Mentor Blog: The Coach’s Coach… the Missing Piece

April 1, 2019 - 4 minutes read

Donette Porter, IU 5 PIIC Mentor, and Suzanne Reed, IU  6 PIIC Mentor

                Years ago, I was working in a district as a high school English teacher. I loved every part of it, even the essays, and I could not imagine doing anything else. Then one day, the assistant superintendent saw me in the hallway and stopped to talk with me. This was not an unusual occurrence, and I didn’t think anything of it, until he said, “We are looking for a literacy coach for next year and think you would be great. Would you consider doing this?” I knew what a literacy coach was, I even had a class about it during my coursework, and we had another person in that role who had decided not to continue. I told him I was interested and needed some time to consider his offer. I had a week to decide.

                Now, you are probably thinking that the next few days were fraught with my decision. Actually, I had made my decision as soon as he offered, and, yes I wanted to be the next literacy coach. What really consumed my next few days were not the “should,” but it was the “how.” While I knew what “it” was, I really didn’t have a clue what one did. I needed help and guidance. I needed someone who could work with me in this capacity—someone who maybe was a coach and knew about coaching. Who could that person be? That person ended up being a PIIC mentor at my IU.

           The PIIC mentor was there to not only answer my questions but to reaffirm the reason why I was chosen for this position.  She helped bring a vision to my coaching duties through the literature on coaching, shared personal experience, and modeling.  The mentor also provided timely coaching topics at our monthly coach network meetings and gave us opportunities to discuss and learn about initiatives and to practice strategies. Most importantly, the mentor helped take the ideals of coaching and put them into play by teaching me what coaching is using the good strong model that is PIIC.

            Now as a mentor, the cycle continues as I work with new coaches and seasoned coaches who have new experiences. This year I began working with a new coach who came in with fire in her heart to begin, but very unsure of how.   After the fact, I realized I completed a BDA cycle with her.  First, I met with her to ask questions, discuss her understanding, and collect some data.  We began to design a plan for what her coaching model would look like.  Then, I helped her implement her plan by providing resources and modeling.  Throughout the process, we used collected data and reflective practices to change what was necessary.  All in all, the mentor coached the coach through that first year of coaching. The process had come full circle.