Hello, I hope this finds you well. This coaching letter is mostly updates—and of course some links to resources I hope you’ll find interesting. First, welcome to those of you who are receiving this Coaching Letter for the first time—big group of you this month because I add the attendees at most of our institutes.
Second, lots of thank yous. Thanks to those who continue to respond to the recent CLs about small cycles of continuous improvement—still more to say about that, obviously. Thanks to those who have participated in some way with the latest Reading for Leading book club selection, How to Be An Anti-Racist. (Here’s the CL that was the lead-up to the launch. Here’s the link again to the group on Goodreads.) And thanks to the people I work with at the Center and in our partner districts for giving me a lot to think about lately (you know who you are).
Third, an invitation. The Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity and The Connecticut Center for School Change are co-hosting a gathering for our friends who have been reading How to Be An Anti-Racist at The Lyceum in Hartford on the evening of March 11, 2020. There will be a link to register online shortly, but in the meantime, please save the date!
Next, Kerry and I are planning for our spring coaching workshops, of which there is quite a large number—more demand than before, which is great. Our Coaching for Equity workshop at Mercy is already full, so we have to figure out whether we try to add another one this spring or wait until fall—if you have questions or suggestions related to that, I would be grateful if you would email me. Our other open-registration workshop is called Coaching In-Depth—Click here for the flyer! Register here!—which is intended for educators who have some training and practice in coaching, even if they don’t have coach in their job title, so please join us if you think you would benefit from some reflection on your practice.
Part of the challenge of planning for these workshops is figuring out what to ask participants to read/watch/listen to in advance—because we can’t pack everything we need to into just one day. This is a time-consuming task, but an enjoyable by-product is that I experience again videos and podcasts that I like a lot and think are useful for leaders and coaches. Anyway, I can’t include them all so here are some of the ones that I’m leaving out, but that are worth your time, nonetheless.
Tony Robbins’ TED Talk. I am not a huge Tony Robbins fan, for reasons that I’m not going to bother with here. But the message in this video is sound, and the exchange with Al Gore is priceless.
Atul Gawande’s TED Talk. What I love about this is the characterization of coaching as something that professionals do—because professionals are great at what they do but because they are professionals they are always on a quest to be truly excellent. Anyone who thinks that coaching is just for weak performers should watch this.
An Experiment in Gratitude. This one is a triple threat—good for you, your coworkers, and your organization. It will make you cry, though, just so you know.
It’s Your Problem Now, Episode 318 of the Freakonomics Podcast. This is about life as a CEO. There’s a phrase one of my favorite principals uses—it’s not your fault but it is your problem—which totally sums up leadership for me: you may not have leader in your job title, but if you’re willing to take responsibility for something and work with others to change it, you’re a leader. You should follow this up with Episode 319, which is specifically about women in leadership.
I’m curious whether you’ve got any suggestions for other share-worthy resources for coaches and leaders of all stripes? Or whether you have any feedback on the Coaching Letter more generally? And as always, if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best, Isobel
Isobel Stevenson, PhD PCC
Connecticut Center for School Change
151 New Park Ave
Hartford, CT 06106
Coaching Letter: StevensonCoachingLetter.org