Be There For Each Other Through Coaching

adults talking in a meeting

This article originally appeared in START Connecting in November 2022. 

What is the key to high-performing teams, especially during times of physical and emotional exhaustion? According to Simon Sinek, “It’s their willingness to be there for each other.” At START, we view coaching as an important way to “be there for each other” as we work together to implement the evidence-based practices that are essential for students with autism and other support needs.

If you search “definition of coaching” or “types of coaching,” you will find an overwhelming number of definitions, types, models, and approaches. Regardless of the model or approach to coaching, research tells us that training alone is insufficient for implementation of newly learned skills in schools and classrooms. Staff who receive coaching following training are significantly more likely to implement practices they learned – coaching is the key to implementation in the natural context with students (Joyce & Showers, 1982; Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Jones, Woods, & Guillaume, 2016; Knight & Cornett, 2009).

"Staff who receive coaching following training are significantly more likely to implement practices they learned – coaching is the key to implementation in the natural context with students."

Coaching has been a longstanding priority at START since it is one-way evidence-based practices make their way into the classroom to provide meaningful outcomes to students. To continue to improve our support for coaches, START recently engaged in a collaborative process to explore the needs of coaches, including interviews, surveys, and focus groups. We heard from coaches about the importance of this role: “The goal is for us to work on helping teachers provide as much support to students…and help them access the general education setting, and to be successful in the general education setting…we’re advocates for helping to increase inclusion and provide opportunities.” This process resulted in a reinvigoration for coaching and demonstrated a clear need for more varied resources that are easily accessible to everyone.  

Whether you are serving as a coach at the ISD, district, or building level, receiving support from a coach, or looking to strengthen your implementation of supports and strategies by working collaboratively with others, we invite you to explore the coaching resources below. Our collective willingness to strengthen our teaching and implementation of evidence-based practices is how we can improve outcomes for students and “be there for each other!”

Check it Out: Coaching supports currently available to you

  • Coaching Structure Guidebook: This guidebook includes examples and ideas from Michigan ISDs and districts for developing and strengthening coaching structures (e.g., how to get started, identifying and training coaches, data collection & analysis, sustainability of coaching, and voices from the field).
  • Deliberate Coaching Book Study Site: This interactive study of the Deliberate Coaching book by Gavoni and Weatherley includes summaries, a scavenger hunt, a Padlet, and other engaging resources.
  • Classroom Environment and Teaching Assessment (CETA): This comprehensive evidence-based practice tool may be used as part of a collaborative process for identifying current strengths and priorities to enhance classroom practices that are “effective for all students and essential for some.” 
  • Effective Team Meetings & Meeting Mechanics: Strengthen your skills in facilitating efficient and effective team meetings by checking out the manual, checklists, visual organizers, and video.

More to Come: Coaching supports in development

  • CETA Pathways
  • On-demand videos and resources for coaches and school staff
  • Resources for administrators
  • A resource study site focused on The Behavior Code by Minahan and Rappaport
  • Additions to the Coaching Structure Guidebook, including materials to train and support coaches 
  • Refresh of the START Coaching webpage
  • Coaching Community of Practice

In addition to the resources developed through START, many of the Regional Collaborative Networks (RCN) are engaging in coaching activities within their ISDs and districts. We encourage you to connect with others within your Regional Collaborative Network to discuss the important coaching work happening across the state.

Written by: Stephanie Dyer, Ed.S., BCBA – Autism Education and Intervention Specialist and Lisonn Delcamp, Ed.S. – Autism Education and Intervention Specialist

Resources and References

Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R. C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession. Washington, DC: National Staff Development Council12

Gavoni, P., & Weatherly, N. (2019). Deliberate coaching: A toolbox for accelerated teacher performance. Learning Sciences International. 

Jones, R. J., Woods, S. A., & Guillaume, Y. R. (2016). The effectiveness of workplace coaching: A meta‐analysis of learning and performance outcomes from coaching. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 89(2), 249-277.

Joyce, B. & Showers, B. (1982). The coaching of teaching. Educational Leadership, 40 (1), 4-10. 

Knight, J., & Cornett, J. (2009, April). Studying the impact of instructional coaching. Instructional Coaching. Presentation at the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA. Retrieved October 30, 2022.

Page last modified July 2, 2024