As an Instructional Coach, one of the skills (or practices) I have refined and strengthened over the course of the last 4 years is my sense of reflection and its importance. The benefits include but, are not limited to; growth, confidence, more defined goal setting, an increase in vulnerability, and a stronger sense of team and collaboration.
Reflection is something I know many of us do throughout our day, maybe without even knowing it but, when you have a reflective partner, the quality (or depth) at which you can reflect is very different.
One of the ways an Instructional Coach can support teachers is through being a reflective partner.
If you look up any kind of inquiry cycle, data team process, or decision scale...you will find reflection as part of those processes. Only through reflecting can you gain a true understanding of where you need to go.
Because reflection allows us to see the steps and actions that have gotten us to the present in order to know what must be done (or redone or changed) in order to move us forward.
Having an Instructional Coach as a reflective partner can give teachers new insight, ask themselves different questions, and may allow for teachers to see things in a different way. Through the training received in various types of coaching (especially Cognitive Coaching) we have learned so many different forms of questioning that leads to deeper understanding and deeper reflection.
As a reflective partner your coach can have many roles: Listener, collaborator, co-planner, processing partner, motivator, role player, brainstormer, empathizer, and supporter. What this partnership looks like is based on the goals and/or needs of the teacher. The main goal in a reflective coaching cycle is that the teacher is able to learn, grow, and refine their practice, acknowledge all the aspects of their actions and progress, in order to move forward and be successful in what they have chosen to identify as their goals for themselves and their students.