I’ve always been fascinated by what coaches do and why they do it. In fact, I spent three years studying multiple literacy coaches in multiple districts as part of my dissertation.

And you know what I found out?

Literacy coaches do A LOT of things….but they sometimes don’t realize the reality of their coaching activities until they are spelled out in a tangible way, preferably on paper and with colorful markers. =)

I love making things tangible: printed schedules, sticky note reminders, habit trackers and more, especially when I’m trying to cultivate a professional life I love. But I’ve recently created a new tool that I like even better.

Meet the coaching wheel.

The coaching what?! The coaching wheel.

Many of us use habit trackers to track our daily habits and activities and reflect on how well we’re doing in consistently bringing them into over lives. And many coaches use habit trackers to make sure they are engaging in the kinds of coaching activities they know will lead to teacher and student success.

But they are incredibly misleading.

On any given day, I could fill in the spaces on my habit tracker for professional learning, virtual coaching, meetings and more. But that tracker does help me see the balance (or lack of!) across those activities. The same habit tracker would look the same even if I facilitated only one professional development session and coaching cycle, but sat through four long meetings.

If we want a tool to REALLY look at how we spend our days, we need a frequency tracker and my favorite frequency tracker is a colorful frequency wheel I found from Happiness is Homemade.

On it, you list the coaching activities you find yourself engaging in and EVERY TIME you engage in each, you shade a square. This way, you can see which coaching activities are prioritized over others, whether you consciously know it or not. Here's an example:

The results can be pretty striking.

Now, I don’t recommend that you track your coaching activities every single day of the school year like this, but I do recommend doing so once a quarter. Choose a typical week and track each and every activity that fills your days on the tracker and see what you learn about your coaching. Use it to set goals for the next quarter and even share it with administrators to help make decisions about your position, too.

I’d love for you to try this and recommend you use the wheel I’ve showcased above. It’s bright and colorful and will introduce you to an amazing blog that’s bringing me lots of joy, too!

As always, I’d love to know if you give this a try. Share your experience with me in the comments below or find me on social media at @AffinitoLit. Start tracking!

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