Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Evocative Coaching

"When we 'provoke' someone, we do something to them in ways that provoke a reaction. To 'evoke' means that we do something with someone that unleashes or calls forth their full potential."

I have spent the last five or six years learning about how human beings learn, grow, and develop within a social context, within relationships, between-you-and-me. Most of my time has been spent on the parent/child relationship. Our family uses an intervention called Relationship Development Intervention(r), which uses a term borrowed from Barbara Rogoff, called "guided participation". We are applying a typical course of development, via the parent/child relationship, to the developmental delays and what RDI(r) calls the "core deficits" of autism.

We've learned to use ourselves in ways that allow our daughter to grow, to change, to make her own discoveries about relationships, about people, about herself.

Evocative Coaching is a really interesting, insightful read for me. It is, in my opinion, "guided participation" applied to the relationship where one teacher coaches another in a way that the teacher being coached makes discoveries about his/her self, his/her strengths, his/her fears, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, toward making that teacher a better teacher. I see so many similarities between what we work toward with my daughter (w/ autism) and what is taught and described in Evocative Coaching.

"Timothy Gallway's (2008) book The Inner Game of Tennis, first published in 1974, was a call to limit the use of instructions and incentives in coaching because of their oftentimes debilitating impact on the internal dynamics that make for optimum skill development and performance improvement. Ironically, he noted, the more important the stakes of the external requirements and reinforcements, the more instruction distracts people from their own 'natural learning' styles (p.22)."

External requirements and reinforcements distract from natural learning? Who knew? (sarcasm)

p 11: "Such coaching does not try to change teachers and does not try to persuade them to do things the 'right' way; rather, evocative coaching dances with teachers as they consider their options and invites them to become fully engaged in the process of discovering their own unique strategies for doing better." In RDI(r) we're not out to change our kids - we dance with them in a way that allows our kids to make their own discoveries. Here's another book that helps me look at the same concepts through two new sets of eyes.

Wiley's press materials use the word "dance" too: "By taking a teacher-centered, no-fault, strengths-based approach to performance improvement, the Evocative Coaching model generates the motivation and movement that enables teachers and schools to achieve desired outcomes and enhance quality of life. Viewed as a dynamic dance, the model is choreographed in four steps Story, Empathy, Inquiry, Design which are each laid out in its own chapter with powerful illustrative materials and end-of-chapter discussion questions to prompt further reflection."

How do I use myself to teach my children about others and themselves without telling them what to do (which leaves them passive) in a way that allows them to change by being active participants each day? How would I mentor another mom? This book shows us how.

Yes, this book is for adults, teacher-to-teacher, but I am gleaning a lot from it from the perspective of an autism interventionist. I think parents of typically developing teens might find it useful. Any mentor, I suspect, will learn from this book. Chapter one is HERE in its entirety. I think you'll be inspired.

Resources in the form of forms (that's clear, isn't it?) are HERE.

Wiley sent me a free review copy of "Evocative Coaching". I receive no financial compensation for reviews and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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