Why Instructional Coaching is Critical

Why Instructional Coaching is Critical

by Dianne McKinley


If you want teachers to grow, thrive, and stay at your school, instructional coaching is critical.  Research is conclusive that the most important factor in children’s learning is the quality of their teachers (Burroughs et al., 2019), and increasingly, substantial bodies of research demonstrate that the most effective professional development is instructional coaching (Garet et al., 2016; Gregory, 2017).


According to the research, instructional coaching has proven to be the most effective type of professional development. The professional relationship between the coach and the teacher allows for maximum growth, a deep understanding of the classroom teacher and students, modeling of best practices, and consistent support. 




Many schools have invested in an instructional coach, however many of these coaches have not been trained in highly effective coaching models and/or are not being utilized in a true coaching role. Many coaches are needed for testing, benchmarking, student intervention, filling the role of a substitute, and more.


There are far more schools that do not have an on-site instructional coach at all. Some schools do not have the budget to hire a coach, while others cannot find qualified candidates for the role. 


Effective teaching is highly complex and demanding work and coaching is essential. High-achieveing professionals in all career fields seek out, hire, and work with coaches. They want to continuously improve and be the top in their fields. 


Educators who work with coaches do so for the following reasons:


Individualized Support and Attention


coachingEducators who work with a coach have a thought partner who is on their side and has the goal of helping them to continuously improve. Teaching and leading can be lonely at times and having a coach who is there to bounce ideas off of, problem-solve with, and plan with is invaluable. Edutopia wrote that effective instructional coaching can transform a teacher’s belief in themselves and their students


When educators have a coach, they feel seen, supported, and valued. Coaches offer a sense of belonging that helps teachers and leaders feel like an important part of the school community. This enables schools to retain high-quality teachers and leaders. 



Content Knowledge


coachingCoaches are experts in their fields. They have time to dig into new research and best practices. They work with many educators so that they are able to see examples of high-quality work. They curate new materials and resources. By working with a coach, educators have the benefit of all of this which saves them time and money. 


Many schools have singleton teachers. Being the only teacher in a content area is hard. It leaves you without a thought partner to bounce ideas off, create new lessons with, and learn with. A coach can provide all of these things.


Growth Mindset


coachingCoaches support educators’ growth mindset. Coaches and educators work together to set goals, create a plan, develop action steps, and celebrate accomplishments. 


Coaches are a second set of eyes. They can see things that the educators cannot and can look for things that the educator specifically asks the coach to focus on such as student engagement and questioning techniques. Additionally, coaches can model lessons or parts of lessons so that the teacher can observe and learn. 


How to hire a GREAT coach


If you are looking for a coach for yourself, one of your teachers, or an entire staff, we would love to help. We have coaches for leaders, classroom teachers, instructional assistants, school counselors, social workers, and more. Reach out to us to find out more. 


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