An overview of a discussion Gabriella Ferenczi, host and organiser of Language Professionals’ Networking Event, had with internationally accredited language coach, teacher trainer Gabriella Kovacs ACC recently. She will be visiting the UK middle of March 2019 to provide language teachers and communication trainers with a workshop to gain insight into how they can increase impact with language coaching.
What is the reason behind your interest in language coaching?
Gabriella Kovacs: I bet there are a number of language professionals out there looking for a framework, or rather a spark to ignite fresh ideas, a new perspective on their teaching practice. What if I say this is possible, but they have to be willing to let go of some very basic concepts we take for granted as teachers, language teachers, trainers…
We all feel that the teaching processes we have grown accustomed to are no longer providing the support and help it has in the past: neither for us, as professionals, nor for our students. We have reached a point in our profession where we are at a crossroads. We can stop and scratch our heads and go on as before – with exactly the same results as we had, or we can embrace change and deal with the challenges, complexities and explore unknown terrain and utilize them in the classroom, training room. Like brainstorming for new ideas with the same old labels: it won’t get you to a new place, will it? So language coaching provides a framework for me to gain access to areas affected by language learning which are not normally focused on in language teaching. My clients make better decisions about their language learning and target language communication and maintain full responsibility for these choices, which is really rewarding to observe.
How is this different to language teaching and training?
Gabriella Kovacs: The framework and basic power distribution is different: we, the coach and coachee/client are partners, which changes the fundamentals in our relationship, expectations, responsibilities and inputs throughout the process. Let me give you an example: I won’t tell the client what they
need to do to achieve the results they need to get because I don’t know how best they can reach those goals, because I am not in their shoes, I am not aware of a number of circumstances, information the client has access to.
As it is a client-led process, I can merely guide them, through awareness-raising, reflection and experimentation to discover new ideas, connect the dots and come up with what they need and how they can get there. It is dedicated to what the client wants, in a focused way. It is about finding the internal motivation and aligning it with the external, so there will be instant, short-term and long-term results.
In a business context where stakes are high and pressure can pulverize confidence and self-assurance, being a successful language learner and communicator in another tongue means you need to find a new identity, reconsider the values, skillset, knowledge you can provide as a language user in the target language in a specific high-pressure situation – and that is where a lot of thinking goes on in the language coaching process.
Teaching does not address these issues, it relies on a hierarchical dependence –whether we admit it or not – and training is more about supplying strategies, handing over practical wisdom and working with experiential learning models. Coaching adds the discovery terrain, the strengthening of the language learner, and highly prized independence, which makes it truly transformative.
How can people benefit from a language coaching process?
Gabriella Kovacs: Language coaching leads to a high ROI in the learning process of a language simply because it enables us to unleash potential and leads to time-saving dialogue so no energy is wasted on unnecessary courses. It therefore enables clients to reap the fruits of relevant and focused development customized to their resources, learning skillset and goals. The language teacher will enjoy less stress, the ability to empower their students and they will love how the teacher can tap into their strengths and competences at a deeper level.
I have had clients tell me that the new discoveries they have had concerning their English language communication has led to them making changes in their native language communication as well, achieving better results through representing themselves in a more assertive way and speaking with more clarity and structure – so there are multiple benefits.
Who have you supported so far?
Gabriella Kovacs: 2 groups:
- Language coaches/teachers who wish to learn about coaching and teachers who already apply a language coaching approach and who intend to deepen that knowledge and skills. They come from various backgrounds: working for private language schools, training institutes or public institutions (terciary, secondary).
- And language learners, my clients (from corporate organizations and the private sphere).
Why do clients choose you to work with?
Gabriella Kovacs: These clients are open to explore their language learning challenges in a new way and need more confidence to do so.
Corporate clients, leaders who want to tackle their target language communication scenarios and understand that it is not always the classic combo of grammar and vocab that is missing to reach success at a presentation, in small talk situations or negotiation. There is always a better performance expectation – and language coaching always delivers.
So what is your message?
Gabriella Kovacs: I would love to demonstrate how language coaching works and provide practical information about this exciting area of coaching. I’ll be coaching live, so that is always an eye-opener for teachers first experiencing a coaching process. The attendees will receive new inspiration, ideas, recharge their batteries from a methodology point of view and understand how active listening skills, the language of instructions and deeper connection can lead to true student-driven processes.
A number of case studies will be provided to ensure participants see the full spectrum language coaching has an impact on and of course they will be taking away a number of language coaching tools they can utilize in their classes, trainings from the very next day. There will be active practising of coaching, so they can have time to refocus their role from teacher/trainer to a more coach-like style.
One of the teachers who participated in my workshops, trainings and went through a coaching process with me said that instead of having a brick wall between herself and a particular group of students she felt she could now concentrate on the sunshine behind that wall and look for ways to find co-operation with this group and not fight them… So you see we will be working on issues related to language learning that are rarely actually addressed in the language classroom.
If you feel you’d like to take the first step: come along and make an informed decision about whether language coaching can support your work or not – you’ll never know unless you join us this March. Let in the sunshine!
For more info on the agenda of each training day and to secure a ticket, click on the images below:
Language Coaching Foundation Programme for teachers, trainers & tutors who are open to explore a new perspective on their teaching practice:
Language Coaching Advanced Programme for those who have been using a coaching approach in their teaching but wish to add new skills & refresh their range of tools:
If you are thinking of adding a coaching framework to your teaching/training repertoire, do consider joining for 1 or 2 days.