take some notes while we’re talking. Because if you are listening, and watching me and also writing it down, you’re more likely to remember what I’m talking about. So that’s another thing. Now, when I’m coaching, I try to provide as much eye contact as possible, especially because, you know, everything’s over zoom these days. And so, I instead of taking full on notes, like if I was in the classroom, I jot kind of key words that I can revisit and kind of guide the conversation or helped me remember some of the main things that stuck out to me because that’s, that’s for me. And that’s kind of my research or background, when I’m when I’ve done analysis on TV shows or other types of media, I’m looking for frequency and intensity. So if they use the same word over and over again, or metaphors can be really important to all of those things I’m listening for and trying to pay attention to. But at the same time trying to find that delicate balance where I’m not anticipating where things are going. Other than that, I would say the other part of listening is listening for and sounds weird to say listening for this, but both the verbal and the nonverbal cues that the client is giving you because that’s the other part about leadership presence and coaching presence, is being able to read your client, when they are uncomfortable with something or when, you know, they finally said something and you see their shoulders relaxed, like I finally got that off my chest like, okay, now I feel like we’re onto something here. Let me see if I can ask some questions to get out to why that was such a relieving moment for them.

buzzing with ms b  18:18

That’s such an interesting point, whenever you said, whenever they use the same word over and over again, it can really give you a little clues as to how people really feel about something, and where they’re getting stuck in this one spot. And whenever they try to process something, they just come back to the same idea over and over again. That’s really enlightening.


It’s, you’d be surprised on in everyday life, actually, you know, and I don’t want to get too nerdy about it. Because my my, my dissertation was looking at metaphors and other words and phrases that people use because the words we use are important. You know, if someone talks about the relationship as a battle, that gives you a peek into how they are currently seeing their relationship where they are at odds with their partner, you know, and so the way that someone uses words frequently, or whether they’re just powerful metaphors about work, I adopt those words, I started talking about it in the same words that they’re using, because there’s a reason why they’re using them in that way.

buzzing with ms b  19:14

Do you ever draw their attention to say to those words, something like, you know, I’m noticing that you’re, you’re comparing your your relationship to a battle? Do you ever do that?


Oh, absolutely. Right. I mean, you know, they might not even be aware that they’re doing right. Yeah. And so absolutely, you know, they, especially if there are multiple, not the same metaphor, but I met them metaphors around the same theme. Then I’ll say you’ve said this, this and this. What can you tell me more about why those words you’re associating those words with your relationship or with your, your supervisor at work or whoever it might be?

buzzing with ms b  19:49

Now you see what I’m saying?


They there’s like that beat where they’re like, Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’ve been. I’ve never noticed that. I’m talking about people in this way. So it can be a real eye opening experience for them.

buzzing with ms b  20:03

Yeah, I can imagine because sometimes I go back and listen to myself on the podcast, and I know I’m being recorded. And I also have notes or something, you know, I know where the conversation is headed roughly. And still, I’m like, Whoa, you’re yourself. We should all be recorded for like, I don’t know, even 15 minutes a day would probably be super enlightening. So getting your focuses on leadership coaching, and I think I was thinking about this idea, you know, it’s really building a capacity and individuals that so that they can create change for themselves, and also for others in their vicinity. And also, so that they can lift people up to build capacity in them as well. So, you know, whenever we think about coaching as an instructional coach on a campus, that’s really what we’re trying to do, as well as build this capacity and people and help them them grow so that they can create positive change for themselves, for their students, for their colleagues. So if we’re thinking about how this positive change happens, you know, how do conversations actually impact a person’s capacity to create that change?


So, for me, as I mentioned, I’m working in leadership, but my backgrounds in communication, because I kind of back my way into communication, I was one of those students who was lost and changed my major, I don’t know how many times my advisor was like, you’re going to be undeclared for a minute. And eventually, I switched from business to communication and absolutely loved it. So for me, communication, is my passion. And so for me, communication, both verbal and nonverbal, makes all the difference in the world. And in terms of coaching, every individual is their best resource. And my job as a coach is to help my clients explore their own resources and help them find their own way. And so, and I was thinking about this, in terms of one of the questions your you sent me that some of the questions you were gonna ask me ahead of time, and one of them is something you know what I’ve been one of my favorite things right now. And one of the shows that I’ve been watching or a documentary I’ve been watching on who’s called stolen youth. And it is about a group of kids at Sarah Lawrence, that fell into, it feels like a very cult like situation because of one of the students father. And he heard of this, it’s, it’s astonishing to see how just through conversations, this man just hooks these kids, and changes what they believe about their own hurt their own personal history, with their family. And it for me, all I can think of as like, That’s how powerful, powerful conversations can be. Right? It can change someone’s perception of their own lived experience, just from having these types of conversations. And so now granted, that’s used for terrible,

buzzing with ms b  22:54

please don’t do this, guys.


But I think you can take a lesson in understanding of how powerful these types of conversations can have, right? I tell. I tell my students, I tell my clients, I tell people who are asking for advice. It is amazing how much just a simple paradigm shift can be for people. And it doesn’t have to be a huge paradigm shift. Or it could just be a different way of thinking about something. I was coaching someone a while ago, and he was talking about how he had originally come up with a plan to every for two hours a week, he was going to find two hours throughout the week to work on this side business that he’s building. I said, Okay, great. And how did that go? And he’s like, lasted about two weeks. And then I stopped doing it. Because it’s hard for me to find an hour in the morning or an hour right after work that I can stick to that. I said, Okay, fine. What it sounds like to me is that you’re looking for 120 minutes to work on this thing throughout the week. And there was like that pause like you’re right, I don’t have to do everything in 60 minutes. If I find 10 minutes, if I’m at the doctor’s office, and I pull up my notes app, and I’m working on this for 10 minutes, I’ve just taken 10 minutes off of those 120 minutes. But it’s just a matter of some people just get stuck, like I have to work on this for an hour. And I know when you have 24 hours, that doesn’t seem like a lot. But if you take eight hours away for work, and you take you know, six hours away for sleeping and everything else, all of a sudden finding that hour and he had a wife who’s pregnant, who he’s trying to spend time with, because she’s in the middle of this pregnancy and stressed out and he’s like, you know, yeah, of course, sometimes I just want to sit down and relax and watch something on Netflix with my wife. You know, that’s that’s me contributing to my relationship as well. And I said, yeah, yeah, that you’re not doing anything wrong there. But you’re also setting up this goal and not hitting that goal can be really frustrating. And so if we just tweak that just a little bit and say, Okay, well then I’m going to do 10 minutes. While you know while she’s getting ready for bed. I’m just gonna grab sit on my laptop and type out a few sentences of a blog post. Write something along those lines, then all of a sudden you’re you’re kind of nipping away at it. Instead of thing going about it in terms of this bigger project or this bigger amount of time. But that’s just talking about the specifics of the same, but we’re talking about the same goal, nothing changed. We’re just talking about it differently.

buzzing with ms b  25:12

Yeah, you kind of reframing it, giving them an opportunity to see it through a different lens, or in a different way. I was listening to a podcast about that recently. And I want to say it was either gold digger or online marketing Made Easy, I’m not sure. But they were talking about how our language can actually the way that we talk about things actually will change the way that we perceive them. And so in having these kinds of conversations, and and maybe wording things in a way that they had not thought about before, we can give them the opportunity to see a situation in a completely different way, and maybe see opportunities instead of the obstacle.


Right, exactly. I mean, even just like that simple thing. It’s probably all over social media, where they say if you’re nervous about something, just sort of saying, I’m so excited for this. Yeah, your body, your body feels the same way whether you’re excited or nervous. Yeah, but even talking about it differently can make a difference.

buzzing with ms b  26:02

Yeah, I think I heard I’ve heard something like that. I want to say it was on this podcast episode where they said, I started telling myself, not but I’m so nervous. I’m so scared, I started saying this is how my body prepares for this exciting thing. My body prepares itself by becoming anxious, you know. And that’s by like having these certain specific sensations. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing I am, my body is getting me ready for this experience. That’s what I was trying to do. So coaches before PLC, whenever you’re starting, your body is preparing you for a spectacular PLC opportunity. And I will say


the other thing about getting nervous and just in any, I literally start every coaching session, and I’m not I’m not a I’m not doing yoga, I’m not doing meditation, I probably should be doing both of those things. But I start every coaching session with just asking my client to take one deep breath with me. And everyone says it makes a huge difference. Like it just helps. Like, it’s like they breathe out everything that they just have just left. And now focus a little bit, that can make a huge difference before you’re about to do something and you’re feeling that nervousness.

buzzing with ms b  27:05

Yeah, like that, that we used to do. I was a member of the West Texas writing project, which was a local fight for the National Writing Project. And at the beginning of every session, or mood, or whatever it was, no matter how long we were going to be there, we took a few minutes and did a focus free write. And we just wrote about whatever was in our brains, and you just kind of like jumping onto the paper is so great, it’s my favorite thing. And I started doing with my students. And sometimes I would do it with my teachers, once I became a coach, and some of the teachers were like, This is so weird, and but some of them, they just had not been, they hadn’t spent time writing, which is, you know, red flag. But like, we gotta we gotta get these teachers, right. And guys, but, but you know, it was so my students loved it, we call it unpacking, you’re going to unpack your brain, dump it all on the paper. And it just really helps you kind of transition into something. So I do love that as a strategy. And the breathing is so important, because we don’t breathe, we just kind of like real enough to stay alive. But not to like do good things slowly breathing


through like clenched teeth.

buzzing with ms b  28:07

So you mentioned people being their own best resource. And I just, that’s such a good phrase and such a nice way to think about it. Because sometimes we can peg people as not having tools. And sometimes they don’t have all the tools that they need. But that doesn’t mean that these very resourceful individuals cannot get what they need, right? Or figure things out. So whenever we’re coaching somebody, and we find that we want to tell them, just do this, you know, just do this is my advice, just do this, this is what worked for me, this is what will work for you, then we’re not thinking about them as their own best resource, right? We’re thinking about us as their best resource. So what are some of the issues with giving advice? And why should we avoid this?


So one, there is a bit of selfish, like, that’s the first thing I’ll say, because maybe it’ll help people kind of stop in their tracks before giving advice. There is a selfish part of giving advice. I have the answer. I am the person that knows better. I am giving it to you. Right. There’s ego behind that. Now granted, for people who are giving advice, oftentimes, if someone’s going to as a coach or a consultant, it’s because you have expertise. And that’s great. But it depends on when you’re giving that advice. And it depends on the situation and how you’re creating that advice. So first of all, there’s difference between how I approach these things with coaching and consulting. Right. So in terms of coaching, I am not my client. You know, I’ve said that before I I don’t know their full experience. I don’t know what it’s like living their day to day as them, right, whatever. And I’ll give a small little example of it right. I think I was having conversations on a different podcast, about the differences that men and women have. just day to day, right

buzzing with ms b  29:59

now Um, variants,


but absolutely, you know, a woman who has, you know, if you’re taking you know, Evie two with you to the store, and you’re having to put it in in the car seat while you’re, you know, loading your groceries, you have to be aware in case someone is waiting for that moment where we see that on the news all the time, right? There is, that is a fear, I don’t have to think about ever. Right? That is not, that is not my experience whatsoever. And if you take that into how women think about what they have to think about when they’re going out with their friends at night, all of those things, there is an entire spectrum of things that is never going to be in my purview. Right. So then why would I know any better, literally than any woman about that experience? Right? So it’s impossible for me to give that kind of advice. Right? And I’m giving I’m using a very extreme example. Yeah. But I think it helps set the idea of how different are the people that we’re talking to, and coaching are from us. And so what works for me is not going to work for them. Right? It’s the whole reason why I need to understand what their values and their identity and their frame of reference, all of those things are going to be so different. I need to understand that and just help them talk through what the best solution is for them. Right. So then why would why would my advice work better? If I’m not them? Right? So when it comes to coaching, that is why, at least in that realm of coaching, I don’t give advice. It is all about asking questions. With consulting, it’s a little bit different. But I’m still taking the time to understand the individuals involved the situation as best as I can to give them my best recommendation or recommendations, but I am still working alongside them to build a plan that suits them and coming up together with Okay, well, how are we going to evaluate the success of this plan together? Right? It can’t just be my own personal Oh, yeah, I think I did a good job on this. Like you we have to work together to figure out what what does success look like?

buzzing with ms b  31:51

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. There’s that. That speaker and author Michael Bungay Stanier. I think I sent you, the one who does the advice monster and all those. And he does talk about the selfish part of giving advice. And some of the reasons like the motivations for giving advice, which is really interesting. Yeah, yeah, the idea of like being the savior or you know, that we want to come in and like save people from


the rest of the I want to come into the rescue.

buzzing with ms b  32:18

Yes. Yeah. Very interesting. So as you were talking about, about, about not giving advice, and I was thinking about certain teachers that I’ve worked with, and you were talking about identity, and, and I was thinking about, you know, all these biases that we have whenever we communicate with people. And so sometimes we have, sometimes we know, we’re biased about something, right? And sometimes we don’t, we just think something is we don’t even have like a definitive, you know, sense of our feelings on it. It’s that unconscious bias that kind of surfaces, you know, so how does this come up? How do we how do we see unconscious bias playing out in our conversations? And how can we become aware of our biases, whenever we don’t even realize maybe that we have a bias against somebody or some, like some category of person.


So we all have biases, conscious or unconscious, they are absolutely there. They are influenced by, you know, the way that we were raised the things that we experienced the things that we watch. And it is just a matter of how we express those things and how they affect our decision making. Our brains work to make things easier for us, right? I think I read somewhere that if our brains if we had to consciously think about, Okay, I’m gonna make myself breathe, I’m gonna make pay, you know, I’m gonna make my blood flow to my heart, I’m gonna make all of these things, make my feet, we’d be exhausted, you wouldn’t be able to like get out of bed. Yeah. So your brain makes shortcuts. But it also makes shortcuts. They did a study of this before Uber and GPS and everything, but the taxi cab drivers in New York. And it they had studied their brains and realized that the portion of their brains that the way that most people associated with like driving and directions, it’s like they had all the shortcuts because they knew the map of New York better than anybody else. But their brains had mentally made a bunch of shortcuts, we do the same thing. And so if we associate certain


our brains work the exact same way we create these shortcuts, based on things that we have experienced and things that we see. And so if we associate certain behaviors or actions with a certain type of people, we are going to have those biases whether we like them or not. And so it’s a matter of acknowledging that and working around those, right part of the way you can do that is educating yourself. Right? You’re also that doesn’t mean you go ask your black friend or your gay friend, hey, teach me about your people. That’s not don’t do that. Please don’t do that. Please, please don’t do that. But you have An entire world at your fingertips on your phone that you can educate yourself and expose yourself to that’s the other thing, expose yourself to other people and cultures. And do that work yourself. Right, I had little to no experience with the LGBTQ community until I moved to Albuquerque. And it just so happens that nearly every single one of my friends over there was part of that community. And so all of a sudden, my association, in my knowledge, my understanding was totally different than it was, you know, the four years before I graduated. And so it doesn’t mean you have to go do go out and do something like that, you know, not everyone has that type of ability or resource to be able to do things like that. But you can educate yourself. And if you do have people in your life who are willing to tell you things and have those conversations, then take advantage, right, but still do the work yourself. Right? If you have people willing to help you be willing to listen, be willing, be willing to be wrong. And you have to be willing to feel and be uncomfortable, because acknowledging these things can feel really ugly. Because the biases, again, it’s your brain. And it’s things that you’ve learned over time that you are fighting against. And it’s an ugly feeling, I almost equate it with the sensation when you’re in the driver’s seat, and someone lowers the back window, and that you feel that like when I’m on warm, I want you feel that inside, you know, because it’s like, I shouldn’t feel this way about this person, I do not know. But I feel these things. And I have to actively work to not make that change my behavior.

buzzing with ms b  36:30

Yeah, that’s really hard to do. You’re right. One of the ways that I feel like is an easy way that you can expose yourself to different people maybe that then are usually in your circle is something that I do is I follow people on Instagram. And it’s the easiest thing ever, because people share about their lives. And then you’re seeing these people pop up and you’re seeing them talk and you’re seeing you know, their culture or whatever they’re choosing to share. And those are people who are going out of their way to share these things, right. So they’re, they’re already putting the energy out there in the world. And you’re seeing them every single day, depending on how many hours you spend on your phone, you’re seeing that pop up all the time. And it’s an overtime, your your brain can kind of start to cut, undo some of those biases, because you say, Oh, well, this isn’t really always true. Or this isn’t the case or this this assumption that I had made that I didn’t even know I made. As I’m seeing it as this person pops up, I start thinking was and now I realized that’s not even the case, because that’s not what I’m seeing here. And and so your brain can kind of start to undo some of the work that is done because you’re right brains build patterns. It’s just what they do, even without us intending anything. And I think that’s that. One one part about the book about white fragility book is that Robyn D’Angelo is that who wrote it, she talks about how one of the problems and this is one of the big biases, not even like a little one that this is, I mean, you know, racial bias actually being racist. We look at, oh, well, racists are bad people, therefore, I cannot be racist, because I’m not a bad person. And that’s not the way it works. It’s your brain has made these little patterns in anything you’ve heard anything that was put in there, by your family, by media, by your community. And also just stuff your brain made sense of in a weird way. Because we know kids make sense out of things in a weird way. They don’t understand what they’re, they’re just making the trying to understand. And so your brain still holds on to all that. So all of it’s just in there. And it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, it means that you have these thoughts that you haven’t examined, and and work through. And so that happens all the time, whether you’re working with a teacher, yet my daughter’s pre K teacher has been teaching for 37 years. And, and when I just said that, what did you think some people thought, wow, they must have so much experience. And they know there’s so many things. Some people were like, Why are they still in the classroom? They need to retire. People have opinions, right? And so I whenever I before I met her, I was like, I wonder which direction this will go? Well, the truth is, it can go in any direction, because I didn’t know anything about her other than that one fact, right. And so now that I’ve met with her, and you know, talked with her, and she works with my child, she’s a wonderful fit for my daughter. She’s practical, she’s cut and dry. But she’s she likes to have fun as well. And that’s my kid all over. Like she’s like, just tell me what I need to know. Let me get through this. And so I didn’t know what this person would be like before I met her. But in reading that statement, I had ideas right that I had to go, I don’t know, I’m going to be open to who she is because I don’t know who she is. I cannot tell who she is based on this one piece of information that I know about her. Right? And that’s what happens when we work with teachers at our schools. We say this was a brand new teacher, she’s going to struggle on this. Well, she might, she might not you might be. You just don’t really know. There are some patterns that we see. But we still have to be aware of the individual we’re working with that may not fit into those patterns that we have seen in the past.


Yeah, and the other. The other of the advice I’ll give is, like you said there are people all over social media who are trying to share this information if you just if it’s about You know, D, I just look for look up the hashtag di on Tiktok or on Instagram and find it. But I would also be, it would behoove everybody, once you find that person, click on their bio, like on their website and find out exactly who they are. Because I can tell you how many times someone will send, like, Look at this cool information I found and then I find the person and they go to their page and I’m like, Oh, they’re sudden they’re sharing quite a bit of nonsense. Yeah. Take this with a grain of salt.

buzzing with ms b  40:26

It happened to me the other day, too. I was like, Yeah, I think you might want to look at it a little more, because that’s such a good guy.


So please, definitely take the extra step. I would say that’s the other part is there’s so much information it can be. It could be a positive, but it could also be a negative. So I would definitely make sure you are following the right people. But yes, that there’s so many resources out there, but just make sure that the person sounds like a legitimate source.

buzzing with ms b  40:54

Yeah, that’s a good point. That’s a friend of mine. The other day was like, wow, you know so much about so many topics. I was like, dude, Google is free. Google, it’s free. But you do have to vet the source, right? You have to consider the source and make sure that you’re getting information from a credible source. So that’s a good point. Well, this has all been so good. I love thinking I love like reframing the way that we think about our conversations with teachers in this way, and really getting to know them as people understanding their identities and how those identity identities are impacting the work that we do together. And again, it’s a tool in your toolbox. Every time you sit down with a teacher, you’re not going to have this sort of conversation, like you said, you’re going to slip into these different roles, depending on the nature of the work that together and where they are. But now I get to ask one of my favorite questions, which is what is your favorite thing right now? So you know can be I mean, the world is your oyster, it can be any kind of thing. That which I don’t know why the world’s your oyster. So why would anybody want weird, you know, metaphors. But But what is your favorite thing, it could be TV, movies, podcasts, products, you always have great favorite things that you you’re always up to date on something cool. So I’m excited I’m


trying in terms of reading because I’ve been my big push for this year is to read more, because I just do not make the time for it. And I think I’m on my phone so much. It’s made reading very difficult. So I’ve I love horror movie. So I’ve been trying to read horror books. I’m reading month by Stephen King called finder, finders keepers who haven’t read that. And so far, I like it, it kind of goes back and forth. I’m only a few pages in but it goes back and forth between I think 1970 And then like present day. And so I’m waiting to see when there has to be a reason why they’re doing it. But so far, I’ve always enjoyed the way he writes, I’m enjoying that. But I watch a lot of TV. And I watch a lot of while I’m working and movies and whatnot. And so I’ll say I mentioned that documentary stolen youth. It is a really well done documentary. And it’s it’s like I said, it is frightening. How I mean, he was able, you know, for the most part, I’m not gonna get there first second year college students I get with how this guy could manipulate some of these kids. But then one of their siblings comes to visit and she is worked her butt off from I don’t know what borough in New York, got to, I think Harvard, and then went to medical school at Columbia. And she’s working as like a psychiatrist comes to visit falls in love with this guy. And he just like, changes her whole perspective. It’s I’m not done with it yet, because it’s a three part documentary, but it’s really great. There’s a new show on Fox called accused that I’m really enjoying every I like it because it’s not, you don’t have to watch it sequentially. Each each episode is its own little story about you’re trying to figure out whether the person is gonna get accused is accused of something, and whether it’s gonna go to trial or not. It’s really, really great. And they have a lot of great actors in every single episode. But by far the most, my most favorite thing that I’ve been watching recently is on peacock is called poker face with Natasha Lyon, the only loan? I don’t know, but it’s been by Rian Johnson, who wrote knives out and the class onion. Yeah. And the way I don’t want to spoil anything, essentially the way the main thing is that she can tell when someone’s lying just by the way they say something they’re just a verbal, the nonverbals just without question. Absolutely no lying or not. But the way that each episode is crafted, like the the format is really unique, and she’s fantastic in it. I got a great surprise because I think it was in the second or third episode, a really good friend of mine. He’s an actor in Albuquerque, and he wasn’t one of the episodes. But it is a fantastic show. It releases every Thursday. I think there’s maybe five episodes out right now on peacock.

buzzing with ms b  44:42

Okay, cool. Yeah, she’s great. She’s so interesting. I was watching Russian doll to some. Oh, yeah. She’s


just on deck shepherds podcast. And it was really great hearing her story because she’s been through a lot.

buzzing with ms b  44:53

Interesting. All right, well, cool. Well, thanks for those recommendations. I’m gonna check them out. I’ve also been trying to read more I haven’t read Stephen King in years but Because I can’t sleep when I read Stephen King anymore, but I used to love Stephen King. So enjoy your book. Alright, thanks so much for being here today. Thank you. Arthur always has so many interesting ideas. So I’m really glad that he was able to join us today, I realized I forgot to ask him how people can find him online, but his website is inviting difference.com If you’re looking for some leadership coaching yourself, maybe you’re considering thinking about how you do your work differently, or you’re thinking about moving up in the leadership, you know, food chain. So you can check that out inviting different stock calm, and his Instagram account is also inviting difference. He shares all kinds of really great information about how we can have better conversations, how we can lead through coaching and what kinds of you know what listening looks like and what kinds of conversations we can have. So you should definitely check those out. He’s a really great follow. I want to let you know about next week’s episode. Actually, I’m having a bonus episode coming out in a couple of days. Because we are launching the confident literacy coach, like I mentioned, it’s coming out it’s it’s already out actually. And the new bonus materials are coming out the actual new lessons that have been updated modules three and four totally brand new modules. And so that’s what’s the episode that’s coming up later this week is a bonus episode that’s going to answer some questions about the competent literacy coach course in case you have questions. Next week on Monday. My regular episode is an exciting guest. It’s Nicole s Turner of simply coaching and teaching. She is one of my favorite guests to have on the podcast because she is my coaching bestie and we’re going to talk about clear communication with teachers so I cannot wait to share that conversation with you. And until then, happy coaching!


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