Coaching Conversations

Per Merriam-Webster online, an instructor teaches, and a teacher is one whose occupation is to

instruct. The same resource states that a coach can be someone who instructs a player or student in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy. Per my friend, Ross Bentley, who is at the top of the driving coach profession, “Coaching is drawing out what a student already knows or accessing a skill she already has.” (Ross Bentley, Brake, BRAKE, BRAKE; the HPDE Instructor Manifesto, p.16)

Back at Merriam-Webster, a mentor is defined as a trusted counselor or guide, and it is noted that it is possible for a coach to serve as a mentor. Ross and others that have written about coaching talk about how a coach involves their students as active participants in their training and education while teaching is a bit more of a one-way street of knowledge being transferred from instructor to student. The movement to change this idea of one-way street in the classroom to more of a coaching model is called Inclusive Teaching.

As I wrote in my last post, My Friend Friction, I try my best to build trust with the students I coach by engaging them in the education process. Trust is primary for me as a coach whether I’m with a student hurtling down a straightaway at over 100 MPH or working with a group of development officers at Columbia on how to have a genuine conversation with a donor thinking about supporting their institution. To reinforce and build my inclusive teaching muscles I’m taking an edX course on Inclusive Teaching to help me learn additional strategies to engage my National Auto Sport Association students on the track and in the classroom.

The coach as leader (in business) is a thing now too – Columbia Business School recently rolled out an Executive Education program titled, Leader as Coach, wherein, “Leaders can learn a coaching mindset and process they can apply to grow themselves and others around them, creating higher engagement, trust, innovation and effectiveness. to teach leaders how to be coaches.” And, the inclusive leader is a thing now too. A favorite business school professor of mine and many others, Hitendra Wadhwa, offers a program to companies called Inclusive Leadership through his Institute for Personal Leadership. As with all of Hitendra’s work this program’s intent is to help participants to embrace the learning points at a personal level.

Why is coaching and inclusion so top of mind? Is it something really new, or just new clothes for old concepts? Does it matter?

Yes or no, I am embarking on a journey to talk with coaches, teachers, and leaders about why coaching matters to them. I hope that what the coaches I talk with will inspire you.

Of course, I want to include you in the process so please engage in the discussion and invite friends to participate if you like what you’re reading in the Coaching Conversations.