Opinion
Education Opinion

How Can a Coach Gain a Teacher’s Trust?

By Elena Aguilar — September 02, 2013 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A question I’m often asked at this time of year when relationships are being formed is: How can I gain the trust of the teachers I’m working with?

In my book, The Art of Coaching, I offer ten steps for building trust with a new client and some suggestions for how to repair trust that’s been broken (see Chapter 5). These steps include carefully planning for a first conversation, establishing confidentiality, and actively listening during that first conversation. I also encourage coaches to make a great effort to personally connect with clients and to find authentic ways to validate their emotions and experiences. I discuss the importance of being transparent about what your role as a coach entails and what you can offer, and I stress the need to keep commitments.

Building trust takes time, and while I provide these “Ten Steps,” there are some elements missing in this puzzle. Perhaps they’re the preparatory steps, the things that a coach needs to do before she engages with a new client.

Start with Empathy

In order to build trust, a coach needs to empathize with her client. Whenever I’m going into a coaching meeting, I try to imagine where that teacher or administrator is coming from literally--where he has been that day, what he’s been doing, and how he might be feeling. Often this helps me to get into his frame of mind and adjust my coaching moves to meet him where he’s at.

When I think about teachers at the start of this year, I immediately think about the waves of change that are exceptionally wild right now with the advent of the Common Core State Standards. At least in my neck of the woods out here in California, CCSS are a force to be reckoned with. All kinds of things are changing, expectations and assessments and core beliefs about learning--and while it’s not all bad and it is what it is, it’s a rough and bumpy ride for teachers.

With change comes unknowns and uncertainty and that’s an environment in which trust is essential and perhaps more tenuous to build. So coaches, remember this--being in a teacher’s seat during times of change means that a coach needs to be even more mindful of the need to build trust. Cultivate your empathy for whomever you’re coaching and building trust will almost naturally flow as a consequence.

Set an Intention

Setting intentions is about orienting your mind and actions towards an identified end desire. It really is the launching place of all behavior. Before beginning a coaching relationship, and then before each meeting, I encourage you to set an intention. Intentions can sound like:


  • My intention is to understand where my client is at, and to help her develop her practice in the direction she wants it to go.
  • My intention is to be a kind and compassionate listener who can gently nudge my teacher to more efficacious instruction.
  • My intention is to provide a safe space for reflection.
  • My intention is to be a rock of stability and safety during this time of great change.

As a new coach, I my actions did not come from such positive places. Had I taken the time to reflect on what my intentions were, I might have recognized that I was entering coaching situations with an intention to “fix” or change another person. As I shifted the intentions behind my coaching, I became a much more effective coach--and one who engendered trust in her clients.

At this time of year, as you begin coaching relationships, there are many things you can do to build trust. It doesn’t end there of course--trust has to be maintained and tended to, but a good start is invaluable. For more on building trust, see Chapter 5 of my book.

The opinions expressed in The Art of Coaching Teachers are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Education California Requires Free Menstrual Products in Public Schools
The move comes as women’s rights advocates push nationwide for affordable access to pads, tampons, and other items.
1 min read
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Education Florida to Dock School District Salaries for Requiring Masks
Florida is set to dock salaries and withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates.
2 min read
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP