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2021 Summer Reading List

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Written by Joseph Kanke - Statewide Coaching Coordinator
Aligned to CCPP 1.a, 2.d, 3.c, 6.a

If you are like me, a stack of books has been slowly growing on the corner of your desk; perhaps it even resembles a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Hopefully summer will provide an opportunity to sift through that tower and choose a few tomes to engage with. Whether you like to drink your morning coffee on the deck, hit the beach or sit in front of the AC, carve out some time to read something that is calling your name.

Here are a few books that are currently in my stack.

Coaching for Equity by Elena Aguilar: To be fair, I’ve already read this text, but I reference it so often that it is permanently affixed to my workspace. In full transparency, I’ve always been an Elena fan, but this text is easily my favorite. In fact, it is the best coaching text I’ve ever read. If you are familiar with Elena, you may recall she often writes of her Transformational Coaching Model. In this newest text she really digs into this Model walking through the four phases of the model and how they impact the Three Bs: Behavior, Beliefs and Ways of Being. Woven throughout the model, she further explores the principles of compassion, curiosity, connection, courage and purpose.

The first six chapters of the text walk through the model and principles including research, history and coaching strategies. The final six are composed of vignettes where you can get a sense of the model in action.

If you are interested in further exploring how to hold equity central to your coaching and pushing in on systems change, move this book to the top of your pile.

The following books are on my to-read list for the summer. Since I have not yet read them, I can only share why they called out to me.

Pivot by Jenny Blake. I always try to have one or two books that weren’t written for a coaching audience, but offer skills coaches could use, on my reading list. I find reading these texts broadens my perspective and gives me an opportunity to think in new ways and push my coaching to new heights.

Pivot is essentially written for someone who is looking to make a change, particularly in their career. What called my attention to this text is the process the author walks through which includes establishing your guiding principles and strengths. Then the author walks through building a vision of your future with the guiding question, “What does success look like one year from now?” Does that question sound familiar-it is one I use in coaching often.

What I am particularly looking forward to reading is what she called Stage Four: Launch. This is about moving to action and moving through failure. Planning and learning are crucial, but if they don’t end with action, what end purpose do they serve?

Removing Labels by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Dominique Smith. This text is a must read for instructional coaches. It provides 40 concrete descriptions of techniques educators can engage in to disrupt negative expectations about students and schools.

The text introduces the importance of challenging assumptions as well as the consequences of labeling and stereotype threat before outlining strategies.

One activity to strengthen family and community relationships builds off community asset mapping which zooms in on the community and lists all the assets (connections) that are already in place and where relationships don’t yet exist.

Once the report is complete and gaps are identified, ambassadors (staff and student) adopt either specific businesses/local organizations or sections of the school zone and intentionally reach out to make stronger communities.

The Six Secrets of Change by Michael Fullan. I read this text years ago, but with the lens of supporting myself through change. I am planning to revisit it this year with a coaching lens. Let’s face it, this year was all about change and next year will likely continue the theme. Change isn’t easy, but with the right support, it can be palatable.

Two takeaways from my first read was the importance of connecting individuals to their purpose in the change process and being transparent about change along the way. This text would be a great read for any coach, but especially coaches working with leaders and teams.

Now that I’ve whittled down my stack, and no longer need to worry about the leaning book tower toppling over and taking out my coffee, it is time to start flipping pages.

What is on your list?