By Diana Williams
In the instructional coaching world, the name Jim Knight is heard often. He has published many books and has developed a coaching cycle called The Impact Cycle. In January, Michaela Brooks and myself, Diana Williams, were given the wonderful opportunity through two grants to learn with Jim Knight during a five-day workshop titled, Intensive Instructional Coaching Institute. Let’s just say there is definitely a reason they call it intensive!
Day 1-Better Conversations
“Human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change-personal change, community and organizational change, planetary change. If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive.” -Margaret Wheatley.
The first day of the institute focused on the book, Better Conversations. We learned about the importance of meaningful conversations and focused on the message that a school is only as good as the communication.
The day began with us reflecting on ourselves as communicators. We thought about where we are and where we want to be in different areas such as effective listening, building emotional connections, questioning, building trust, collaboration, and praise. The rest of the day was focused on how we can become better communicators through the six beliefs of better conversations and the ten habits of better conversations.
One of the ten habits of better conversations is to build trust. As an instructional coach, this habit is extremely important in my role. Building trust with teachers has to happen first before we can be productive in our work together. Trust can take time to build, but Knight shares with us the idea that trust is composed of character, reliability, competence, warmth, and stewardship. If all of those things are in place a trusting relationship will soon follow.
Learning about the beliefs and habits of better conversations allowed us to continue to reflect on ourselves as conversationalists and gave us a focus on how we can improve. Communication is critical to not only our role as instructional coaches but far beyond that, communication is critical to life.