Coaching with the “End in Mind”


For years, organizations have provided educators, particularly administrators and aspiring coaches, with training on how to coach colleagues and teachers in the classroom.  And yet, the advent of performance-driven educator evaluation practices has driven renewed interest in and requests for tips and strategies that include specific, effective feedback and coaching that give educators sufficient information to actually apply it to enhancing and transforming classroom practice.

Traditional coaching model frameworks and many performance evaluation approaches work to align day-to-day activities with desired outcomes:

  • Assess current performance;
  • Identify gaps or areas for improvement;
  • Develop an action plan to support improved practices;
  • Provide feedback and coaching / training in support of the plan;
  • Monitor progress on the plan and ongoing performance.

Many principals, evaluators and teachers indicate that the true strength of process is in the valuable conversations generated between staff and their supervisors as well as the collaborative efforts and conversations of educators to improve as a whole.

However, evaluators continue to struggle to ensure that their feedback and coaching efforts produce a return on their investment of time and resources that results in improved classroom practice leading to increased student learning.

As I read through an article by Michelle Vazzana and Jason Jordan in the July 2013 Training and Development magazine, “Avoid Sales Coaching Failure”, I was intrigued with the “beginning with the end in mind“ perspective of a coaching model the authors promote for sales coaching that educators might consider for educator performance appraisal (evaluation) and development. The model focuses on aligning desired learning Results with the right learning Objectives and the right learning Activities (ROA) for identification of the alignment of an improvement focus.  These elements can be gleaned the outcomes of classroom observations, student learning results, for teacher/supervisor conversations or perhaps from evaluation criteria.  The elements can be stated in positive ways approximating specific best practices as the goal.   Cause/effect strategies  such as the “5 Whys” may be helpful in honing in on the right objectives and activities.  Typically, traditional coaching frameworks tend to move straight from Results to Activities skipping the clarifying and therefore critical step of specific learning Objectives. This then, is integrated with an execution coaching model acronym (ARC) which reflects scheduled monitoring of the chosen Activities through Regularly scheduled (referred to in the article and the graphic below as management Rhythm in the form of structured Conversations about the teacher’s efforts to improve their practice and any additional supports needed. There is no easy path to ensuring the coaching conversation turns into enhanced classroom practice and increased student learning. Being more deliberate and predictable in planning for and executing an integrated coaching model may prove less time and resource consuming in the long run.


How schools can use Big Data to its greatest potential

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 While many school districts currently use data to inform best practices, a recent report finds that relatively few have truly harnessed the potential of learning analytics. When used properly, analytics would deliver “student-level data” to determine how students are learning and what could be done to improve learning and the teacher’s impact on learning, the New Media Consortium K-12 Horizon Report finds. The report also offers questions that educators should consider when implementing learning analytics.

Read more at:

NASBE State Ed SmartBrief 7/10/14

The 101 on giving criticism

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The 101 on giving criticism
Managers don’t like to dish out negative feedback, but when it’s necessary, separate it from positive feedback and do so with an idea of what you’d like to see change, writes Sarah Green, who summarizes years of Harvard Business Review advice. “If you’re delivering some particularly hard-to-hear news, consider giving the person the rest of the afternoon off,” she advises. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (6/30)