What is Coaching?

The primary goal of coaching is to support educators in the installation, initial implementation, and sustained implementation of evidence-based practices with fidelity for successful student outcomes. To this end, START’s overarching coaching goal is to build capacity for coaching in every building in Michigan.

The implementation support provided through coaching might include such activities as participation in team meetings, modeling effective practices, providing feedback, prompting completion of action items, and helping teams prioritize practices to strengthen through the use of the CETA.

Coaching is:

  • A set of responsibilities, actions, and activities – not a person
  • A bridge between training and implementation – not administrative accountability
  • A positive and supportive resource and facilitation – not criticism

Why Coaching?

Research and experience indicate that coaching has more of an impact on sustainable implementation than the initial professional development does (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Joyce & Shower, 2002). Through the use of coaching functions, such as prompting, building fluency, providing performance feedback, and making contextual adaptations, the implementation fidelity of evidence-based practices and IEPs is strengthened. Coaches often work collaboratively with their local trainers to provide implementation support to participants following training.

Coaching sets the stage for:

  • Collaboration more than expert consultation
  • Proactive support more than reactive or crisis response
  • Capacity building more than dependence
  • Accountability more than blame

Who provides Coaching?

Schools are most effective with coaching when coaching functions are embedded in the role of existing school personnel (e.g., school psychologist, behavior specialist, social worker, school counselor) and include time allotted to coaching. Optimally, the coaching role is listed within job descriptions. The START project has identified two groups of coaches:

Coach Leaders

Coach Leaders are educators who support the Building Coaches within a district or ISD. Typically ISD or district professionals or itinerant staff, Coach Leaders develop a coaching structure, which provides a system of ongoing support and training to the Building Coaches. Coach Leaders may:

  • Recruit new Building Coaches
  • Offer regular meetings for Building Coaches within an ISD or district or within a Regional Collaborative Network to coordinate professional learning activities for the coaches
  • Obtain and share information and resources from the START Project
  • Support Building Coaches and their teams through individual meetings
  • Model implementation of evidence-based practices and provide feedback to Building Coaches who may be modeling implementation for teachers in their building

Building Coaches

Building Coaches are educators who are typically in the building at least multiple times per week and support the staff in their building with the implementation of evidence-based practices to support students. A Building Coach typically attends content training offered by START or trainers within their ISD or Regional Collaborative Network, as well attend meetings and professional learning facilitated by Coach Leaders. At the school level, Building Coaches may:

  • Model evidence-based practices for teachers and other staff
  • Provide feedback to staff in the implementation of evidence-based practices
  • Practice effective teaming strategies
  • Facilitate Meeting Mechanics problem-solving meetings
  • Serve as a point person in their school for questions or support needs
  • Share resources and information with their school staff

Page last modified July 1, 2024