Setting Up a Coaching Program for Success
Adopt a Coaching Model That Supports District/School Goals
One of the foundational steps of setting up a high-quality, sustainable coaching program is adopting a research-backed coaching model that fits well within a district’s existing goals and initiatives. Decision-makers and leaders should select a coaching model that explicitly includes the vision and targeted outcomes of coaching, as well as the roles and responsibilities of coaches, teachers, and school/district administrators. Without such a framework, coaches may not know where to focus their efforts, and teachers may misunderstand what coaching is and is not. A well-defined coaching model also helps school and district administrators plan strategically for the success of the program throughout their settings (e.g., coach workload, tools and resources that coaches need to ensure successful implementation).
Tips for success:
- Leaders should include multiple relevant stakeholders in the planning and decision-making process when considering new coaching programs to make sure different goals and needs across the district are taken into account. This may include the district curriculum team, school administrators, existing coaches, and the district IT team.
- They should also explicitly communicate with all staff the ways in which a new coaching program aligns with district goals and existing initiatives. Rather than simply providing a quick update in writing, they should carve out dedicated time for establishing a shared understanding and goals around a new coaching model with coaches and school administrators. In turn, coaches and school administrators should ensure that teachers and school staff are brought into this shared vision.
- That said, within the coaching framework, it is important that district leaders provide campuses the autonomy they need to implement the model in ways that best fit their particular needs. Within the same district, teachers at different schools might maintain different schedules, face different challenges, and likely benefit from different coaching approaches. Schools administrators and school-based coaches have the necessary context about their campus’s particular needs to understand the types of adaptations needed to make a model most effective in their setting.