The focus this month has been essentially about the things that guide our thinking and direction, expectations, standards, principles or core values. As we consider the very fundamental importance of these conversations we learn and recognize that the conversations never are final and always need revisiting about what they mean and what we stand for. As we go through our lives and our careers we do a lot of tasks. Some make little difference or impact to our greater mission, some transform people and how they walk through life and engage with others. What attention and focus do we want to give to those things that make the most lasting difference for our schools and the children in them?
My personal reflection: In my 47-year career I have completed a million tasks, and they seemed endless at the time – from every document in the education system, for sure; to thousands of notebooks for learning; read and prepared for hundreds of book studies; graded thousands of papers; prepared for hundreds of board meetings or staff meetings; finished more budgets than I ever thought possible; and the list goes on … AND yet today, with great reflection, I have realized the most important thing that I have done in my life was engaging with people though conversations. Learning to have conversations as a coach leader has been the most powerful work and time investment commitment of my life. Through coaching, I have learned the skills to influence and inspire more than I even know, and those I do know are golden in my heart. Every conversation I remember: when a child walked away knowing how much I believed in him or her; when a parent left a conference and knew I was a champion for their child; every conversation with my administrator when he valued and even occasionally embraced my crazy ideas; every employee I had to share tough information with and yet they left feeling valued and certain I believed in them to grow. Yes, my life principle grew to approach all things with my “coach identity.” An identity that has taught me to see the brilliance in all people – even when I had to really work at it and what interesting things I have learned about people. An identity that has taught me the most amazing language skills, that even I am amazed by the change I witness sometimes. An identity that has taught me more about people, their goodness, their complexities, their uniqueness-es than all the many psychology and sociology classes I have ever had. How I wish I had had this gift of knowledge when I began my career – and the best thing is, I learned it before the end!
Yes, I know, at last, I really understand the principle that will be forever foremost for me:
Coaching transforms people in the way they desire to be: their best selves.