Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


Better Conversations for Coaching
Jim Knight

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Classroom
Chicago, IL

Coaching Success: Putting Conversation at the Heart of Professional Learning

“I thought I knew how to have a conversation; I’ve had millions of them.  Some were good, others not so much so. But I want to have GREAT conversations, and Jim Knight has taught me how. The proof is in: Better Conversations are possible and the results are worth the investment.”
--DOUGLAS FISHER, Coauthor of Visible Learning for Literacy

Our lives are enriched immeasurably by open and free conversation. When we engage in authentic dialogue, we are much more receptive to new ideas. After all, conversation is how we learn and grow across all aspects of our lives: in dialogue with our friends and family, colleagues, and professional mentors.

Jim Knight and his team have conducted extensive research on how to increase the amount and quality of dialogue occurring during professional conversations. The result is Partnership Learning, a method for planning and participating in meaningful exchanges in which transformative conversations play a central role. Partnership Learning is a simple, yet powerful, training methodology involving several core principles that are embodied in six easy-to-learn strategies:

  • I see conversation partners as equals
  • I want to hear what others have to say
  • I believe people should have a lot of autonomy
  • I don’t judge others
  • Conversations should be back and forth
  • Conversation should be life giving.

Knight’s training on Better Conversations is a critical component of effective coaching—it’s no add-on to squeeze in. Effective communication strategies are essential for professional success. Coaches, leaders, and educators who make the greatest impact know how to communicate their message clearly, build healthy emotional connections with others, and maneuver emotionally complex situations in ways that allow them to speak the truth in way that will be heard—the very practices Knight’s workshop explores.

This workshop based on Jim Knight’s book Better Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other To Be More Credible, Caring, and Connected (2016) offers an intensive exploration of six Better Conversation Beliefs and ten Better Conversation essential communication habits that can help anyone communicate more effectively at work or at home. Communication is the lifeblood of coaching, and the more effectively coaches communicate, the more effectively everyone learns: teacher and students.

During this workshop, participants will:

  • identify their own beliefs about communication by exploring the six Better Conversation Beliefs
  • learn the ten Better Conversation Habits
  • practice using the Better Conversation Habits in experiential learning activities
  • self-coach themselves on their use of the Better Conversation habits
  • leave the session with (a) new habits that should have an immediate, positive impact on their ability to communicate at work and at home, and (b) a self-coaching strategy they can use to continue improving their communication skills long after they leave the institute
  • learn how to coach themselves on how to internalize any or all of the coaching habits

This workshop is for all.

The registration fee includes a copy of Jim Knight’s book: The Reflection Guide to Better Conversations

​Jim Knight is a research associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning and is the president of the Instructional Coaching Group. He has spent almost two decades studying professional learning and instructional coaching. He has written or co-authored several books including Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction published by Corwin and Learning Forward (2007) and Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction (2011). Knight co-authored Coaching Classroom Management (2006) and also edited Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives (2008). Knight has authored articles on instructional coaching and professional learning in publications such as The Journal of Staff Development, Educational Leadership, Principal Leadership, The School Administrator, and Kappan. He is frequently asked to lead professional learning and has presented and consulted across the country and internationally. Knight also leads the coaching institutes and the Annual Instructional Coaching Conference in Lawrence, Kansas. He has a PhD in Education from the University of Kansas, has won several university teaching, innovation, and service awards and also hosts "Talking About Teaching" on the Teaching Channel and writes the blog.

Location of Workshop
The workshop will take place at the ISACS classroom at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

Directions, Parking & Public Transportation
The location is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.

Click here for directions to the ISACS classroom including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages. To secure discounted rates prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

Air Travel
Both Midway and O'Hare airports are easily accessible to the ISACS classroom. Fly into Midway (on Southwest Airlines) or into O'Hare and take the "L" (Chicago's public transportation) and be at the ISACS classroom in less than an hour.  

GO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off the standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate. The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not eligible for the discounted rate. Parties of two more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit their website for more information.  

Hotel Accommodations
The ISACS Professional Development team has partnered with many incredible Chicago hotels. The hotels are within walking distance of the ISACS classroom and as a member of ISACS you have access to the discounted rates all year long for your professional and personal travel. Click here to find out how to make a reservation at any of the hotels and select the option that meets your travel needs.

If you have any issues when booking a room, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. 

Registration Fee

  • $250 member fee
  • $325 non-member free
  • Registration includes a copy of Jim Knight's book, The Reflection Guide to Better Conversations
  • There is no group discount for this workshop
  • Workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch and refreshments 
  • Register early as we anticipate this workshop will reach capacity
  • Please review the Registration Confirmation information below

Registration Confirmation Communications from ISACS
Once registration for the workshop has been completed the following communications will be sent from ISACS:

  • Once registration is complete, an email will automatically be sent to the contact person on the registration confirming that registration has been completed.
  • Approximately three weeks prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.
  • Approximately one week prior to the workshop, ISACS will send a final confirmation email to the registrant with details for the workshop.

If you do not receive these emails prior to arriving at a workshop, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. It is possible your email address was entered incorrectly OR your registration was not completed.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Questions? Please call 312-750-1190.

Member Cost: $250     Non-member Cost: $325


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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