Lani Ritter Hall, instructor for the Connected Coaching eCourse

Curious about Connected Coaching?

The new year is almost upon us and there are several fantastic Powerful Learning Practice eCourses begining soon— perfect for those of you gearing up to start 2013 with a bang. Connected Coaching with Lani Ritter Hall will begin in a few weeks. In this interview, Lani explains what Connected Coaching means to her, who should take this course, and what the participants can expect.


1. Who is the ideal learner for this course?

Any educator- teacher, administrator, curriculum or professional developer, face to face instructional coach—who is interested in facilitating change and improving communication through an inquiry, strength-based approach is welcome. While many learners go on to work as connected coaches primarily with adult communities such as Powerful Learning Practice, K12 teachers also find they apply much of what they learn in their classrooms with students. As well, current F2F coaches appreciate the opportunity to explore and learn from the model.

That said, the ideal learner is an educator who has a well-developed online voice, who is comfortable in using a variety of social networking and Web 2.0 technologies, and who holds the belief that every person has the capacity to grow and improve practice.

2. What is connected coaching and why is it important?

Connected Coaching is a coaching model for online spaces in which coaches leverage the affordances of current technologies (image, audio, and video) as they support educators in thinking through the designing, building, and facilitating of technology-rich learning environments to improve student learning. Using a strength-based, appreciative inquiry approach, coaches facilitate a process of learning together in online spaces. A connected coach’s goal is to increase the confidence and self-efficacy of others through an immersion in the type of collaboration characteristic of connected learners.

Although many educators have developed some understanding of the potential for learning in online networks and communities, it is not enough to generate a deep commitment to sharing and collective knowledge building — the kind of growth that results in innovative school improvement. Connected coaches then facilitate the important process of building a bridge from theory to practical application; they assist those they coach in creating connections to content and context and to others with whom they learn at school and online. The coaching process enables a greater potential for growth that can lead to innovation and systemic change.

3. Tell us about one of your favorite learning experiences in the course.

Selecting one is really more than difficult. However, I find the intentional trust building process that immerses learners in the types of activities they might use with others they coach most compelling. As one element of the first five weeks, everyone engages in short activities that employ images, audio, video, and stories to build trust and collegial relationships that nurture a vibrant community of learners during the 11 week formal time for learning together. Learners in every section have commented on the remarkably deep relationships that develop and how they lead to more meaningful learning and long lasting connections.

4. How will this course change the way participants think about coaching?

Based on life experiences, many learners view a coach as someone who comes into their lives to fix some deficit or weakness, who tells them how to get better, or who acts as a mentor giving advice and helping to solve problems. They see a coached experience as one in which the coach is physically present supporting them in real time. Often an instructional coach in a school might arrive for observations with a checklist, and a binder filled with recommendations.

As learners engage in the eCourse process, they uncover a new and unique approach to coaching that rejects a “deficit” perspective and embraces helping others realize their strengths to improve practice through an appreciative inquiry lens. It is about appreciating all that another brings to the table; it is about following the aspirations of those coached and encouraging self-direction rather than providing a map for improvement. Not a prescriptive model, learners will explore how connected coaches engage in wayfinding, a term appropriate to the learning that occurs in connected spaces, and use pathmarkers to guide them in their role as coaches.

Learners will come to understand the expanded potential of coaching in online spaces. Gone is the need to travel to meetings; to obtain building permits; to cart boxes filled with folders of activities, binders filled with observations, plans and reflections. Left behind are coaching relationships nurtured and developed only with those within proximate geographical spaces, only through face to face individual or small group interactions. And enter video, Skype conversations, shared images, collaborative Google Docs, threaded discussions, voices in
Voicethread, AudioBoo, and Vocaroo. The possibilities for coaching in PJs with a favorite beverage of choice from home in Google+ or Blackboard Collaborate are modeled in the interactive webinars as are the opportunities to engage others 24/7 in the asynchronous discussions.

5. What would you tell someone who was interested, but on the fence about signing up?

If you would like to coach for Powerful Learning Practice as a connected coach, this course is for you. We will be hiring additional coaches for upcoming communities.

If you’d like to extend and broaden your knowledge around coaching and examine a new approach for online spaces that can be leveraged for blended experiences, this eCourse facilitates your doing just that.

If you are wondering about the variety of tools that are infused into learning — wiki, Voicethread, Ning, blog, Audioboo, Blackboard Collaborate are some examples. The tools change, the approach to learning does not. If you have significant experience navigating the web and are comfortable creating accounts, uploading images, and using web 2.0 tools, then your tech skills are a good fit for this eCourse.

If you are a self directed learner, wanting to set your own goals and outcomes for your learning, the course expectation that each learner create a learning contract aligns well with your perspective.

If you want to explore deeply communication in online spaces that enables rich learning, you should join us.

Thanks Lani, for taking the time to chat with us!

Connected Coaching eCourse begins on June 10th and space is limited.  Sign up now and reserve your spot.

Become a connected coach. Sign up today!

connected coaching PLP

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