What is leadership coaching, and how is it different than mentoring?
Although coaching and mentoring are often used interchangeably, there are distinctions between the two. Coaching involves a more formalized approach to helping leaders maximize their unique leadership potential. The coaching engagement is rooted in specific goals Coachees have identified for themselves. A mentoring relationship tends to have less structure. Usually an experienced leader (mentor) is imparting informal advice or “how-to” guidance to a less-experienced leader (mentee). Click here to learn more about what coaching is (and what it isn’t).
Who should apply to be a coach?
Proven, seasoned leaders. Principals who are experienced, well-respected and have demonstrated success in multiple leadership settings are ideal candidates for coaches.
Ideal coach candidates:
- Embrace a growth mindset in their own personal development
- Have a desire to help other leaders succeed
- Are willing to become proficient in a variety of virtual tools that are critical for long-distance learning and coaching engagements (e.g., using a virtual classroom space, video-conferencing and online document-sharing platforms)
- Are committed to an equity mindset — ensuring that every single student has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of race or any other identity factors
- Have the capacity to fully commit to the rigor of the program, which includes attending all coach training sessions (virtual and in-person) and holding regular one-on-one sessions with their coachee
Who should apply to be a coachee?
Early or mid-career leaders with at least two years of experience as a principal or vice principal. This program is anchored in the belief that our most talented leaders deserve more relevant on-the-job support and challenging professional growth. Please note that the Leadership Coaching Program is not intended to provide remedial or corrective intervention for principals — the coaching is designed to take emerging leaders to the next level.
Ideal coachee candidates:
- Are open, adaptable and energized through learning experiences
- Embrace “failure” or “weakness” as opportunities to grow and deepen leadership practice
- Are committed to “creating space” for their coach by protecting scheduled coaching sessions and engaging their coach in leadership goals
- Are willing to become proficient in a variety of virtual tools, which are critical for long-distance coaching engagements (such as video conferencing and online document sharing)
- Have the personal capacity to fully participate in the program. This includes attending all program meetings and prioritizing regular one-on-one sessions with your leadership coach
Do I have to pay to participate in the program?
There is no direct cost to coaches or coachees. Our goal is to give school leaders in the Columbia Union access to a high-impact growth experience. As an investment in its leaders, the local conferences will sponsor any travel-related expenses incurred by participants. The Bainum Family Foundation and Columbia Union have partnered to underwrite the cost of training and program delivery.
How much time should I plan to commit to the program?
The curriculum is more intense for coaches than it is for coachees. Time commitments include attending trainings, completing work before and after trainings and having one-on-one meetings with your coach/coachee. (CEU credits will be provided for participation in these activities.)
Each year, coaches must complete the following:
- Three two-day training sessions in Columbia, Maryland (in summer, fall and spring)
- Three hours of virtual training each quarter
- Two to three one-day visits to their coachee’s campus
- One hour per month of virtual one-on-one coaching sessions with their coachee
Each year, coachees will complete the following:
- Three one-day training sessions in Columbia, Maryland (in summer, fall and spring)
- Two to three one-day visits with their coach (on the coachee’s campus)
- One hour per month of virtual one-on-one coaching sessions with their coach (at minimum)
How much will I have to travel?
It depends on your location. There are three in-person training sessions each year in Columbia, Maryland. Each session will require a two- or three-night stay for coaches and a one- or two-night stay for coachees who do not live nearby. Coaches will also travel to visit their coachees during the school year three times in the first year and two times in the second year. Participants will not be required to travel outside of the Columbia Union, but this may still require some participants to travel via plane or train (for instance, if a coach in Maryland is working with a coachee in Ohio).
How often will I meet with my coach/coachee?
Coaches and coachees are free to set up a coaching schedule that works for them; however, they are required to meet at least once per month in person or via video conference. (When in-person meetings are not feasible, we encourage video conferencing as the primary form of coach-coachee engagement.)
How are participants selected?
For coach applicants:
- Coach applicants should submit an online application and upload an updated resumé
- A recommendation form will then be sent to his/her superintendent, who must then complete and submit it
- Applications are reviewed by the ACE leadership team on a rolling basis
- Select applicants will be invited to a face-to-face interview with the ACE leadership team
- Selected candidates will receive a formal invitation to the program and sign a participation agreement
For coachee applicants:
- Coachee applicants should complete an online application and upload an updated resumé
- A recommendation form will be sent to his/her superintendent, who must then complete and submit it
- Applications are reviewed by the ACE leadership team on a rolling basis
- If accepted into the program, the applicant will receive a letter of acceptance and participation agreement.
Who decides who my coachee/coach is?
Once all coaches and coachees have formally accepted their invitations into the program, the ACE Academy leadership team will oversee the matching process. This team includes representatives from the Bainum Family Foundation, NYC Leadership Academy and the Columbia Union. We consider several factors in our matching process, including location, personal leadership needs, school needs, leadership experience and style.
Why is focusing on equity a priority of the program?
It’s difficult to recognize the prevalence of inequities in our education system, even in our faith-based schools. Society at-large grapples to find the language and strategies to overcome such complex challenges that are deeply embedded in our education practices and create obstacles for students’ success in school and life.
Our goal is to help empower leaders with both the skills and a personal mindset to identify where inequities are occurring and how to address them. These conversations can be challenging, and ACE helps participants practice exploring these dynamics in a safe space. Participants in the program will learn to identify how inequities were constructed and why/how they have perpetuated.
Because racial equity is a critical discussion happening across the nation, the ACE Academy Leadership Coaching Program examines equity most often through this lens. However, we understand that this is just one facet of a larger, important vision for ensuring equity in schools. We hope leaders will apply their learnings and skills to examine all types of inequities that may prevent children from reaching their potential, including those related to gender, class or any other circumstance/characteristic.
I still have questions. What should I do?
We’re ready and able to answer them! Please send us a message using our contact form.