Before I start this series about eLearning coach qualities, I would like to define the title and role of eLearning coach. An eLearning coach provides professional development for administrators, teachers, students and other school staff. This professional development is where web 2.0 tools, resources, practical content, strategies, and digital citizenship lessons are shared. Teachers and administrators can take this material to design and develop curriculum in which technology is integrated in a safe environment. The role of an eLearning coach is an essential part of successful technology integration in the classroom. The absence of a coach would result in the improper use or no use of technology due to the lack of ongoing training. The training should never end. For example, when an NFL team wins The Super bowl, do they get rid of the coach the following season? I think not. In fact a coach is needed more than ever to keep the momentum rolling. Without the coach the team may become stagnant and complacent believing they cannot improve. That is a setup for defeat.
The first essential quality that I would like to spotlight today is the ability to build relationships with the administration, staff, and students that you work with. It really doesn’t matter what you know or how great you are if people do not like or respect you. So how do you build a good relationship with the people you work with?
Just like winning over the students in your classroom, the staff has to believe you care about them. Respond to emails and requests in a timely manner. Not getting a response can turn people off very quickly. Follow through on what you tell people you will do. People will lose faith in you quickly if you just say what they want to hear and do not carry it out. Be respectful to all staff members, even if you do not like everyone. Don’t pretend to have all of the answers. No one likes a know it all. It is OK not to be an expert in everything. Be a learner along side the people you are coaching. Use tasteful humor. Most people like and need a good laugh during the school day. When differences in opinions arise, work to understand the other person’s perspective. Again, you might just learn something. Sometimes you can just agree to disagree. Communicate well and with respect. Be sincere and passionate about the work that you do.
I believe if you follow those guidelines, great relationships will bloom between you and the folks that you work with. Once a great relationship and rapport is established, there is no limit to what you can do.