Being an instructional coach can be hectic. Besides the coaching work, you need to attend faculty meetings and complete the required paperwork. Many coaches have other, nonspecified, duties to take care of. Time management is an important aspect of working as a coach.
You need to make sure that every aspect of your work fits into your coaching schedule. Most instructional coaches need something more advanced than a simple schedule. They need an optimized coaching schedule for the different aspects of their work. It needs to be flexible and available at any time.
An up-to-date schedule will help you as an instructional coach to manage your time most effectively. The easy part of your scheduling process is the meetings and classroom visits. But there are many more factors for you to take into account in your coaching schedule.
Why a Coaching Schedule Is Important
A good coaching schedule is important for instructional leaders and team members. It is the basis for the coaching plan and ensures optimal use of the coaching time. That is important for continued growth across an organization. This is more effective than periodic training or emergency coaching.
A coaching schedule helps supervisors to focus their coaching efforts on the most important skills. It makes sure that they keep a balance between coaching and the opportunities for growth of different team members. Milestones and target dates are only two of the supervisor’s tools to track growth. The real measure is much more personal; it is the actual growth and development of an employee.
Another advantage of a coaching schedule is the improved relationships with individual coaches. It gives them confidence when they approach you with questions or feedback on projects and other challenges.
These schedules also help individual coaches to meet their personal goals. It encourages them to be a motivating force within the team. It creates an enthusiastic and pleasant work environment for everyone.
Create an Effective Coaching schedule
You have seen the benefits of having a good coaching schedule. How, then, do you make an effective coaching program? Here are the main steps.
Determine the Goals
A goal does not only define the endpoint. It is most important that it defines the parameters of success and the expectations. It tells you what you want to accomplish and how you want to achieve it. It may include personal responsibilities and work duties, as defined in job descriptions.
The goals are sometimes defined for a team or an organization, but it is important that individuals do this as well. That helps them to set and achieve long-term goals. It makes clear what the motivations are and why the goal is important. That makes skill evaluation easier and more insightful.
Write It Down
This step sounds obvious but it is often forgotten. It is the first step in creating a calendar for your instructional coaches. Make a list every week of all the meetings and other appointments for the following week.
You can think of making this schedule like a jigsaw puzzle. You look for the edge pieces first because they are easy to recognize and they define the workspace. Making a schedule with the weekly tasks defines the work parameters of each instructional coach.
A popular method is the “Getting Things Done” approach. Millions use it to free up their mind’s resources by writing down upcoming tasks and important ideas.
If you use this approach, you will not forget a task or idea. You can make a note as soon as you think of them. When it is recorded, you can determine what priority it takes. With that information, you can assign it to the right place in your coaching calendar.
Develop Your Training Materials
After designing your instructional material you can continue to develop it.
You may have used different tools in creating the instructional coaching material. These are some of the tools that many use in their teaching:
- Spreadsheet and text processors, for example as part of Microsoft Office. Many use it to prepare handouts for students or notes and session outlines for coaches
- Hands-on materials for training and role-playing
- PowerPoint presentation templates as material during instructional sessions. Do not make slide after slide with only bullet points
- Graphics in the form of posters, flip charts, and so on. They serve as visual guides for the instructional coach and employees
- E-learning authoring tools. These include Adobe Captivate and Articulate Studio. These are aids in preparing e-learning modules
Create Time Blocks for Different Activities
The use of a block schedule is another excellent way of gaining control over your schedule. It is most useful if you have the tendency to constantly switch between tasks or you are prone to distractions.
This method prescribes that you set up your schedule in advance and that you block off sections for one activity only. This might at first seem restrictive, but it forces you to focus your attention on one thing and frees your mind to concentrate. After you finish one task, you can move on to the next with a feeling of satisfaction.
This approach increases your focus, makes you a more productive instructional coach, and reduces the time you need to finish a task.
It is important to consider your instructional coaches’ skillsets when you assemble a coaching plan. It is convenient to list the duties and responsibilities of each employee. It will highlight their existing competencies and reveal the skills that require development. Discuss this evaluation with them because it shows that you care about their talents. It also encourages them to work on their skills and abilities to improve their performance.
Correcting shortcomings in your team’s performance is not the only purpose of coaching. Employees should not get the impression that they receive coaching only when they are doing something wrong and that it is disciplinary.
Focus on people’s strengths during coaching meetings. This promotes good behavior and is a starting point for developing new skills.
So, while you work on reinforcing positive behavior you encourage people to work in an area they enjoy, which makes them enthusiastic. You will find that people are more motivated and enjoy their jobs.
Detect Your Energy Cycles and Use Them
Be ready to focus on the task of creating a coaching calendar because you will need to tackle different challenges. Commence work on it at a time when you feel energized, for example, in the morning. That will help you get the various tasks done fast.
If you are an instructional coach, you will have to adjust your schedule so that you are ready to tackle tasks whenever necessary.
Think about when you are most focused and energetic. Use these peaks in your energy cycle to handle more complex tasks. You can use these moments, for example, to handle the more difficult group coaching meetings.
Tackle easy jobs during the times you feel less focused. For example, replying to emails usually t demands less concentration.
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Short-Term vs Long-Term Goals
Using the outlined steps, coaches can remove obstacles to effective work practices, which promotes harmony and helps to set goals and milestones. Look for the areas in which your employees can progress. Set short-term and long-term goals that help them to achieve better performances.
Consider the case of an employee who needs to improve public speaking. An end goal could be to present a product demonstration session at a conference. Together you can determine the short-term goals that will lead to the goal. The employee could present monthly internal meetings and gather feedback from others. Also, you can have one-on-one coaching conversations each week.
Write down this action plan and the associated milestones.
Plan Coaching Sessions
If your program is ready and you have found people to take the lead in the coaching meetings, you can begin scheduling. The coaching program is in addition to the regular coaching calendar. This kind of coaching takes the form of one-on-one sessions.
Each employee has different needs. The coaching program should be available to anyone that wants it. Make sure that it is accessible. Scheduling is more flexible when you make use of virtual coaching.
Schedule in White Space
The ability to keep a balance between reactive tasks and interacting with clients makes someone a successful coach. It will put people in a position to contribute to a business’ growth. One way to achieve this balance is the whitespace approach.
You can add empty blocks to your weekly coaching calendar. You can reserve them for special creative tasks. You know that these long-term-oriented tasks are important. In this way, you ensure that you pay attention to these aspects of your job description too. Thus avoid being too absorbed in your day-to-day routine.
Evaluate Results and Adjust
You ask your employees to improve and you should do the same. Keep measuring your performance and adjust wherever is necessary. You evaluate your employees and you will see a difference between the ones who received training and the ones who did not. Likewise, ask for subjective feedback from those that were part of the training program and ask for suggestions. This will help you to refine your approach and skills.
Final Words on Making an Effective Coaching Schedule
The goal of a coaching schedule is to develop the skills of a company’s workers. It guides them in the right direction and helps them to achieve their goals faster and more easily.
You need to keep your coaching plan’s goals clear in mind when you make the schedule. You need to schedule the time of the instructional coaches and for yourself. Having white spaces in your schedule does not mean that you need to fill these as well.
It can be a challenge to find the right approach to creating a coaching calendar. Yet, it is worth the effort. Busy coaches need to get the most out of their valuable time.
There are many ways to create or adjust a coaching schedule. Use the steps outlined in this post as a guide to implementing advancements, and notice the improvement in your time management efficiency.
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