5 Questions to Ask Teachers to Build Relationships and a Culture of Coaching

Before the beginning of the school year, George Couros posted 5 Questions to Ask Your Students to Start the School Year. Screen-Shot-2017-07-22-at-8.54.52-PMMany teachers tweeted about how powerful these questions are for getting to know your students, and showing them that you care about them, from day one. As a coach, I started thinking, “How could I use these questions to build relationships with my teachers, and show them that my top priority is supporting them?” As I begin my first meetings with teams next week, here are the five questions and some ideas on how they can promote a positive learning and coaching culture.

What are the qualities that you look for in a coach? 

It’s important at the beginning of the year for me to clearly communicate my roles as a coach, and the types of support that I can offer. Teachers often have different expectations and ideas about coaching, so it’s essential to have this conversation – to ensure that we are on the same page. Some people respond best to a cheerleaderAnswers to this question would also inspire me to plan and facilitate professional learning opportunities that best meet teachers’ needs.

What are your educational passions?

It’s essential for coaches to know what teachers are passionate about. Anytime I’m on Twitter and I see a new global project, I know exactly who to share it with! Or if I see some new ideas for #TeachSDGs…I know which teachers are interested. Coaching should build on what teachers are already doing…and things they are passionate about. Knowing their passions also helps me connect teachers who are interested in similar areas.

What is one BIG what-if question you have for this year?

All teachers have those BIG, what if questions that keep them up at night – what if I got rid of all my desks and tried flexible seating? what if all students had equal access to technology? what if I tried Genius Hour? My goal as a coach is to help teachers answer their BIG what if question. Sign up to join me and teachers around the world, in answering our what if questions, with the Professional Passion Project!  We launch it on October 2!

What are your strengths and how can we utilize them?

Just like our students, our teachers have a wealth of prior knowledge and experience that too often goes overlooked and is under-utilized. Knowing teacher strengths can help me to organize instructional rounds and learning walks, so that teachers can watch and learn from each other. Teachers should feel empowered and inspired – to know that they are making a difference, not just in the lives of their students, but also for their colleagues, and the culture of their school.

What does success at the end of the year look like to you?

Success should be defined by the individual. I want teachers to look back at the end of the year, and feel good about what they accomplished. Asking teachers to identify their criteria for success will help us plan the year, and stay focused on a common goal.

What are some ways that you build relationships with teachers at the start of the new year?


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