What is the Purpose of Coaching?

So, why would teachers even need or want coaching?  Had they not gone through extensive study, empirical and sociological research, and the practical experience of student teaching?  Isn’t that enough?  Is coaching some sort of admission that teacher preparation programs throughout the nation are incomplete or invalid?

Unequivocally no.   Virtually all professions have coaches and mentors.  For example, rookie police officers are never sent solo into the field; they’re accompanied by and paired with a more senior officer.  Physicians spend years as residents under the supervision of seasoned physicians.  Military personnel don’t emerge from basic training ready to lead others into battle.

The purpose of teacher coaching is uncomplicated:  to develop the capacity of teachers to work collectively on the multiple issues they face in their practice.  This work needs to be unclouded by hidden agendas, and limited to supporting the knowledge and skill development of individual educators.  One of the best ways to improve teaching and learning is through the use of coaching in the delivery of professional development services.  Coaching is quickly becoming the preferred staff development model.

Teaching is a highly individualized practice.  Effective coaching is highly individualized professional development – a means to enable teachers to improve their own practice through personalized, non-threatening observations, discussion, analysis and reflection.

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