Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Thinking about the Partnership Principles

I spent today at an advanced coaching workshop, and much of the conversation centered on the work of Jim Knight. If you haven't visited his website at Instructional Coach, then I highly recommend allotting a fair amount of time to exploring the resources at this website, as well as purchasing a book or two that he's written about instructional coaching.

I had many take-aways from the day--I am still processing, reflecting, and percolating, but I have to say right now, the six Principles of Partnership are getting the most thought in my post-workshop brain. In a jigsaw activity, I created a visual for equality, and I love the ideas behind the quote from Peter Bloch:

Sometimes, inherent in coaching is the concept that the coach has more power  than the coachee, and maybe the coach does have more knowledge and experience. But, what if the balance scale was even in terms of rights, responsibilities, opinions, ideas, and voice? Maybe in some coaching experiences the balance scale is even, but if it isn't, then are we all missing learning opportunities?

The other principles include voice, choice, reflection, dialogue, and praxis.  I will save my thoughts about these other five for a later post, but for now, I am grappling with some questions:

  • Do I see the people I work with as equals? I'd like to believe I do, in which case:
  • Do they see themselves as my equals, and do they feel valued and respected?
  • Do I communicate in my comments, actions, or behaviors anything to the contrary? 
In my work as an instructional coach and curriculum coordinator, I work with many people across many domains. People remember more about how we make them feel than exact words we say. I know that I will be striving to answer these questions honestly and reflectively yes, yes, and no.

Thank you to the leaders at #educoach for hosting the October blogging challenge.



  1. Great post Melanie. I too find Jim Knight's Partnership Principles compelling. A colleague in another school who leads a team of coaches once told me that his coaches "live or die by the partnership principles". You've presented some great provocations on what is surely one of the most fundamentally important principles in terms of its impact on the coach-coachee relationship - equality. I've found this one tricky to reconcile, especially when your title or position in the school implies a hierarchy - perceived or actual. I'm looking forward to your future posts. Thanks, Chris

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