Instructional Coaching: Part 2

A Model to Build Instructional Coaching Coherence

Editor's Note: This is Part Two of a Two-Part Series

by Howard Pitler, Ed.D.

The coaching cycle

To be most effective, coaching should be undertaken as a long-term process. A commonly used duration for a coaching cycle is one grading period. During each coaching cycle, the coach and coachee should begin by agreeing on a specific goal or goals to be accomplished. There should be a clear connection between the agreed-upon goal(s) and the school improvement plan and district strategic plan. Figure 2 is an example of a Coachee/Coach Goal Planning Template:

The initial planning process should identify not only the agreed-upon teacher learning goal for the coaching cycle but how to progress to the goal will be monitored. It is suggested that the coach and coachee work together to develop a rubric for the various components of the goal

Observation Planning Meeting

  • The coach meets with the coachee to discuss the lesson to be observed.
  • What is the learning intention?
  • What activities will support the learning intention?
    • differentiation to meet students need
    • technology to enhance learning
    • anticipated concept struggles
    • informal/formal assessments of learning
  • Teacher ‘stretch goal.”


The coach observes the lesson (or views a teacher-created video of the lesson) and takes notes based on the planning meeting.

Planning for the Reflective Meeting

Reflective Meeting

  • Share data
  • Ask the teacher to reflect on the section focus of the lesson – using the data gathered from the tool
  • Ask reflective questions
  • Repeat and verify what you heard
  • Set a goal that focuses on the change
  • Offer a strategy to support the change
  • Schedule the follow-up action
  • Reflective Meeting Action Plan

Reflective Meeting Plan

  • If the teacher understands the goal, create an action plan with him/her that includes:
    • Action dates
    • Who will be responsible for what
    • How will you know if your plan is effective?
  • If a teacher does not understand, you offer:
    • To share research or professional article.
    • To model.
    • To co-teach.
    • To co-plan
    • To provide coverage while the teacher watches a master teacher

After the action plan is mutually developed between coach and coachee, a schedule of follow-up visits is developed to work the plan. An example of a follow-up schedules is below (Figure 3):


Everyone can benefit from having a coach. Professional sports teams have multiple coaches to help outstanding players reflect on their craft with the goal of becoming better. A good instructional coach can provide the same benefit for teachers. Just as a group of football coaches work under the head coach to move the team toward an agreed-upon goal, district instructional coaches will be most effective as a group if they have agreed-upon processes and procedures that move the district toward their goals. Coaching is specific to each individual coachee, but having a common set of procedures and protocols for all coaches will help the district move forward.


CUREE (2005) National Framework for Mentoring and Coaching, available here.

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