Open the doors #foreverlearners: A made to order coaching model – work in progress

My new favourite term comes from my tweep mate @debsnet, #foreverlearners is just so cool and gives the old ‘life long learners’ term such a new feel and dimension that I’m almost frightened in case I over use it. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

#foreverlearners for the sake of this blog is about opening the doors. Let me give you some context…

life as teacher

Over the last term and a bit I have been working with a small group of colleagues looking at developing a coaching model to suit our needs. The school in question is in its second year of using another model but things aren’t working out as well as expected. Teachers have not quite gelled with it and so as a newby I am aware of the tension and suspicion some some staff feel. It is a confusing program with lots of what seem to be disconnected steps and milestones. Many staff have let it stray and so they no longer see nor understand its purpose, if indeed they did originally understand the WHY, HOW and WHAT.

I have been reading and consulting, tweeting and discussing coaching for a while and learned quite a lot from many research articles, great blogs, great educators and coaches. Here’s what I have so far…

  • Coaching is about change
  • Collaboration in coaching is vital to its success
  • Coaching models need clear objectives and SMART goals
  • Coach and coachee must be motivated to change
  • Coaching is about the teacher as learner first
  • Reflection should be at the centre of any coaching process
  • Coaching is cyclic
  • AITSL offers many great ideas and strategies for developing a coaching model to match the personal needs of any school


Above is my visual developed for what I think could be a successful cyclic model to enable teachers as learners. This is my vision for a coaching model.

Let me elaborate…

“We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on that experience” John Dewey



What does good teaching look like?

Who will make an appropriate coach for me?

What am I good at?

What things are holding me back or am I avoiding?

What don’t I do that I would really like to do?

What does my student data tell me?


Where am I?Plan

Where would I like to be?

How will I get there?

What do I need to get there?



The action component is a differentiated bricolage of options depending on the objectives and actgoals of coach and coachee. Here anything is possible from videotaping classes, peer observations, keeping a journal in any format – blogging, drawing, sketchnoting, diary, video diary, audio. This is where the action takes place, the hands on application, the action research, collection of data. This is where we begin to create, the time when actual paint hits the canvas and a picture begins to take shape.



And then? What then?


The paint begins to splatter and slowly we stand back one step at a time, have a look, watch our video, listen to our audios, and read our diary. Take another step back and suddenly a picture begins to take shape, observe others learning and teaching, perhaps step forward and add another colour, another shape here and there. Then step back -observe -think and then…



What worked?

What were my challenges?

What do I do now that I didn’t do before?

Where to next?

And so the process begins again…REFLECT…

Thanks for reading 🙂


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3 thoughts on “Open the doors #foreverlearners: A made to order coaching model – work in progress

  1. The way that you described and presented your model made me think. I hope that you don’t mind if I make some observations and throw you some questions about it?
    I know that it may not be what you were covering here but a big question might be, how do coaching conversations support each of the stages in your cycle? I think that this is the critical ingredient behind the scenes in your model otherwise it might [just] look like a reflective practice model that anyone could do on their own. Coaching might be described as facilitated reflection in the centre of the diagram.
    I like the venn diagram and the reflect>plan>act>observe>evaluate>reflect cycle. The dot points under REFLECT highlight the importance of having a point of reference or evidence of the current reality at the start. Looking at how you have described ACT, I wonder if there should be more in there about new practice, interventions or ways of working? Some of the strategies you have in there – video, journals, etc. – are great ways to gather evidence – to OBSERVE? – but might not in themselves be actions to address the goal.
    I’m seeing the OBSERVE phase as gathering information about the impact of the ACTions and then the EVALUATE stage arriving at a conclusions about the degree of success.
    I hope this is helpful and makes sense.
    All the best,

    • Chris, thanks for taking the time. You make some interesting observations which will assist in further developing our coaching model. I especially connect with the question of how coaching conversations support each of the stages of the cycle and this will certainly be an area that needs more attention in regard to making it such that it is authentically a coaching model and not as you suggest just a personal reflection. I like this idea and will certainly follow up. The ACTion area does need development, I knew this and was thinking about some of the action research procedures to include but the ‘new’ ideas and interventions you suggest is something further to think about. Your comment on the observe phase makes a lot of sense and that cetainly was in my thought process but I have not fully expressed this in great enough detail here. Much to ponder – will be perhaps a good time to meet up and chat some more. Thanks again for taking the time to share your expertise and challenge my thinking. I’m eager to continue exploring these ideas. 🙂

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