Granted, there can be lots of reasons that coaching doesn't "work" at a school. But I think a huge part of a coach's success has to do with his or her willingness to listen to the teachers she works with. And by listen, I mean truly listen. William Isaacs says we have trouble with this because:
If we try to listen we find it extraordinarily difficult, because we are always projecting our opinions and ideas, our prejudices, our background, our inclinations, our impulses; when they dominate, we hardly listen at all to what is being said.
I don't know how many times I've done this, but I know it's a lot. In his book "Dialogue - the Art of Thinking Together", Isaacs says "People do not listen, they reload". I have been guilty of this many times in my life, ignoring the person talking to me in an effort to pre-argue my point in my head so I can jump in at the earliest opportunity to get that point across.
And yet those people in my life that I value most are the ones who I feel have truly listened to me. The childhood teachers I felt closest to were the ones who made me feel cared about and listened to. The leaders I've worked for whom I most respect were the ones who respected me right back by listening to my opinion - really listening, and considering what I had to say.
As coaches, we should be offering that focused listening to the teachers with whom we work. If we truly listen, then oftentimes we'll learn something. And when people feel listened to, more likely than not they'll be more willing to listen right back.