Today I finished up a 2-year training seminar consisting of 8 full days with the directors of the Center for Cognitive Coaching, Jane Ellison and Carolee Hayes. It was an intense learning process, one where you go home with your head hurting a bit at the end of the day. The purpose of Cognitive Coaching is to have conversations with other people that mediate their thinking and push them toward new thinking.
This training was provided by the Michigan Department of Ed as part of their Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators Initiative in coordination with Measured Progress. As a trained coach, along with seven others from my district, the goal is to be able to coach our teaching colleagues to be more reflective, efficient practitioners and problem-solvers.
Having been cognitively coached myself several times, I never fail to be amazed at the power of these techniques. You feel as though the coach has just solved your problem when in reality they guided your thinking through paraphrasing your own words, asking questions carefully crafted to probe your states of mind, and watching carefully for the physical manifestations (facial expressions, body language, breathing, voice tone and volume, etc) of cognitive shift.
Cognitive shift is what most people refer to as an “Ah-ha” or “lightbulb moment.” We all have those from time-to-time, but with a trained cognitive coach you can reach those moments more quickly and less painfully!