Why You Need 1 on 1 Coaching

By Ashoke Menon, Founder of Ignite for Schools

Why is it important to have personal 1 on 1 coaching for educators, leaders and teachers?

There are currently about 6.2 million teachers in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 46% of new teachers leave the profession before their fifth year and 14% leave after only the first one.

Educators/leaders that are promoted to the next level of leadership have little or no training in terms of how to lead at the next level and its expectations and demands. Often times it is 'on the job' training. This often results in frustrations and more importantly, ineffectiveness not necessarily because of inherent ineptitude but for the lack of any formal training and real time support.

This is where coaching can make a huge difference. All the instructional strategies based professional development can be and often is provided by upper management or at the district level, but this in most cases seems to fail in dealing with the topics mentioned earlier in terms of 'leadership' development. Many times principals are having to 'filter' the information before relaying it to their admin team and staff. An effective coaching partner can help create practices to 'boost' this messaging from district to school buildings. Good coaching can help bridge that gap.

There is a lot of focus on the 'structural' side of leadership and implementation but not enough on the 'cultural' side the equation. Good effective coaching today also focuses on supporting the leader on developing practices to support the 'achievement culture' side of the equation. Most leaders today are keenly aware of the important role of building a positive culture in their buildings.

There is much lost between the 'conference room ' where professional development happens and the 'classroom' or the 'building' where real life is at play. Effective 1 on 1 coaching can and has made a difference in this transition.

Why is there such a big turnover in the teaching profession?

• State mandates are one of the biggest complaints.
• Educational reforms and expectations are a constant source of pressure for teachers.
• Teachers are required to teach for a test, instead of having the ability to be creative. 
• Too little administrative support is another complaint especially with new teachers.
• Many districts have a “sink or swim” attitude for beginning teachers and don’t seem to offer the needed help many new teachers are looking for.
• Student discipline is a problem that many teachers say keeps getting worse.
• Many districts discourage teachers from sending students to the office and expect them to handle disruptive students on their own.
• Lack of respect causes bad morale, especially after teaching a few years.

Of course there are also success stories and many teachers want to advance and climb up the ladder. Oftentimes many new administrators are not prepared to jump right into the skills needed and expected to perform at the principal or similar district positions- resulting in frustrations, misunderstood relationships, miscommunication all leading to the main objectives (student achievement) left unattained.

In most cases, there isn't a 'training ground'. It is mostly learning on the job and sometimes comes at a painful cost in human potential not being met.

One on One coaching, the right kind of it, can be an investment that pays off in big dividends as it can transition leadership to the next level, smooth out potential minefields and can help support the blossoming of human potential at leadership levels.

Who benefits most from coaching?

Coaching benefits any individual who has the intention of creating a better future by enhancing their leadership quotient. Coaching asks that the client be open to all that is required in self transformation: courage to self-examine and become self aware, focus to follow through on next steps, and self-discipline to challenge assumptions and “old” ways of leading. By doing this the benefit extends to those working as part of your team, and for leaders in schools, that means teachers and most importantly the students.

Interested in learning more about coaching? Start here.