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Approaches to Instructional Coaching

Approaches to Instructional Coaching

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, the students will examine he role of the instructional coach and the development of the coaching relationship.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in today's video lesson, we'll look at the topic Approaches to instructional coaching. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives. And together, we'll use the following questions to guide our learning in this lesson. First, what is the role of the instructional coach? And also, what might the development of the coaching relationship look like?

There are so many different types of coaching. In this lesson, we will explore instructional coaching. The goals for instructional coaching are to enhance teachers' knowledge and skills. It's a type of professional development in which teachers coach each other. Instructional coaching encompasses some core components, including identifying challenges. Instructional coaching also involves modeling approaches and best practices, as well as observing the teacher as they implement various strategies. The coach will provide feedback after the observation takes place and reflect on what happened. What was the overall process?

Let's take a look at some roles of the coach. An instructional coach will offer support in the classroom, operate as the instructional specialist, evaluate the teacher and their performance, and offer insight, comments, and feedback as necessary. They will also provide curriculum support and help to analyze data that stems from student achievement.

The role of the teacher is critical as well. In instructional coaching, the teacher should reflect and engage in discussions entailing feedback with the coach, accept feedback, and ask questions when needed. It's essential for the teacher to actively participate. The teacher should learn about instructional strategies that are new and implement strategies that are relevant. They should also welcome the chance to be coached. What they will gain from coaching is so valuable.

Let's take a look at who might be a good candidate for coaching. When determining if instructional coaching will be a good fit for a group of or an individual teacher, it's important to consider these teachers in their situations and needs. Instructional coaching might be a good fit for a teacher that is new to the profession. At this point in their teaching career at the very beginning, they will most likely benefit from support from an instructional coach.

Instructional coaching might also be a good fit for a teacher who might be struggling, struggling with instructional practices or struggling to keep levels of student achievement high. Coaching can help offer these teachers support where it's needed, and will help in determining where that support is needed. A developing teacher might also benefit from instructional coaching. If a teacher's attempting to implement a certain instructional method or bring strategies into the classroom such as classroom management, or maybe the teacher's attempting to implement more technology, coaching would offer so much needed support through this process.

So how does the role of coach change based on the situation? Just like other types of support for teachers, the role that the instructional coach plays will vary based on the situation. What are the needs of the teacher? What are the skills of the coach? What are the goals for coaching? Coaches can be instructional specialists. They may be specialists in a specific content area. They may be instructional coaches hired by the school or district to perform solely as the coach. Or they might be another teacher or peer, or maybe even a school leader.

Sometimes the teacher may have some choice in the decision for coaching. In this case, the teacher might partner with another teacher in a peer coaching relationship. This usually happens when the goals or the coaching styles align between the two teachers. In other cases, the coach might be chosen for the teacher. The coach is chosen based on the situation, usually by administration.

Let's talk about some of these situations. First, new teacher induction. Veteran teachers are often chosen to help support new teachers as their coach. A novice teacher has so much to learn, and those who have experience teaching have so much to offer. These veteran teachers are able to help new teachers make improvements in instructional practice, and they can assist in dealing with challenges as they come up.

Another teacher that's paired with the coach is the struggling teacher. Some teachers have encountered challenges that result in professional improvement plans being put into place. If this is the case, the coach must have the expertise to help in these areas. The coach in this situation will be an instructional specialist, or at times if it was due to an evaluation process, it could be a school administrator. The goal here is to support this teacher in improving performance and increasing student achievement. It might be hard for the teacher in this instance to remain open and trusting if this coaching is the result of evaluations. But it's still extremely important for this teacher and coach to develop a respectful, trusting relationship.

Coaching relationships can also be peer coaching. At times, peers serve as coaches or mentors for each other. Here the teachers take turns coaching each other in order to support each other mutually in improvements in instruction. These improvements are so beneficial to teachers and students.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the questions, what is the role of the instructional coach? And what might the development of this coaching relationship look like? In this lesson, we discussed the role of an instructional coach. An instructional coach offers support in the classroom, evaluates the teacher and their performance, offers insight, comments, and feedback. They also help analyze that data that stems from student achievement. We also explored who might need a coach and who that coach might be, what the relationship might look like.

Now that you're familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. Consider the roles of the teacher and coach that we explored in this lesson. Have you observed a coaching scenario in which these roles were used? What were the benefits?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson Approaches to instructional coaching. I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas and concepts to your own teaching. To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on “Approaches to Instructional Coaching”


(00:00- 00:23) Introduction/Objectives

(00:24- 01:03) What is Instructional Coaching

(01:04- 01:54) What are the Roles of the Instructional Coach?

(01:55- 02:58) Who Benefits From Instructional Coaching?

(02:59- 05:19) How Does the Role of Coach Change?

(05:20- 05:49) Recap

(05:50- 06:33) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching: What Is an Instructional Coach?

This page provides an overview of instructional coaching. In addition, the information on this page connects the role of the coach to professional development.

Tool 5.1: Coaching roles

This graphic organizer from Learning Forward illustrates the roles of the instructional coach, the purpose of the coach, and an example of coaching in action.