SMART Goal Book Review – Transparency and Inquiry

This is the third post in a series. Click here for the introduction, and click here for part one.


“Coaches are able to create trusting, positive, and sharing environments when they are transparent about their intentions, their goals, and even their own flaws and mistakes in teaching.”

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad, 2018

I’ve been practicing being more transparent lately. A while ago, I posted a greyscale photo of myself not smiling with a caption that began, “It’s okay to not be okay sometimes.” There are times I suffer from self-doubt, imposter syndrome, negative self-talk, and anxiety/depression. Not everything is sparkling and shining every day. (We’ll save that discussion for another post.)

I want the people I coach to understand that I don’t have a goal to change them. I don’t automatically assume that what they’re doing in their classrooms is wrong and I’m going to solve all their problems. Just ask me, I never think that I have all the answers. What I do have is the ability to think and research to find a possible solution. My goal is to help teachers and learn alongside them, and a way to build that trust is to be transparent.

One of the most important quotes that I came across in reading the chapter on transparency comes from Jim Knight, someone who has done a lot of work in the area of instructional coaching.

“When teachers stop learning, so do students.”

Jim Knight, 2010

This leads into our next topic, inquiry.


One of the tools I use most often in my toolbox is a clarifying question. Asking questions helps me gain more background or information on what the teacher needs.

“If coaches continually ask questions, they have a better chance of arriving at solutions that will move teaching and learning forward.”

Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad, 2018

As coaches work with teachers, we can use the five-question framework that was established by Peter Drucker (2008). His list of five questions is mostly focused on businesses, but can also be applied to education.

  1. What is our mission?
  2. Who is our customer?
  3. What does the customer value?
  4. What are our results?
  5. What is our plan?

We reach our goals of coaching when teachers focus their instruction and assessment to accomplish goals in increasing student achievement. Our students are preparing for a life ahead of them in a world that is unknown to us at the present moment. Let’s keep asking “Why?” “What if?” and “How?” in order to help them succeed.

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