Do You Know the Various Models of Coaching Relevant to PreK-12 Leadership?

The following is a summary list of several – but by no means all – coaching models and theories that have been applied to PreK-12 instructional coaching categories in recent years:

Cognitive Coaching – Cognitive coaching is an intended nonjudgmental process built around a planning conference, observation, and a reflecting conference.  Skilled cognitive coaches apply strategies to enhance another person’s perceptions, decisions, and intellectual functions.

Content Coaching – This type of coaching arose from the standards movement and the spotlight on the professionalization of teaching.  The work of the content coach centers around “accountable talk” regarding the complexities of meeting standards and ensuring that all students are learning.  All discourse between the coach and the teacher is accountable to the professional community.

Executive  Coaching – In executive coaching a helping relationship is formed between a client who had managerial authority and responsibility in an organization and a consultant who uses a wide variety of behavioral techniques and methods to help the client achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve his or her professional performance and personal satisfaction and, consequently, to improve the client’s organization within a formally defined coaching agreement.

Instructional Coaching – An instructional coach does not focus on any particular content area but rather works with teachers to help incorporate research based instructional practices in all content areas.

Differentiation Coaching – Professional development that supports teachers in implementing instructional strategies that respond to each student’s unique interests, learning styles, and readiness levels, and that challenge each student to achieve at high levels of proficiency.  The differentiation coach also looks at the teacher’s strengths and beliefs to adjust her coaching style to find a way to meet the needs of that teacher.

Literacy Coaching – A form of coaching that technically is not a discreet coaching model.  Rather, literacy coaching is a category of instructional coaching that focuses on literacy and related aspects of teaching and learning.

Peer Coaching – Peer coaching enables teachers to observe one another and exchange support, companionship, feedback and assistance in a co-equal fashion.

School Improvement Coaching – A school improvement coach is a professional developer embedded within the school’s professional learning community.  The coach interacts with members of the professional learning community both individually, with classroom teachers, principals, or teacher leaders, and in groups including the leadership team, the school improvement planning team, grade level teams, content area teams, intervention team, curriculum development teams, and collegial study groups. The school improvement coach serves as a resource offering broad knowledge of research-based educational practices, data analysis skills necessary to inform improvement plans and instruction, and assessment procedures required to monitor progress toward short and long-term student outcome targets.  Crucial components of school improvement coaching include the following skills: a) ability to form trusting relationships with members of the professional learning community, b) observing instructional practices currently in use, c) introducing research-based effective practices to individual teachers or small groups, d) collaboratively selecting strategies for implementation, e) modeling strategies within classrooms, f) supporting teachers in implementing strategies and reflecting on their students’ response, g) support adjustment of strategies as needed based on student response, and h) monitoring of student performance following implementation of specific strategies.

Classroom Management Coaches – A classroom management coach helps the teacher implement both positive and negative behavior modification strategies in the classroom.

Data Coach – A data coach is an educational leader like a teacher, an instructional coach or an administrator who is specifically trained to guide data teams through collaborative inquiry.

All-School-Improvement-Process Coaching – Is used to describe a coaching model associated with broader efforts to effectuate systemic and cultural change within an entire school.

Certainly it is important to learn from other coaching models; models both within and external to the education field.  The most important component, however, is balance; acceptance of suggestions, and the refining of one’s own coaching model.

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