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Effort & Opportunity - Two Factors to Address

There are two important factors that a coach, teacher, or school leader must always keep in mind when working with others, effort and opportunity. These two factors are typically readily observable to the experienced person in the growth engagement.

In my former life as a teacher and coach, I typically found that students and players wanted to get better at what they were doing. I find this to be true with the teachers and school leaders with whom I work these days as an education consultant. It is my role to help the educators I work with see where their effort can be best expended and where unseen opportunities for growth may exist.

The old “let them figure it out on their own” is devastating. Lack of time, lack of strong growth systems, lack of expertise, and an inability to coach adults are a few reasons why this approach exists in some places. This all too often approach leads to nonsensical pinterest like cures, lots of frustration, induces burnout, limits growth, and worst of all, kills learning for students.

There are actions that are agreed upon and expected in all educational organizations that are consistent with research. School leaders, whether they are working as an instructional coach, building principal, grade level partner or in some other appointed mentoring position have the benefit of coming out on the other side of the learning as it relates to research based actions. Holding back on sensibly leading someone towards growth could be referred to as cruel and did I mention ultimately kills learning?

So, here’s my basic encouragement. Take the time to examine where your people are putting their effort. See if they are wasting their time on actions that have little impact on community building, instruction, and humane management. When you see a dangling opportunity, get them to see it.

Both of these factors can be given the attention due if we choose to do the following:

  • Build growth relationships with our people

  • Create a growth culture

  • Model research based actions

  • Observe them closely

  • Collect data

  • Engage in reflection

  • Be brave enough to conduct a problem solving conference

  • Provide descriptive feedback on the items where growth is apparent

Carry on!


Andy Dousis
Andy Dousis
Nov 02, 2020

I need it too Peg!


I love this one and the staircase example is perfect for a visual learner like myself, thank you!

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