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Selecting a Personal Coach

How Do You Select a Personal Coach?

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Focus on your candidates’

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I. Competence

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II. Integrity

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III.  Judgement

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IV. “Goodness of Fit” with Your Current and Upcoming Needs and Resources

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CompetenceI. Coaching Competence, Before, During, and After Coaching

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Executive coaches maintain high standards of competence and exercise careful judgment in determining how best to serve their clients’ needs, by choosing the most appropriate methods from their range of expertise.

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The competence of an executive coach is not determined by arbitrary academic degrees or coaching certifications, although degrees or certifications may represent completion of education, training, and objective evaluation on some, if not all, of the following relevant topics and capabilities.

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Clarify your candidates’ methods for maintaining high coaching standards.

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Do their methods contain appropriate breadth, depth, and clarity?

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Four Areas of Knowledge and Skill Underpin Competent Professional Coaching of Principals to Enact Effective SEL-based School-Wide Change

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Psychological knowledge, including especially SEL competence — with effective SEL modeling — through “thick and thin.”

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Business acumen, strategically sensitive to public school business interests.

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Organizational and community behavioral expertise, serving as a bridge for Principal and school to select and engage evidence-based providers for school-wide, SEL-based, performance culture development — to progress from a reactive, through a functional, and through a cooperative, to a high performing school culture.

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Executive coaching expertise, with a history of adaptive and successful performance on behalf of public health and business clients served.

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Competent school-wide SEL coaches are perceived by those they coach as capable, independent, practical, and interested in the Principal and his or her school, and as flexible, and able to serve as an excellent SEL role model and trainer.

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☞  In Regard to Your (the Principal’s) Competence, Your Primary Coaching Commitments Must Include:

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Determining your own criteria for a coach, including style, training, and specific areas of competence, expertise, and experience. Apply these criteria to selecting the best coach for you.

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Taking an active role in your own development by providing feedback to your coach on how coaching is progressing and what gaps still exist.

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Communicating with stakeholders of your coaching concerning your progress and results.

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Providing your organization and your coach with consistent feedback, both positive and negative, about the effectiveness of the coaching and the coaching process.

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☞  In Regard to Coaching Competence, our Logo-BCSCoaching Commitments Include:

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Consistently operating at our highest levels of competence.

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Accurately representing to prospects and clients our personal training, experience, areas of expertise, and limitations.

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Understanding the requirements of each coaching engagement. We will be open, objective and flexible in choosing methods to meet these requirements.

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Remaining aware of our personal limitations.  We will decline assignments that are beyond our personal experience, knowledge, capability, or interest, or where there is not a good match between us and the principal or school.

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Maintaining a network of contacts with other qualified professionals and referring clients when we are not the best possible resource.

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Updating our knowledge of your organization’s core business as well as best practices in coaching.

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Expanding our knowledge and skills through continuing education and other professional development activities.

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Properly applying psychological and organizational assessment techniques, tests, or instruments. We use only those for which we are qualified or certified.

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☞  In Regard to Our Other Partners’ — Including Funders — Competence, Our Partners’Commitments Need to Include:

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Maintaining high standards for screening and recommending an SEL coach for you, their Principal, to ensure your school-wide SEL-based performance improvement change effort succeeds.

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Selecting a coach for you, with your input, based on the coach’s competence, availability, and fit with your and your school’s particular needs.

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Monitoring — with you — the effectiveness of me, Dr. J, your Coach, and to provide consistent feedback to you and me.

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Evaluate the competency of me, your Coach,and the results achieved to determine my potential for future use in your organization.

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IntegrityII. Coaching Integrity — Before, During, and After Coaching

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Upon beginning executive coaching, the Principal is placing significant trust in the Coach and in their school.

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He or she is allowing him- or herself to be vulnerable and open to others and especially, in this case, to a “new” person, that is, to their Coach.

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To ensure that you, the Principal, remain receptive to feedback, new ideas, and learning, it is imperative that your school, your Coach, and the other coaching stakeholders establish and maintain a psychologically safe and respectful environment.

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The relationship between you, the Principal, and your Coach is sensitive and often private.

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To maintain this relationship, all stakeholders must be clear in their presentation of issues, organizational information, coaching goals, coaching activities, and ground rules for confidentiality.

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All partners must adhere to clearly articulated guidelines and rules of engagement.

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Breaches of trust or actions that run counter to agreements and guidelines are extremely serious, especially if you, the Principal, were to suffer negative consequences, such as a loss of reputation, income, or relationships.

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All parties must therefore function at the highest levels of integrity and candor when involved in coaching (and consulting) activities.

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☞  In Regard to Principal’s Commitments to Integrity, as “Coachee,” these Commitments Need to Include”

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Trusting your coach and the coaching process once you are assured of appropriate safeguards. Remain open, willing to learn, and appropriately vulnerable.

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Taking an active role in establishing appropriate guidelines for your coaching.

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Adhering to agreements of confidentiality, anonymity, and information-sharing, not only about yourself, but also about everyone involved.

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Working within the coaching contract and its learning goals, unless all parties revise these goals. (For example, do not treat a developmental SEL coaching contract as a job-search opportunity.)

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Remaining honest and candid with your Coach about yourself and your situation.

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Following up on your commitments.

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Providing your Coach and your school with forthright and constructive performance-improvement feedback.

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☞  In Regard to Couching Integrity, Our Logo-BCS Coaching Commitments Include:

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Development of and adherence to a set of agreed-upon professional guidelines, especially in the areas of confidentiality, conflict of interest, and expertise.

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Abiding by your organization’s values, ethical practices, confidentiality and proprietary agreements, business practices, and Human Resource policies.

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Honoring the relationships established with both you, the Principal, and your organization, seeking resolution when conflicts arise.

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Helping your organization to develop guidelines on how its managers and employees will apply the new learning in their jobs.

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Following a clear learning contract with your school. Strictly applying existing standards for dealing with personal data.

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Discussing with you, the Principal, any organizational requests for information about you and your coaching, including status updates, feedback data, and input for reviews.

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Act in your, the Principal’s, best interests and well-being.

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☞  In Regard to Our Other Partners’ — Including Funders — Integrity, Our Partners’ Commitments Need to Include:

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Utilizing coaching guidelines, standards, and business practices that meet the needs of all parties.

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Presenting their perspectives on the need for coaching in a realistic and forthright manner to all parties; this will include your, their Principal’s, situation, the organizational context, performance goals and concerns, and organizational goals.

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Informing all parties if the goals or information provided change significantly during the course of the coaching.

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Establishing and adhering to standards for the learning contract, including purpose and objectives, timelines, scope and types of assessment, measures of success, identification and roles of stakeholders, confidentiality agreements, use of personal and coaching information, and distribution of information.

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Establishing a problem-resolution process for coaching issues, especially ethical practices.

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Providing both Principal and Coach with ongoing feedback and support.

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Functioning within the learning and business agreements. This includes avoiding putting the Coach or Principal in difficult positions by requesting inappropriate feedback or personal data, input for use in performance reviews, or for promotion discussions.

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GoodJudgementBIII. Coaching Judgment

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Executive coaching is a balance of science, art, and expert improvisation.

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No matter how many guidelines are developed and followed, successful coaching requires that you and your coach continually step back, evaluate the situation, weigh the options, and apply good judgment for well-balanced decisions.

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A principal’s influence is determined not only by her (or his) attributes and skills, but also by how others perceive her, plus her match to the needs, circumstances, and culture of the organization.

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All coaching partners offer different perspectives.  These perspectives, when combined with good judgment, provide you, the Principal, with a dynamic learning experience.

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There is no single or clearly “best” recipe for your having the “perfect” coaching experience.

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Along the way, unpredictable challenges, conflicts, and opportunities will predictably arise.

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Whether these situations help or hinder your, the Principal’s, development depends upon the judgment that the Coach, you, and other school change stakeholders’ exercise in your ever-changing work environment.

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☞  In Regard to Judgement, Your (as Principal) Coaching Commitments Must Include:

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Maintaining an open mind with willingness to change it.

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Focusing on the greater good.

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Weighing all perspectives.

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Asking for help.

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Remaining flexible.

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Trying new approaches.

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Accepting credit and blame when they are yours.  Admitting to your strengths and weaknesses, so you can deal with them effectively.

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Making decisions by balancing hard data with intuition.

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Remaining honest and direct.

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Taking reasonable risks.

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☞  In Regard to Judgement, our Logo-BCS Coaching Commitments Include:

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Always maintaining a high level of professionalism.

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Not mixing personal and professional relationships that could bias our judgment in a coaching situation.

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Avoiding any activities that could result in a conflict of interest.

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Building and maintaining a communication network with all coaching partners.

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Listening attentively, with an open mind.

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Remaining honest and direct about my intentions and points of view.

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Preventing misunderstandings by explaining my, Dr. J’s, activities beforehand whenever they could be misunderstood.

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Doing nothing that could be misinterpreted as an impropriety within the standards of your organization.

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Tailoring my approach to the priorities and preferences of you, the Principal, and the coaching partnership.

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Bringing the members of the partnership together to facilitate decision-making.

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Hearing all relevant perspectives and mediating conflicts.

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☞  In Regard to Judgement, Our Other Partners’ Commitments (Including Funders) Need to Include:

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Focusing on the development and success of you, the Principal, and the school.

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Remaining honest and direct about their goals and perspectives concerning both the school and you, the principal.

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Considering all available information before making a judgment.

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Remaining open-minded.

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Remaining flexible.

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Supporting you, the Principal, and your Coach in following through with the judgments they make about the coaching.

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Remaining balanced in their judgments regarding the coaching: short vs. long term, work vs. personal life, data vs. intuition, and individual vs. organizational good.

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GoodnessOfFitIV. Goodness of Fit

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☞  This requires clear planning conversations between you, our other partners (stakeholders), and your Logo-BCScoach.

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In each case, the above tasks and skills sets are utilized in alignment with up to six phases of the coaching process:

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1) Building a Strong Coaching Relationship

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2) Contracting

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3) Assessment

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4) Development Planning

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5) Facilitating Development and Change

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6) Ending Formal Coaching & Transitioning to Long-term Development

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>> Contact us for more information or to get started.

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> > Return to our SEL Coaching and Consultation web page.

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