Mentoring prompt cards
When mentoring and coaching I will often ask three specific questions:
The Miracle Question: Imagine being brilliant at this goal; what are you (and your students) doing?
Exceptions finding question: Where are you at the moment on the 0-10 scale? So what are you doing already that’s helping and got you to x on the scale?
Scaling question: What would be your next small step towards your goal? Your next ‘plus one’?
Fairly frequently, when establishing the ‘miracle’ or thinking about what’s working, I use prompt cards to remind me and my colleague of all the possibilities. I place them on the table between us and together we identify, sort and prioritise.
Sometimes face to face conversations may seem rather awkward especially if the relationship is new. So to alleviate this awkwardness we sit alongside each other and use the cards to help us create a good sense of purpose to the conversation. If the conversation seems slightly awkward or your colleagues is feeling maybe anxious, the cards also help to divert the eyes which can be advantageous too.
By simply moving to a side-by-side position, the colleague you are working with will feel better and less awkward.
Instead of having a face to face dialogue, they will be directed instead at what could be referred to as a ‘third point’. The introduction of this visual third point offers a shared focus towards which each of you can direct your focus, thoughts and contributions. The prompt cards help to create a much more object-centred focus as opposed to person-focused too. Comments are now focused on the cards creating a shared language as well as an objective focus to the conversation.
I have used this strategy for many years now and a couple of years ago stumbled across an approach called ‘three point communication’. Whilst the use of the cards isn’t strictly three point communication it certainly follows some of the principles of this approach.
Read about three point communication further here:
The content of these cards has been taken predominantly, although not exclusively, from two sources:
‘Making Every Lesson Count’ by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby
‘Teach like a champion’ by Doug Lemov
Download the cards here:
Let me know how you get on if you decide to use them.
If you would like me to help your school with further developing its coaching or mentoring practices, then please do not hesitate to get in contact. References and testimonials can be made available too.