I was just introduced to the Inquiry Coaching Protocol at one of my recent Area Meetings. I was intrigued, but wasn't sure what to make of an approach with the words "inquiry" or "coaching" in it. I've always used the word "coaching" with the students and find myself a coach in the literal term every chance I get - sports-wise. After going through the actual process during this meeting, I was blown away by how powerful this coaching process could or can be with a staff on pretty much any issue.
The roles and steps in the process can be found below, but here are some reflections on my short experience with colleagues during that meeting.
Like most activities, I learn by doing so my first reading of the introduction and overview didn't really capture my interest. Never judge a book by its cover eh?
What turned me around was the presentation of the issue then the rich discussions with colleagues on the specific issue. All of which were on a strict time line, so the tendency to ramble on or go off topic kept us on track. It helped get to the point and come up with some viable solutions that could be used in that particular situation.
While the discussion of the issue was taking place, the presenter of the issue had to sit quietly and just listen. Very hard to do, but necessary during this process. How many times have we sat with a group discussing an issue and tend to talk over each other or refute many of what is said? Nope, that won't work. We tried that already. That's not how it went. Shaking our heads. Not much accomplished in conversations like that.
With the facilitator role being neutral and there to ensure we stayed on time and capture many of the key points that pertain to the original issue, the almost 30 minute exercise was extremely powerful. As discussants, we didn't come up with anything new the presenter hadn't already tried, but there were some twists or possible modifications that could be attempted as new solutions.
The issue was real and the conversations rich. It was succinct and on topic throughout. Short, but really to the point. It seemed a lot was accomplished in a 30 minute activity. Was the issue solved? No, but lots of ideas and possibilities to take away. It was actually a refreshing and meaningful conversation.
I know that I am excited to give this process a go with my staff during our final school planning pro-d, in particular around issues in improving student writing.
I am the Principal at Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Vancouver, BC. I am passionate about inspiring others to be creative, curious and collaborative in their learning