Costa & Garmston Cognitive Coaching, The Mediator's Toolbox

Costa, A. & Garmston, R. (2002). The mediator's toolbox. Cognitive coaching: A foundation for renaissance schools (2nd Ed.). Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon.


•    "A skillful coach uses certain well-crafted verbal and nonverbal tools to facilitate others' cognitive growth (p. 73)."
•    Paralanguage is defined as the "...vocal qualities, body gestures, and other verbal and nonverbal behaviors that exist alongside the words we speak (p. 72)."
•    "When confronted with conflicting verbal and nonverbal messages, humans inevitably choose the meaning behind the nonverbal behavior (p. 73)." (My thoughts - because we believe that those cues are more difficult to fake and therefore are more honest and true. They are more revealing of the truth.)
•    Response behaviors are defined as the "...verbal responses to another person's communications (p.74)." There are five types:
    o    Silence - wait time and listening
    o    Verbal and nonverbal acknowledgment
    o    Paraphrasing including summarizing, organizing, shifting levels, empathizing
    o    Clarification by probing - looking for meaning and specificity
    o    Providing data and resources
•    Structuring is defined as "establish(ing) the parameters of time, space, and purposes (p. 74)."
•    Mediative questioning "helps coaches to construct and pose questions intended to engage thinking (p. 74)."

•    "In addition to posture, gesture, and use of space, the intonation, rhythms, pacing, and volume of a person's voice all contribute important information about the communication (p. 74)."
•    "Mirror neurons" - "The existence of 'mirror neurons' indicates that we are built to respond to what others in our environment do (p. 75)."
•    People communicate using both verbal and nonverbal language. A good coach uses language and paralanguage to facilitate discussion.
•    Entrainment is a type of rapport where one person mirrors another person's paralanguage. It's a synchronization of paralanguages. Entrainment creates an environment of comfort.

Response Behaviors
•    Silence
    o    "Silence is an indicator of a productive conference (p. 79)."
    o    Silence communicates respect, giving the other person time to think, process, and reflect. It usually produces a more thorough response.   
    o    A wait time of longer than two seconds is preferable.
•    Acknowledging
    o    Acknowledgments do not pass judgment but rather they signal to the speaker that the listener has heard and recognizes what has just been said.
    o    Usually indicated with verbal cues such as uh huhs and nonverbal cues such as head nodding.
•    Paraphrasing
    o    (My question - is it similar to perception checking?)
    o    When done well, it establishes rapport by signaling a safe environment.
    o    The listener is communicating to the speaker that his/her ideas have been heard.
    o    Do NOT use the pronoun I! Instead of "What I think I'm hearing you say is..." Try "You're suggesting... or You're proposing... or So you're wondering about... or Your hunch is that..."
•    Clarifying
    o    Vague nouns or pronouns
    o    Vague action words
    o    Comparisons
    o    Rule words
    o    Universal quantifiers
    o    "When you say _____, which _____ do you mean? Or What do you mean by..."
•    Data and Resources
    o    Present it nonjudgmentally

* "...the ultimate goal is to mediate another's capacity for self-coaching and self-modificaion...(p. 85)."