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The Road to The #CoachApproach

In my last post I shared my writing journey. The road was been full of twists and turns, discovery and growth. I have had the opportunity to meet many authors along the way that have inspired me, in person and/or through their printed words. I have had mentors who saw things in me that I didn’t see myself. They were the ones that lit my path. They encouraged me, cheered me on, and never left me fall too far off the road. And I’ve had a constant writing companions – two of which I have now co-written a book with (Jessica Johnson and Shira Leibowitz) and one with four legs, a tail, and an annoying bark if I ignore him too long. I actually think he believes his purpose is to get me up and moving often!

I have been writing this book with Jessica and Shira for 5 years. Our ideas formed as we each grappled with our own journeys as school leaders. For me, I was serving as an instructional coach – but wanting more. I had earned my PK-12 administrative endorsement and was actively seeking an elementary principal position. I knew there must be a way to combine what I loved (coaching) with the position I desired.  Jessica has shared her journey here. Together we developed the “coaching hat” concept in which principals, even though they already wear many hats, could use instructional coaching techniques to lead teachers to higher levels of effectiveness.  Not finding the right match in a position was actually a blessing in disguise. My journey has led me to providing support for hundreds of teacher leaders and coaching administrators along the way. I love what I do. My goal is for you to SHINE!

Our writing journey takes a unique twist.  Jessica lives in Wisconsin. Shira lives in New York. And I live in Iowa. We wrote our book solely through the use of technology – never working on the book face-to-face in the physical sense. Our primary tools were Google Docs, email, and virtual spaces like Google+ Hangouts. (Thank you, Google) We outlined our work and each developed our own writing schedules. We later learned that we of had our own four-footed writing buddies at our sides. Jessica and I met 4 years ago and an ASCD Conference and attended a session about how to write for ASCD. We laugh because we really must have followed their guidance completely! On Friday, March 24, 2017 the three of us finally met face-to-face for the first time at a Starbucks in Anaheim, CA!

We were thrilled to be able to present our topic to a packed crowd at the ASCD Empower 17 Conference. Being first time presenters, we really didn’t know what to expect. As our room filled to the brim, we were in awe. Participants included principals, coaches, and other school leaders. We saw familiar faces (from our #educoach chat, our Twitter PLN and for me several work colleagues) and loved meeting many new dedicated educators. They were eager to learn new ideas to empower and inspire teachers. You can find our presentation materials here.

Jessica, Shira and I had many highlights while at ASCD Empower 17  – 5 years in the making.

Meeting face-to-face for the very first time – AFTER the completion of our book, The Coach Approach to School Leadership: Leading Teachers to Higher Levels of Effectiveness

Receiving our very own COACHING HATS at the ASCD Authors & Consultant Appreciation Dinner. This was suppose to be our FIRST meeting, but Jessica’s flight was delayed. This was our attempt to include Jessica in the picture.

Seeing our pictures up on the big screen at the ASCD Author & Consultant Appreciation Dinner. I attend the dinner last year as a newly signed author, but this year it was a treat to have our pictures and book cover included with authors we have admired and learned from for years! I did notice that only newer  authors seemed to take pictures of their personal slide. I hope I never lose that feeling of excitement!

Having dinner with our acquisition editor, Susan Hall. Everyone at ASCD has been so helpful throughout this process. We were kept well informed of each stage! We look forward to meeting others who have played a role in this journey in the future.

Learning the story behind our hat development and meeting Thomas Lytle, the graphic designer who created our book cover. We heard our hat went through many prototypes in various colors! We absolutely love the final product and honored that ASCD had one made for each of us!

Getting our pictures taken for the cover of the EL Journal (along with thousands of others) in the faux cover booth! But it looks so real, doesn’t it!

Presenting our #CoachApproach topic, 5 years in the making, was the icing on the cake! Thanks to all that came to our little party!

Our journey does not stop here. We look forward to the publication of our book in May. We are starting to get requests to write guest blog posts, be guests on Podcasts and featured on Twitter Chats. We love anything social media! We totally understand the power in being connected educators!

The book is available for pre-sale at ASCD Store and on Amazon. We understand the book will also be available as an e-book edition in MOBI format (Kindle) and EPUB, as well as PDF. We are finalizing a study guide that will be added to the ASCD website. We look forward to connecting with readers. Feel free to follow us on Twitter (Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, Kathy Perret) and join the conversation on the #coachapproach hashtag. (note that others also use the hashtag for other work – be we will continue with the hashtag since it is mentioned in the book) We have been tweeting key quotes from the book and you can find all quotes on my Coach Approach page. Feel free to share the quotes!

In reflecting on my writing journey the past few days I made an interesting connection. We have been writing The Coach Approach for School Leadership for 5 years. I also acquired my four-legged companion 5 years ago. A coincidence? I don’t think so. I have alway said we rescued each other. Without knowing it, my sweet Schoodle, Boji, guided me to be a writer! As I write he looks on with an encouraging glance (like he is right now). Other times he leaves the room to give me space. And there is always the bark to nudge me so I don’t spend my days pecking at a keyboard (or to get a treat). I’m a proud Rescued Human! Thank you, Boji! Perhaps I will inspire him to get back to writing on his blog! It has been a while since he posted.