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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Good evening, I hope you’re doing well. The Super Bowl is on. This year, like so many others, I ordered wings for the boys and put on the game. But for various reasons, I’m the only one in front of the TV right now, and without anyone to explain to me what’s going on, I am completely clueless. I feel like there’s a lesson in there somewhere…
I talk and write all the time about strategy, and this […]
This week must win some prize for weirdest weather ever. Beginning of the week my driveway was Greenland ice sheet, and today it was positively tropical outside—60 degrees warmer, windy, and bucketing down with rain. Driving to Boston this morning was NO FUN. But I’m glad I did it—I’m writing this at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation Convening for the recipients of grants from Nellie Mae to work on root causes of educational inequity. I’m here because the […]
Good evening. I hope that the weather isn’t going to be too disruptive to your plans over the next few days. I’m kind of hoping we get trapped in the house for a couple of days, to be honest. I could use the time.
A lot’s been going on recently. I wrote the Letter on how we think about bureaucracy and good government before the government shut down—I had no idea that was going to happen—so there has […]
Hello, I hope this finds you well. I have had the privilege of having some very challenging conversations recently, employing the adjective “challenging” in several ways. Some have been cognitively challenging, some emotionally taxing, and some have involved difficult topics. Here I just want to register that we (at the Center) have lots of experience that suggests that people avoid these conversations (we even wrote an article about it), so I am always impressed and heartened when […]
Happy New Year!
As I wrote in CL #20, this time last year, I am not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. I know there are studies that show the percentages of people who give up on their resolutions by mid-February. I should probably go track down a couple for maximum intellectual integrity, but I just can’t be bothered. I know from my own experience that the gym is always busiest the first few weeks of the […]
Hi, I hope you’re well. My dad was supposed to get here yesterday, but he missed his connection because his flight was late leaving Edinburgh, so he is stuck in Dublin for the weekend. Aer Lingus doesn’t fly to Hartford every day. So I find myself with a little more time on my hands this weekend than I was expecting. I could clean the house, wrap gifts, bake brownies, mull wine—but naaah. I would much rather be reading […]
Good evening! I think a lot about what to write in these Coaching Letters, and I sometimes have whole sequences laid out. You will not be surprised to know that these plans infrequently come to fruition. This has been an intense week and I’m just on day four. And it has been a great week, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in five districts (and another one tomorrow), several schools, and had several pretty deep conversations with people […]
Good evening, I hope you’re well.
I got some feedback that Coaching Letter #60 before Thanksgiving was a little “preachy”, so this is my attempt to make the same message more palatable. Try reading this Harvard Business Review article by Mark Bonchek (and if you like it, you can click on his name to find other articles by him–he’s good.) In this article, he talks about the gaps that can open up between strategy and execution–he describes […]
Good afternoon! I’ve had a busy week and I’m a little sick, so this letter is a little punchier than usual.
I have been reading Made to Stick, which is the first of the uber-successful books by the Heath Brothers. (The Heath Brothers are just too good to be true—I can’t stand them. But they write very useful books, especially Switch, and they have great resources on their website if you register to receive their newsletter. Check out, […]
Hi, I hope you’re doing well. Things are pretty quiet around here, so I’m just sitting around, reading Dostoyevsky, getting my nails done. You know, same-ol’-same-ol’.
The Times had a piece on gratitude on Sunday, and I wrote a post on Thanksgiving last year (CL #14) that was probably the most popular thing I’ve ever written, judging by the responses I received. I think it becomes ever more important to bring to mind the things that we […]