Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth

Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth

Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth

Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth


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When we embark on a journey, every action revolves around the destination. Of course, not all trips are smooth sailing. We inevitably hit distractions, obstacles, and detours. These challenges threaten to blow us off course, but when we stay focused on the destination rather than the barriers, we can move forward.

The same is true in education. Barriers to effective teaching are neither permanent states nor character traits. Rather, they are temporary challenges successful coaches help teachers overcome by connecting them with the right methods and keeping them focused on the destination.

In Compassionate Coaching, Kathy Perret and Kenny McKee identify the six most vexing challenges teachers face—lack of confidence, failure, overload, disruption, isolation, and school culture challenges—and the six corresponding ways that coaches can help teachers surmount them, dubbed the compassionate coaching focus areas.

Coaching with compassion is a process focused on partnership, empowerment, prioritization, routine, connection, and openness. Done well, it can result in transformational improvements to student achievement and teacher work satisfaction. In some cases, it can even shift the trajectory of whole schools.

Roadblocks and detours can get in our way when we are coaching just as they can during any journey. Instead of grumbling about the setbacks, we can open our eyes to the possibilities of a new and better route. That's what compassionate coaching offers. Let's go!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416630203
Publisher: ASCD
Publication date: 06/29/2021
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Kathy Perret is an instructional coaching trainer and virtual coach as well as coauthor of The Coach Approach to School Leadership. As the founder of Kathy Perret Consulting, she empowers school leaders, instructional coaches, and classroom teachers in their professional growth. With more than 30 years of experience in the field, Kathy hosts onsite and virtual professional learning for educators around the world. Educators directly affect student growth and performance, and Kathy is dedicated to improving experiences and outcomes for both adults and kids. She believes everyone deserves a coach—and that includes teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders!

Kenny McKee is a National Board–certified teacher who works as a high school literacy and instructional coach for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, North Carolina. He supports classroom teachers and other school faculty in professional growth and instructional practices. He has 20 years of experience in education as a secondary English language arts teacher and instructional coach. He has also served as a teaching instructor for the department of Literacy, English, and History Education at East Carolina University.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Using real-life scenarios, communication examples, practical strategies, and countless tools, Kathy Perret and Kenny McKee show coaches how to help teachers navigate through six common barriers that frequently interfere with professional learning and growth. A wonderfully practical book that would benefit any instructional leader.

    Alisa Simeral, Author of Pursuing Greatness: Empowering Teachers to Take Charge of Their Professional Growth and Creating a Culture of Reflective Practice: Capacity-Building for Schoolwide Success.

Compassionate Coaching brings research, stories, and common sense practices together to frame an approach to coaching that is strengths-based and asset-driven. Each chapter tackles a different aspect of coaching, and each chapter surfaces strategies and language that coaches can use to not only connect with teachers but increase their impact as well.

    Diane Sweeney, author of The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching (Corwin, 2020) and Student-Centered Coaching from a Distance (2021)

Author Fredrick Buechner describes compassion as feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. We move from empathy to compassion when we act on what we know. Kathy Perret and Kenny McKee provide pathways for understanding those we are coaching, as well as ourselves, and ways for taking action on what we know. As you read, you will reflect and plan — critical practices for coaches.

    Steve Barkley, coaching and leadership consultant PLS3rdLearning and author of Instructional Coaching with the End in Mind and Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching

Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth is one of those books I wish was available when I was a new coach. Kathy Perret and Kenny McKee carefully guide readers through a series of chapters designed to boost confidence and competence through some of the most challenging aspects of coaching. Armed with a GPS for coaching, readers will appreciate the real-life scenarios, practical advice and tangible tools for doing this work. It’s an indispensable tool for any instructional coaching toolkit.

    Stephanie Affinito, Literacy Teacher Educator, author of Literacy Coaching: Transforming Teaching and Learning with Digital Tools and Technology (Heinemann, 2018) and Leading Literate Lives: Habits and Mindsets for Reimagining Classroom Practice (Heinemann, 2021)

Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growthis like a warm blanket on a cold day, offering comfort and security. It uses real experiences to name and explain routine challenges that coaches face in schools, both their own professional challenges and those that teachers experience. After unpacking the challenges, Perret and McKee draw from their extensive experience as coaches and coach champions to offer time-tested techniques, tips, and tools to understand and address the challenges. This knowledge equips readers to coach with high levels of personal regard for teachers.

    Joellen Killion, Senior Advisor, Learning Forward

Instructional coaching is both rewarding and challenging. In Compassion Coaching, Kathy and Kenny address some of the most difficult parts of coaching and help both new and experienced coaches understand how to effectively navigate through those areas. This book is both insightful and practical and will be a valuable coaches' reference for years to come.

    Sherry St. Clair, author of Coaching Redefined: A Guide to Leading Meaningful Instructional Growth

Kathy Perret's and Kenny McKee's book, Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth, provides a clear roadmap for navigating the barriers to instructional improvement teachers face. As former teachers and current coaches themselves, Perret and McKee identify and define six situationally based teaching barriers, offer coaches guiding questions for effective conversations, and outline planning tools and resources to move practice forward. Throughout the text, clear examples illustrate the barriers while action-oriented professional learning (for both teachers and coaches) illuminate a way through. This is a book I will continue to refer back to in my coaching work with both teachers and leaders.

    Allison Rodman, Professional Learning Designer and Facilitator, author of Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice

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