Before we can coach in the classroom alongside teachers, we must first be invited into it and instructional coaches understand just how difficult this can sometimes be. Teachers must not only feel comfortable with you as a coach, they must feel comfortable with themselves as a teacher to invite reflection and innovation to their instruction. They must feel trusted and supported and understand that coaching is non-evaluative. They must want to invite you into their classrooms, not be forced to, and truly understand the power of working together. Therefore, we must invite teachers into a coaching partnership. 

While these invitations can certainly be extended in person through old-fashioned conversation, digital tools offer new ways to spark teachers interest, pique their curiosity and encourage them to say “yes!” to working with you. So, why not give personalized coaching invitations a try?

Personalized invitations into coaching cycles send the message that you care to go the extra mile and put a bit of thought into your future partnership. Opening a beautiful digital invitation addressed to the whole faculty or customized for each teacher promotes a feeling of professionalism and quite simply, just makes you more tempted to open and read it.

Creating a coaching invitation is easy. You might try some of the popular card-making apps available, such as Evite, Punchbowl, Smilebox or Zazzle. Or, if you prefer to stick with Google, you can create simple, customized invitations using Google Slides. Take a look at some of the basic templates I have created and feel free to save a copy and make them your own. But, if you want an even more designed experience, try Canva! I love searching for content and/or holiday themed invitations and then customizing it with my own content. You can sign up for a free account or if you want all the bells and whistles (and there are many!), you can sign up for a free 30-day trial using my affiliate link here. 

Here's what you'll want to include in your invitation:
  • Teacher's name
  • Date of meeting, if applicable.
  • Content of the coaching cycle
  • Themed-background
  • What to bring, if applicable. 
  • Personalized content just for that teacher (favorite colors, images, etc.)
There's one more important thing I haven't mentioned: DO NOT SEND THE INVITATION AS AN ATTACHMENT. No. Why not? We want teachers to see this personalized graphic created just for them as soon as they open their email. If we require them to click on an attachment...they might not. So, paste the image into your email so it is front and center, like the example email I've shared below:

One last thing: If you want to take it a step further, try video invitations! With so many digital tools available to create videos, with some right on our smartphones, it is easier than ever to create invitational coaching videos. Imagine how intrigued teachers will be if you sent them a personal video invitation for coaching? If you took the time to personally invite teachers in an innovative way, teachers may give you the same time and investment in return.

Inviting someone into your classroom can feel unsettling for many teachers. By going the extra mile and inviting teachers to collaborate with you personally, you are setting a positive tone for learning together. This starts with the invitation, but ends with the ‘Thank You!’. Don’t forget to put as much care and attention into thanking teachers for the privilege to work with them. In your thank you note, make sure to include something positive about the teacher’s instruction, the students’ work or the classroom environment.

You might be surprised at how far a little ‘beautification’ of our coaching can go. Have some fun and play around with the different designs, fonts and features and share your creations below to inspire other coaches!
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