The Coaching Letter is written by Center staff member Isobel Stevenson, who has extensive experience as both a leader and a coach. The Coaching Letter’s perspective is that leaders could be a bit more successful if they thought and acted more like coaches, and coaches could be a bit more successful if they thought and acted more like leaders. Isobel draws on research and theory in organizational development, cognitive psychology, and behavioral economics, as well as her own experience, to suggest to leaders and coaches ways to think about their work that push them a little bit beyond their current mental models. The Coaching Letter is rich, thoughtful, personal, and funny.
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Despite the fact that I have a book manuscript due on June 1, and a module for the Center’s re-opening school workshop to design, and other district projects I’m working on, I have found myself having to fight the urge to work on an article for the Kappan’s April 2021 issue: “Research, meet practice.” This Coaching Letter is me trying to figure out what I have to say about that.
First of all, I have written on […]
Friends, I hope this finds you well. I can’t believe it’s so long since I wrote a Coaching Letter, and I can’t believe that when schools closed several weeks ago I thought I was going to have more time to read books. I bought a pile of them from bookshop.org. A book purchase is never a waste, I always say, but still, I just feel silly that I thought I was going to have two weeks of […]
Friends, I hope this finds you well. I know there are people reading this who have been ill with covid-19, and others who know someone who has died. I am very sorry. I know also that people in education have plenty offers of help and resources coming at them, so I don’t want to add anything that I don’t know to be absolutely on point. I will tell you that at the Center we are working very hard […]
Hi, I hope you’re well. My dad reminded me that today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 accident that nearly resulted in the loss of the spacecraft on its way to the moon. The book Lost Moon (Lovell and Kluger, 1994) and the movie based on the book, Apollo 13, are favorites of mine. I think we can learn a lot from the incident about leadership, and about systems, which are all that’s in the news at the moment.
The fault in the fuel […]
Friends, now that we are a couple of weeks into what I think of as the Great Experiment in Distance Learning, all these thoughts keep crossing my mind about various theories and research that I use all the time for myriad purposes have taken on a whole new significance. This Coaching Letter is about one of those big ideas—sense-making—and I plan to write about others in future CLs.
It seems like every article I read about the C-19 crisis […]
Hello, I hope you are well. We at the Center are working hard to be helpful in these difficult times. You should have received a set of resources from us on Thursday, plus a survey so that we have a better idea of what you need. Everyone on staff would be more than happy to help you if you need a thought partner—here is our staff list. You can email our people directly from that […]
This Coaching Letter is about many things, including but not limited to: leadership, decision-making, tacit knowledge, expertise, experience, and trust.
I once heard Meg Wheatley give a keynote speech at a conference in Colorado. I don’t know exactly when it was, but it was probably around 15 years ago, after the birth of Google and Wikipedia, but still a lot harder to find information on the internet than it is now. (It was probably soon after the publication […]
Hello, I hope you’re well. At least two of the events that I was going to attend in the next few days have been canceled because of concerns about covid-19, so I have had a little more time to read and think than I was expecting. One of these events was the gathering this evening to talk about our Reading for Leading book, How To Be An Anti-Racist, which was disappointing but prudent.
I am working on a book […]
This Coaching Letter is about plans, but also about how they connect to small cycles of continuous improvement, as everything seems to do lately. My friend and colleague Bob Villanova suggested that I read 9 Lies About Work, by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. I think I’ll be talking and writing about it a lot, as it addresses many of the lies (‘We could call these things “misconceptions,” or “myths,” or even “misunderstandings,” but because they are pushed […]
On Wednesday and Thursday of last week I was at Coaching for Equity training by the New York City Leadership Academy. Personally, it was a very strange experience. My close colleague Kerry and I run Coaching for Equity training, so it was very hard to sit there and participate in someone else’s workshop, and not be the person making the presentation, modeling the coaching, answering the questions. I completely get that a really mature person would be able to […]