Giving Compass' Take:

• Instructional coaches can be transformational for teachers in empowering them to advance classroom learning. 

• How can donors help schools activate and invest in transformational coaches? 

• Read more about learning critical teaching skills through mentorship. 

Years before I wrote my book, “Courageous Edventures,” and helped develop an instructional coaching model used in schools across the country, I served as a district leader supporting instructional coaches. As part of this role, I hosted visitors from across the globe who wished to see our teachers’ innovative work.

After several visits I realized that, while we were proud of every teacher we worked with, we didn’t show off every classroom. In fact, we relied on a small percentage of teachers—around 20 percent—who were truly engaging in innovative, pedagogical shifts. My realization left me with one perennial question: How can we successfully ensure all teachers have the confidence and skills needed to transform learning in their classrooms?

But after years of inconsistent progress, I understood something was missing from their practice. And the time they spent with instructional coaches seemed key to moving the needle.

The first step in activating our coaches was to rethink how they supported teachers. I began to work on a coaching model to reimagine this position to create both powerful skill and mindset growth. Through this work, I saw that when properly activated and supported, coaches can be the key leaders in systemic transformation.

In my role as an instructional coach—and my subsequent experience overseeing a coaching program—I learned that there is more to activating a coach who can lead systemic change than meeting regularly with teachers and offering guidance on strategies to improve practice. This kind of transformational coaching has a few key elements. Thus, truly transformational coaching:

  1. Focuses the coach on growing teacher mindset as well as skill set.
  2. Begins with teacher goals in order to address larger system goals.
  3. Sets the coach up for success.
  4. Makes coaching visible.

Read the full article about how teachers can improve with coaching by Jennie Magiera at EdSurge.