Whether it is in the classroom with a student, or a coach or an administrator working with the educators they serve, we can quickly start off focusing on what they can do to improve as opposed to what we can do to support.
For example, if we are concerned about the performance of the quality of learning that happens in a classroom, we may start a conversation with, “What do you think you could do differently to improve in A, B or C?”
Where we could start is with, “I want to support you to bring out your potential and develop your strengths. What are some things you see that I could do to support that?”
What does this do in the conversation?
First of all, it takes off the pressure of the person in front of you, and it focuses on you both working as a team to get better, as opposed to the onus is all on them. It also makes you aware of things that you can do to improve and support someone, which models your willingness to grow.
This is not to say there should be zero responsibility on the person you are working with, and that this process will work every time. It is about considering starting the conversation in a different place. If you start by supporting, the question, “What do you think you could do differently to improve in A, B or C?”, can now turn into something different and much more empowering. “I liked your feedback on what I can do to support you. If I do that effectively, what do you think you can do to improve in the following areas?”
We all need to grow.
We all can get better.
In this conversations where we are supporting the growth of our students and/or our colleagues, showing that you are willing to grow along with those you serve shows that this is more of a process than a punishment.
Source: George Couros