Cognitive Coaching – Level 2 Reflection



Day 5:

What I learned

I think that overall, I really was able to see the value of paraphrasing, which requires a lot of active listening and paying close attention to context, nonverbal cues, etc. Ultimately, effective paraphrasing seems to be the most effective way to build trust between the coach and coachee. When questions are asked, they should drive the conversation and create a cognitive shift by the coachee. That being said, the actual shift is dictated also by the coachee and their needs. The coach should never direct the coachee to a particular solution, conclusion, or outcome. Also when asking questions, the coach should really listen for the 5 states of mind and try to target the ones that is the lowest and work up to the higher ones as time or opportunity presents itself to do so. During coaching conversations, the coach should also strive to filter out extraneous information and really listen for information that seems to get to the heart of the matter. Lastly, it is important to pay careful attention to the words and phrases being used by the coachee. Many teachers are visual and use visual language and terms, but not all coachees use parallel language, and their cues may be more along the lines of auditory or kinesthetic. The coach needs to strive to mirror this in their paraphrasing and questioning.

How I will use it

I am hoping to work with more of a small group of teachers in the spring to support them in their cooperative learning. Within this context, I believe my initial focus should really be on listening very carefully and trying to really create effective paraphrases that target the state of mind and really capture the heart of the issue to drive the thinking of the coachee.


Day 6:

What I learned

The idea around the BMIRS (nonverbal cues) was again addressed. This really reinforced the need to pay attention to subtle gestures and have situational awareness. We also learned about strategies for effective pacing, specifically centered around the need to honor the existing states, while also understanding the feelings, tensions, values, conflicts, etc. of the coachee. The end goal of pacing was to get to the point of the coachee realizing what they are wanting to make happen as a result of the coaching conversation.

How I will use it

As I work more with teachers and begin to coach them more, I must understand that much of what is communicated is unsaid, meaning the words used don’t tell the full story. I need to devote just as much of the thought and attention other clues and can perhaps learn more from that that from the specific words used. Also, in my questioning, I need to think about asking questions that honor the existing state of the coachee, but also drive their thinking to look at things differently and really push them to think in ways that they may not have done on their own.


Day 7:

What I learned

Today, we learned about the value the coach leading within the coaching conversation, drawing upon the 5 states of mind and focusing on big ideas in order to create a cognitive shift. Within this framework, it is more valuable for the coachee to be asked questions that focus more on values, beliefs, assumptions, and identity as opposed to mere strategy questions. Any question that requires the coachee to engage in flexible thinking is the most likely to create the cognitive shift among the coachee.

How I will use it

In my questioning, I need to think about asking questions that honor the existing state of the coachee, but also drive their thinking to look at things differently and really push them to think in ways that they may not have done on their own. Without this value-added perception by the coachee, the coachee is unlikely to sacrifice their valuable time to seek ongoing coaching conversations with the coachee.


Day 8:

What I learned

Stressed today was the value of mediative questioning, which includes the components of being invitational (approachable voice, plural forms of questioning, tentative language, positive presuppositions, and open-ended questioning), engaging specific cognitive operations, and being intentional. Another powerful point that was made centered around what growth really is, specifically that we remember the things that are undone (push/growth question) and that to get there coaches need to build up layers to the states of mind, then go to the more challenging states of mind that the coachee may be needing support on. An area that I might perhaps struggle, at least initially as a coach, is trying to ensure that the coachee walks out with the sense of closure, comfort, and comprehension. It was stressed that the needs of the coach don’t really matter. If the coachee doesn’t desire a solution or closure, the coach should not push that.


How I will use it

This day was the most valuable of all the 8 days of cognitive coaching. It provided the most tools, but is also made me really appreciate all the layers that exist within the context of being an effective cognitive coach. Above all else, I will use the piece about not seeking closure for my own sake most of all. I need to put that aside and really focus on what the needs are of my coachee. Also, in coaching the coachee, I will need to ask questions in a way that supposes the best in my coachee and tries to empower them, while also pushing their thinking to a place they would not get on their own.



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