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Although I have had a lot of instruction and practice in listening techniques, I believe Evocative Coaching has clarified the importance of listening and the value of being totally present; not solving problems but building on the positive.
Everything that I have learned is influencing and impacting my work with students as a teacher, as a PLC facilitator with my colleagues, and with the building and district leadership as I drop “pebbles” of the Evocative Coaching model along the pathway to our school and district’s transformation.
Each week in the Evocative Coaching Training Program I learn more and more that will impact my job. I am becoming more comfortable in using the strategies and have become much more reflective in my discussions with teachers.
Through this training program I have become a better listener; I give less advice and instead practice giving empathy. I think about how the skills I am learning can impact my students and my work environment. It has helped me detach in a good way from stressors in my environment.
The consistent focus on positive feedback really supports the self-efficacy of my staff. Being reminded of the Möbius strip with story, empathy, inquiry and design thinking has really effected how I communicate / coach my staff.
I joined this course because I wanted to transform schools; I have found instead that I have been transformed.
Through this course, I have started to really feel myself on the cusp of something quite tremendous as a professional and also as a person.
Imaginative listening is a game changer in that it allows teachers to tell their stories with full engagement. The more teachers understand their stories as stories, rather than as settled facts over which they have no control, the more teachers are cultivating a willingness to change and become lifelong learners.
By listening mindfully, quietly and reflectively when teachers tell their stories, coaches disarm resistance and evoke open dialogue which sets the stage for change. It is seldom that a person is listened to without judgment and with no agenda. This alone may be why evocative coaching is refreshing and powerful enough to transform an entire school.
When I meet with a teacher or walk into his or her class, I finally feel as if I have the tools to help them reach their potential. I took this job because I like the coaching aspect but after my first year, I was not sure if I had the “it” that caused teacher to see me as more than just a helper. I feel empowered!
Most strategic planning and systems change initiatives follow the time-worn pattern of a SWOT analysis: assessing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to analyze and correct the root causes of their problems. Although well-intentioned, this approach has consistently been shown in study after study to fall far short of its promises. Organizations often do not change following a SWOT-based planning process and when they do change, that change often leads to increased rigidity, fear, and blame. Instead of inspiring hope, people end up feeling defensive and defeated.
Fortunately, there is a better way. Using Appreciative Inquiry and Design Thinking, our whole-system transformation initiatives utilize an innovative SOAP analysis: focusing on Strengths, Observations, Aspirations, and Possibilities to “lather up” new realities. By celebrating the best of what is and imagining the best of what might be, our strengths-based planning processes are filled with creativity, fun, surprise, wonder, joy, satisfaction, and deep relationships. Scalable to groups of all sizes, these processes include effective ways to engage all stakeholders in the search for new horizons and previously overlooked possibilities. Innovations thereby emerge that result in improved student well-being and learning.
Learn more about how this process works by downloading these Articles & Publications. Watch this process in action by following these links to the Promotional and Summit videos of a whole-systems change process that took place in 2006 in the Fostoria City Schools (Get RealPlayer to watch videos). Then Contact us today to explore the possibilities for bringing sparkle to your system with SOAP!