7 Learning from teacher–mentor relationships
Learning to become a teacher requires a significant amount of school-based practice, supported by an experienced teacher working at the school.
This teacher–mentor relationship is not unlike the role sometimes undertaken by a coach developer. What then can we learn from teacher–mentor relationships?
Activity 6 What do mentors and teachers say about their relationship?
Listen to the audio below and note down the potential characteristics of the teacher–mentor relationship. How applicable is this to the coach–coach developer relationship?
The issue of establishing trust is key. In a school there is an established formal relationship between the experienced practising teacher as a mentor and the student teacher. Perhaps in coaching the difference in experience might not be so obvious and a coach developer will often be visiting the practice environment of the coach rather than the other way around in a school.
The trust that is needed in a new relationship is important when it comes to stretching and challenging a coach. They need to know that they are in safe hands; but what are the elements of establishing trust?
Activity 7 Knight’s components of a trusting coaching relationship
James Knight from the University of Kansas researches professional learning and coaching. Watch this video in which he identifies five components of building trust in the context of distance video-based teaching observations.
Which of these components may be more challenging for coach developers to establish?
Video 3:. Watch the first video on the page, from 00:00–03:23.
Of the five factors Knight describes, three are arguably personality traits which you might need to outwardly demonstrate i.e. character (honesty), warmth and benevolence (helpfulness).
However, reliability and competence are more akin to skills. You need to be organised and efficient to be reliable while your competence as a developer perhaps comes with experience and confidence in your role. However, the very fact that you are studying this course suggests you are active in reinforcing your competence.
Trust is therefore particularly important when it comes to balancing the appropriate challenge and support for those you work with. As you can see establishing trust is not straightforward.