Results Coaching: The New Essential for School Leaders


Kathryn Kee, Karen Anderson, Vicky Dearing, Edna Harris & Frances Shuster

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    By DennisSparks

    I have known Kathy Kee and Karen Anderson for many years. I respect them as human beings, and I admire their work. So I take notice when they use the word “essential” in the title of their book to underscore the link between successful schools and leaders' use of RESULTS coaching skills.

    In RESULTS Coaching: The New Essential for School Leaders, Kee and Anderson, et al. point out that changes around and within schools require that leaders think and act in fundamentally different ways. Because it is essential that teaching and learning change to successfully prepare students for a world very different from the one we now inhabit, a different form of leadership is required that the authors call RESULTS coaching.

    The way in which the future will be fundamentally different than the past was literally brought home to me recently when workers replacing the steps of my front porch found a horseshoe that had been beneath the old steps since they were put in place more than a century ago. My mind immediately turned to the world the horseshoe last saw when horses were as common in Ann Arbor as horseless carriages.

    I imagined myself telling the German tradesmen who built the home at the turn of the 20th century about the world of the 21st century in which the horseshoe was again seeing the light of day. I showed them the small “digital camera” I was using to photograph the horseshoe and told them I was going to “upload” my photo to my “computer” and send it via the “Internet” to friends all over the world, all of which these tradesmen found quite bewildering, at least in my mind's eye.

    I asked the 21st century workers who uncovered the horseshoe to return it to the place they found it before they poured the new steps, and I tried to imagine what the world would be like 50 or 100 years in the future when the horseshoe might again be found, a world in which the cumulative effects of successful, unrelenting waves of innovation will far exceed anything previously known to humankind. It was a task that far exceeded the boundaries of my imagination.

    While the accomplishments and nature of the next century may exceed my imagination, it is, nonetheless, the world for which we are preparing students who will live to see the 22nd century. En route, they will have experiences we can only anticipate in broad outline. And the task of teachers and school leaders is to prepare students to successfully navigate that world as engaged citizens and economic contributors, a task that in my view represents a moral imperative for this and future generations of educators.

    Ron Heifitz uses the term “adaptive challenge” to describe such daunting tasks for which no guidebook exists. They require that school leaders shape cultures and create systems that continuously invent and reinvent teaching and learning across teachers' careers spans, or as the authors point out in their Introduction, “that the school principal is the force and catalyst to make positive results happen.”

    Leading school communities to create continuous improvement in teaching and learning to prepare students for a largely unknowable future requires transformation built upon a paradigm shift in leadership the authors describe this way: “Being a ‘coach-leader’ is a key competency, a new identity, for anyone in the business of developing teachers, staff, and students. … On a daily basis, coaching challenges the leader to walk the talk—to continuously grow and improve before modeling and leading others.”

    The New Leadership Essentials

    The authors provide a thorough description of the mind and skill sets that comprise the “new essentials.” Coach leaders, they say, possess language and communication skills founded in high levels of emotional and social intelligence that “realize the critically important shift in leadership from telling and directing to creating meaning and empowering confidence and ownership in others. This new mindset is a new identity of the leader as a transparent, respectful partner, co-creator, and supporter of others through committed listening, believing, affirming, and eliciting the best in others.”

    Coach leaders, the authors point out, use their language and communication skills to engage in “conversations that will dramatically impact results and outcomes while building and maintaining trust and relationships.” These conversations, according to the authors, are founded on leaders' clarity, respect, integrity, and sense of appreciation. And they have as their goal the development of deep understanding, a shift from disabling beliefs to those attuned with the school community's most important intentions and values, and the communication of deep respect for the capacity of the school community to take action on a small number of highly-leveraged fronts.

    Coach leaders offer hope and release energy founded in their deeply held belief in the school community's capacity to create its desired future. They explain, “Whether we are working with students or teachers and staff, the critical new essential is believing in people's potential in such a way that we stop telling them what to do and teach them how to decide what is the best action to take or task to do given the standards, the expectations, the rules, or the outcomes.”

    Because the “new essentials” require a substantial shift in the thinking and practice of many educational leaders, they are founded in the acquisition of new habits of mind and behavior. The development of such habits requires intention, a great deal of practice, and a way of determining the effectiveness of the new habits in the continuous improvement of teaching, learning, and relationships in schools. While creating new leadership habits requires effort, discipline, and persistence, leaders have no other choice if schools are to enable young people to thrive in the unknown world that is their future.

    DennisSparks Emeritus Executive Director Learning Forward (formerly the National Staff Development Council)


    In 1985, when Kathy (Harwell) Kee attended her first Cognitive Coaching training, she sensed she had found a special home. She intuitively knew that this new coaching offered the potential of accelerating the productivity and results of her fellow educators. Kathy's passion for coaching was introduced, shared, and taught to her fellow authors. Kathy began by training teachers to coach each other, which led to the first state alternative appraisal process that used Cognitive Coaching as the process for teacher self-reflection, evaluation, and goal setting.

    Through the years, more teachers flocked to this process that respected their knowledge and skills and honored their ability to think and problem solve. Soon, the process moved to principals and central office administrators. In the ensuing years, many districts found Cognitive Coaching to be a valuable process and utilized its concepts and skills in many ways. But as is so often the case, once the initiating administrator moved to other positions or districts, the commitment was lost to the traditional, more objective process and method of goal setting and growth appraisal.

    Many lessons were learned in those early years. The first lesson was how using a coaching process demonstrated respect and connected teachers to reflect on their goals and growth. Teachers valued the opportunity to talk about teaching and learning using this reflective process. A second lesson was that quality thinking and processing takes time. While scarce, the time spent pays dividends in building relationships and results. Another realization is that change is hard, and when barriers arise or difficulties are encountered, the tendency to return to old patterns is predicable. Brain research of today confirms the restraining nature of people and their systems to pull back to what is most comfortable. The most important lesson of all is that once people experience the power of coaching, they unleash their potential for great change and success. Neuroscience has provided the proof that the nature of coaching and its impact on the brain holds the most important avenue for deep change and learning. Therefore, coaching is our new essential.

    Each of us as authors has experienced, first hand, the power of coaching and has realized our life's purpose is this work. Our dream is that all educators will have the experience of having a coach who supports their leadership transformation from directing and judging to RESULTS Coaching.

    How We Came to Be

    In the spring of 2000, Learning Forward, or, as it was known then, the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), selected 27 educators from around the nation to participate in a special training with Dave Ellis and his Brande Foundation for the purpose of becoming coaches to educators. This training was designed to provide the knowledge and skills to support principals, superintendents, and other school leaders in successfully meeting the challenges of working with diverse student populations, high stakes accountability, and the ever increasing demands of school leadership. When the experience ended, some knew this was their life's work. Those educators are an alliance of dedicated professional educational leaders from across the United States—now known as Coaching for Results—who are trained in leadership coaching processes. Coaching for Results, Incorporated is dedicated to helping school leaders achieve extraordinary results, both professionally and personally. We support and foster confident, competent, courageous school leaders who lead their schools to high performance.

    • Throughout this book, readers will thrill in the success stories and coaching experiences of the authors. Each one is based on our work that has taken place over a decade. Because of the confidential integrity of coaching, the names and districts have been changed, but the words and examples are real.
    • Educators in this book who receive coaching are called clients. They are superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, central office staff, assistant principals, and teachers.


    To Robert Garmston and Art Costa for their gift of Cognitive Coaching. Special appreciation for being Kathy's first teachers and friends. Your legacy will live forever in the legacies of countless educators.

    To Dennis Sparks for bringing Life Coaching to a national group of educators in 1999. The collaboration with the Brande Foundation and Dave Ellis offered a coaching experience to hundreds of superintendents and principals over several years and began our commitment to promote coaching for school leaders across our country.

    To the hundreds of superintendents and school leaders who have provided the opportunity for us to realize our vision. Their courage, trust, and confidence have provided our stories and our most profound learning.

    To the hundreds of coaches, authors, and consultants who over 10 years have focused our work and thinking on the critical need for coaching in schools; our bookshelves are full of their books; our heads are spinning with great thoughts and connections.

    To Reba Schumacher, our friend and coaching colleague, whose support, essential stories, heart-centered knowledge, and joyful collaboration will forever be cherished.

    To Coaching for Results, Inc., Marceta Reilly and Diana Williams, and all our colleagues who share our passion and who contributed experiences and insights to this work.

    To Dave Ellis and his wonderful team of coaches who ushered us into the professional world of coaching, and to Dave, who so generously gave us his strategies and tools to expand our work and especially his three by five cards to dream big and without limits—then double it!

    To David Rock, author of Quiet Leadership, who connected the dots to our beliefs and neuroscience evidence and who inspires us with every article.

    Shirley Hord, scholar emerita, who continually asked, “How do you know?” and collected the data that supported the findings of our early work.

    Francine Campone, MCC, ICF for fine tuning our skills and work toward our ICF certification and continually supporting our growth through professional development.

    Ginger Cockerham, MCC, ICF for supporting our journey by providing professional growth to us in the beginning stages of our work that accelerated and focused our goals and skills.

    NSDC for feeding our minds for years, linking us all together in coaching, and providing connections to systems to do our work.

    Our editor, Leslie Blair, for helping us successfully navigate the process of preparing our work for publishing.

    Our proofreader, Connie Dodd, for her generous time and tender feedback.

    To our families who generously supported us and gave us the time to complete this dream—our own three by five goal card!

    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following individuals:

    Jennifer Baadsgaard, Principal

    Ed White Middle School

    San Antonio, TX

    Randel Beaver, Superintendent

    Archer City ISD

    Archer City, TX

    Marie Blum, Superintendent

    Canaseraga Central School District

    Canaseraga, NY

    Margarete Couture, Principal

    South Seneca Central School District

    Interlaken, NY

    Robert Frick, Superintendent

    Lampeter-Strasburg School District

    Lampeter, PA

    Michelle Gayle, Principal

    James S. Richards High School

    Tallahassee, FL

    Kathy Tritz-Rhodes, Principal

    Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Schools

    Marcus and Cleghorn, IA

    About the Authors

    Kathryn (Harwell) Kee is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and conflict mediator. With coaching as her first love and passion, currently Kathy is honored to serve as a leadership coach and consultant to numerous elementary, middle, and high school principals, assistant principals, and teachers in schools in Texas and across the United States. As an educational consultant, she is a national trainer for Cognitive Coaching; Adaptive Schools, Carolyn Downey's Walk-Through for Reflective Practice; Supervisory Language for Accelerating Results, with Dr. John Crain; Mentoring and Coaching Skills from Teachers to Superintendents, Powerful Communication Skills, and multiple educational leadership topics. A special joy for Kathy is her service as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas where she supports new promising administrators during their final classes and internships.

    Kathy served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, director of staff development, director of gifted education, campus instructional dean, department head, reading specialist and teacher in rural, urban, military, and suburban school districts during her 40 years in education. She has a BA in psychology and sociology and a MEd from Louisiana State University and Southern University. In addition, she has worked on a doctorate in public administration at the University of Texas at Arlington and received numerous certifications from Texas Woman's University, University of Oklahoma, and Southwest Missouri University.

    Her greatest honors include serving as the first president and executive director of the Texas Staff Development Council and serving as board member and president of Learning Forward (formerly the National Staff Development Council) from 1994–1999. She is a founding member of Coaching For Results, Inc., and serves as one of its board directors, responsible for the Teaching and Learning Division. She serves as a trainer and mentor to coaches. Kathy has written numerous articles, including, “Say It Like a Coach” for NSDC and “Why the Brain Needs Coaching” for Coaching School Results.

    Karen Anderson is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and learning facilitator who is passionate about coaching educators to higher levels of performance. Karen's clients report greater clarity, goal achievement, and improved results for staff and students. She has been a public school educator for over 41 years. Her expertise is facilitating groups focused on working collaboratively to discover solutions and improve processes and delivery systems. She is a national trainer and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Texas A&M University-Commerce. From 1996–2004, she served as the executive director of the Texas Staff Development Council and was recognized as the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Karen is a founding member of Coaching for Results, Inc. (CFR) and is currently responsible for the Teaching and Learning Division. Her responsibilities include the design, development, and delivery of internal and external professional learning experiences that provide ongoing growth for CFR coaches and those desiring to become coaches. She also serves as a CFR trainer, facilitator for coaching labs, and mentor for those developing their coaching skills.

    Karen completed Dave Ellis' life coach training from Falling Awake, is an active member of the ICF, and holds certification as a PCC. She is also a member of the North Texas–ICF Chapter. She has authored numerous articles, including “Coaching for High Performance” and “Leadership Coaching for Principals.”

    Vicky Dearing is an experienced educator, leadership coach, and consultant with more than 42 combined years of successful experience in both public education and the business world. She holds a MEd from Texas Woman's University, with a major in supervision and a minor in gifted education. She has been a teacher, central office administrator, and principal and has been recognized at the district, state, and national levels. She has directed gifted and talented programs for two school districts and served as elementary principal for three schools, leading each to increased academic achievement and state recognition. One school received a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. After retiring from public education, Vicky moved into the business arena working for a national education company. During her eight years with the company, she advanced from National Director of Training to Senior Vice President of Training and Implementation responsible for the development and delivery of training and implementation services to teachers across the United States while working directly with some of the largest school districts in our nation. After retiring from her work with the national education company, she served as lead evaluator and co-evaluator of products associated with a large urban education service center. Recently, she served as a consultant and member of the leadership team for the American College of Education.

    Vicky is passionate about learning and living a life of intention and integrity. She is a committed member of her church, serving in multiple leadership roles, including chair of the Church Administrative Council and facilitator of women's Bible studies, which led to the challenging and rewarding opportunity to provide training to incarcerated women. Having studied under Art Garmston and Bob Costa and Coaching School Results, she has been involved with coaching for more than 12 years. While serving as a principal, Vicky was a district level trainer for Cognitive Coaching and also served on the district level team that implemented a coaching alternative to the state level teacher evaluation process. Vicky describes her work in coaching as a “transformational and life changing.” She says, “Once you experience the real power of coaching, you're hooked for life.” As a CSR Coach, she coaches school leaders from across the United States and Canada and consistently receives high ratings for her work. She serves on the Board of Directors of Coaching For Results, Inc. and is certified as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation.

    Edna Harris has worked as an educator in several large suburban school districts for more than 30 years. She has experience as a teacher, supervisor, reading coordinator, principal, and staff developer. She has developed curriculum and training materials for several organizations and school districts. She has presented training sessions for numerous professional organizations and universities, primarily in the area of implementing effective staff development programs.

    In 1992–1993, Edna served as president of the Texas Staff Development Council. She was named Texas Staff Developer of the Year in 1997. She has served on a variety of national-and state-level task forces designed to promote effective staff development practice, including teacher certification and legislative policies. In addition to the growth opportunities she has had as a consultant and school district administrator, she serves in a variety of leadership roles in her church. She continually strives to enhance her skills in the areas of group facilitation, understanding and sharing the link between teacher training and student success, coaching, and leadership development. Edna is a founding member of Coaching for Results and is certified through International Coach Federation as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC).

    Frances Shuster has been professionally coaching for more than 10 years in the areas of leadership development, transformational change, executive effectiveness, and strategic thinking and planning. In addition to guiding her clients to develop insights, she partners with them to co-design positive actions that lead to acceleration of goal achievement.

    She is a founding member and president of the nonprofit organization, Coaching For Results, Inc., an active member of the ICF, 2006 president of the ICF, North Texas Chapter, and credentialed as a PCC. She is a faculty member and supervising coach in the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management ICF Accredited Coach Training Program and a coach in the Executive MBA program.

    In addition to coaching, Frances is an international presenter and expert facilitator. Prior to becoming a coach, she was a director of staff development and a national literacy consultant. She has written and delivered numerous leadership training programs. Publications include tips booklets for teachers—Effective Parent Conferences and Time Management for Teachers.

    Frances obtained her BS from the University of Texas in Austin and her MEd from the University of North Texas. She received her coach training from the Center for Cognitive Coaching, Breakthrough Enterprises, and Coach U.

  • Conclusion

    In the Introduction to our book, we stated our intention to provide a guide that will inspire and motivate school leaders to commit to the use of new essential coaching behaviors for greater results for their schools and relationships.

    Our passion for coaching is rewarded by watching people bloom and expand into incredible leaders and educators. And nothing is greater evidence or more revealing than the words that come from those we coach when it comes to the impact that has been made on both their personal and professional lives. Our work has inspired so many and offered provocative reflections in many forms. Here are two we would like to share.

    My Coach and Me
    By Rachel Nance (2004)

    3:15 my time

    I wait for the phone to ring

    Anticipating that she will help me decide

    What I've already


    Or make sense of it

    Not making sense

    Someone new and unknown

    But not

    I open

    She helps me

    Into, through, out of and away

    I can say what I want, fear, and dream

    I talk and am heard

    I'm clear and understood

    I'm risking and safe

    Thank you for letting me

    Slow down




    And then believe.

    Growing Pains
    By Melissa True (2009)

    Today I grew—and it hurt.

    Dealing inside my own head, my own heart.

    Allowing thoughts to swirl, doubts to run amok.

    Chastising myself for wrongs I must right.

    Realizing my first step has already begun.

    The lump in my throat makes this experience too real to forget.

    Forgiving myself—there is power in that.

    Starting today, I make things right.

    Guilt-free, I give myself freedom to try and maybe even fail.

    Leading is about taking the risk and being transparent, while helping others realize the value within themselves.

    Today I grew—and it feels great.

    Our continuing work in the field has allowed us to write about lessons we have learned from our work with school leaders. Seeing the profound impact of learning the knowledge and skills of coaching continues to inspire and motivate us to recommit to our purpose of helping school leaders achieve extraordinary results. Our work is to support and foster confident, competent, courageous school leaders who lead their schools to high performance.

    We believe coaching holds the greatest possibility for building and creating environments that support and build capacity in others in a way that will influence more effective and transformative teaching and learning for our students. With each new coach leader who is committed to leading schools in this way, the mission is advanced.

    RESULTS Coaching is the new essential for today's school leaders. Being a “coach-leader” is a key competency, a new identity, for anyone in the business of building capacity of teachers, staff, and students. Because coaching language and skills require alignment of the integrity of one's attitudes and behaviors, coaching continually strengthens emotional intelligence for self-awareness, self-control, motivation, social awareness, and skill enhancement. On a daily basis, coaching challenges the leader to walk the talk—to continuously grow and improve before modeling and leading others. Being the coach leader offers the opportunity to create school communities that inspire and motivate for excellence and results!


    Resource A: Results Coaching—GPS—Visual

    Resource B: Results Coaching—Model—Visual

    Resource C: Assessments

    Resource C1: CFR Communication Assessment

    Resource C2: Intention Self Assessment

    Resource C3: Committed Listening Tool

    Resource D: ICF Code of Ethics

    International Coach Federation

    Part One: Definition of Coaching
    Section 1: Definitions
    • Coaching: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
    • A professional coaching relationship: A professional coaching relationship exists when coaching includes a business agreement or contract that defines the responsibilities of each party.
    • An ICF Professional Coach: An ICF Professional Coach also agrees to practice the ICF Professional Core Competencies and pledges accountability to the ICF Code of Ethics.

    In order to clarify roles in the coaching relationship, it is often necessary to distinguish between the client and the sponsor. In most cases, the client and sponsor are the same person and therefore jointly referred to as the client. For purposes of identification, however, the International Coach Federation defines these roles as follows:

    • Client: The “client” is the person(s) being coached.
    • Sponsor: The “sponsor” is the entity (including its representatives) paying for and/or arranging for coaching services to be provided.

    In all cases, coaching engagement contracts or agreements should clearly establish the rights, roles, and responsibilities for both the client and sponsor if they are not the same persons.

    Part Two: The ICF Standards of Ethical Conduct

    Preamble: ICF Professional Coaches aspire to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively upon the coaching profession; are respectful of different approaches to coaching; and recognize that they are also bound by applicable laws and regulations.

    Section 1: Professional Conduct at Large

    As a coach:

    • I will not knowingly make any public statement that is untrue or misleading about what I offer as a coach, or make false claims in any written documents relating to the coaching profession or my credentials or the ICF.
    • I will accurately identify my coaching qualifications, expertise, experience, certifications and ICF Credentials.
    • I will recognize and honor the efforts and contributions of others and not misrepresent them as my own. I understand that violating this standard may leave me subject to legal remedy by a third party.
    • I will, at all times, strive to recognize personal issues that may impair, conflict, or interfere with my coaching performance or my professional coaching relationships. Whenever the facts and circumstances necessitate, I will promptly seek professional assistance and determine the action to be taken, including whether it is appropriate to suspend or terminate my coaching relationship(s).
    • I will conduct myself in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics in all coach training, coach mentoring, and coach supervisory activities.
    • I will conduct and report research with competence, honesty, and within recognized scientific standards and applicable subject guidelines. My research will be carried out with the necessary consent and approval of those involved, and with an approach that will protect participants from any potential harm. All research efforts will be performed in a manner that complies with all the applicable laws of the country in which the research is conducted.
    • I will maintain, store, and dispose of any records created during my coaching business in a manner that promotes confidentiality, security, and privacy, and complies with any applicable laws and agreements.
    • I will use ICF member contact information (e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) only in the manner and to the extent authorized by the ICF.
    Section 2: Conflicts of Interest

    As a coach:

    • I will seek to avoid conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest and openly disclose any such conflicts. I will offer to remove myself when such a conflict arises.
    • I will disclose to my client and his or her sponsor all anticipated compensation from third parties that I may pay or receive for referrals of that client.
    • I will only barter for services, goods or other non-monetary remuneration when it will not impair the coaching relationship.
    • I will not knowingly take any personal, professional, or monetary advantage or benefit of the coach-client relationship, except by a form of compensation as agreed in the agreement or contract.
    Section 3: Professional Conduct with Clients

    As a coach:

    • I will not knowingly mislead or make false claims about what my client or sponsor will receive from the coaching process or from me as the coach.
    • I will not give my prospective clients or sponsors information or advice I know or believe to be misleading or false.
    • I will have clear agreements or contracts with my clients and sponsor(s). I will honor all agreements or contracts made in the context of professional coaching relationships.
    • I will carefully explain and strive to ensure that, prior to or at the initial meeting, my coaching client and sponsor(s) understand the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements, and any other terms of the coaching agreement or contract.
    • I will be responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries that govern any physical contact I may have with my clients or sponsors.
    • I will not become sexually intimate with any of my current clients or sponsors.
    • I will respect the client's right to terminate the coaching relationship at any point during the process, subject to the provisions of the agreement or contract. I will be alert to indications that the client is no longer benefiting from our coaching relationship.
    • I will encourage the client or sponsor to make a change if I believe the client or sponsor would be better served by another coach or by another resource.
    • I will suggest my client seek the services of other professionals when deemed necessary or appropriate.
    Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy

    As a coach:

    • I will maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information. I will have a clear agreement or contract before releasing information to another person, unless required by law.
    • I will have a clear agreement upon how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client, and sponsor.
    • When acting as a trainer of student coaches, I will clarify confidentiality policies with the students.
    • I will have associated coaches and other persons whom I manage in service of my clients and their sponsors in a paid or volunteer capacity make clear agreements or contracts to adhere to the ICF Code of Ethics Part 2, Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy standards and the entire ICF Code of Ethics to the extent applicable.
    Part Three: The ICF Pledge of Ethics

    As an ICF Professional Coach, I acknowledge and agree to honor my ethical and legal obligations to my coaching clients and sponsors, colleagues, and to the public at large. I pledge to comply with the ICF Code of Ethics, and to practice these standards with those whom I coach.

    If I breach this Pledge of Ethics or any part of the ICF Code of Ethics, I agree that the ICF in its sole discretion may hold me accountable for so doing. I further agree that my accountability to the ICF for any breach may include sanctions, such as loss of my ICF membership and/or my ICF Credentials.

    Approved by the Ethics and Standards Committee on October 30, 2008.

    Approved by the ICF Board of Directors on December 18, 2008.

    Resource E: ICF Professional Coaching Core Competencies

    A. Setting the Foundation
    • Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
    • Establishing the Coaching Agreement
    B. Co-Creating the Relationship
    • Establishing Trust and Intimacy With the Client
    • Coaching Presence
    C. Communicating Effectively
    • Active Listening
    • Powerful Questioning
    • Direct Communication
    D. Facilitating Learning and Results
    • Creating Awareness
    • Designing Actions
    • Planning and Goal Setting
    • Managing Progress and Accountability
    A. Setting the Foundation
    • Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards - Understanding of coaching ethics and standards and ability to apply them appropriately in all coaching situations
      • Understands and exhibits in own behaviors the ICF Standards of Conduct (see list, Part III of ICF Code of Ethics);
      • Understands and follows all ICF Ethical Guidelines (see list);
      • Clearly communicates the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy and other support professions;
      • Refers client to another support professional as needed, knowing when this is needed and the available resources.
    • Establishing the Coaching Agreement - Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship
      • Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (e.g., logistics, fees, scheduling, inclusion of others if appropriate);
      • Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client's and coach's responsibilities;
      • Determines whether there is an effective match between his/her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client.
    B. Co-Creating the Relationship
    • Establishing Trust and Intimacy With the Client - Ability to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust
      • Shows genuine concern for the client's welfare and future;
      • Continuously demonstrates personal integrity, honesty and sincerity;
      • Establishes clear agreements and keeps promises;
      • Demonstrates respect for client's perceptions, learning style, personal being;
      • Provides ongoing support for and champions new behaviors and actions, including those involving risk taking and fear of failure;
      • Asks permission to coach client in sensitive, new areas.
    • Coaching Presence - Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident
      • Is present and flexible during the coaching process, dancing in the moment;
      • Accesses own intuition and trusts one's inner knowing - “goes with the gut”;
      • Is open to not knowing and takes risks;
      • Sees many ways to work with the client, and chooses in the moment what is most effective;
      • Uses humor effectively to create lightness and energy;
      • Confidently shifts perspectives and experiments with new possibilities for own action;
      • Demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions, and can self-manage and not be overpowered or enmeshed by client's emotions.
    C. Communicating Effectively
    • Active Listening - Ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client's desires, and to support client self-expression
      • Attends to the client and the client's agenda, and not to the coach's agenda for the client;
      • Hears the client's concerns, goals, values and beliefs about what is and is not possible;
      • Distinguishes between the words, the tone of voice, and the body language;
      • Summarizes, paraphrases, reiterates, mirrors back what client has said to ensure clarity and understanding;
      • Encourages, accepts, explores and reinforces the client's expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs, suggestions, and so on;
      • Integrates and builds on client's ideas and suggestions;
      • “Bottom-lines” or understands the essence of the client's communication and helps the client get there rather than engaging in long descriptive stories;
      • Allows the client to vent or “clear” the situation without judgment or attachment in order to move on to next steps.
    • Powerful Questioning - Ability to ask questions that reveal the information needed for maximum benefit to the coaching relationship and the client
      • Asks questions that reflect active listening and an understanding of the client's perspective;
      • Asks questions that evoke discovery, insight, commitment or action (e.g., those that challenge the client's assumptions);
      • Asks open-ended questions that create greater clarity, possibility, or new learning;
      • Asks questions that move the client towards what they desire, not questions that ask for the client to justify or look backwards.
    • Direct Communication - Ability to communicate effectively during coaching sessions and to use language that has the greatest positive impact on the client
      • Is clear, articulate, and direct in sharing and providing feedback;
      • Reframes and articulates to help the client understand from another perspective what he or she wants or is uncertain about;
      • Clearly states coaching objectives, meeting agenda, purpose of techniques or exercises;
      • Uses language appropriate and respectful to the client (e.g., nonsexist, nonracist, nontechnical, nonjargon);
      • Uses metaphor and analogy to help to illustrate a point or paint a verbal picture.
    D. Facilitating Learning and Results
    • Creating Awareness - Ability to integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client to gain awareness and thereby achieve agreed-upon results
      • Goes beyond what is said in assessing client's concerns, not getting hooked by the client's description;
      • Invokes inquiry for greater understanding, awareness, and clarity;
      • Identifies for the client his or her underlying concerns, typical and fixed ways of perceiving himself or herself and the world, differences between the facts and the interpretation, disparities between thoughts, feelings and action;
      • Helps clients to discover for themselves the new thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, emotions, moods, and so on that strengthen their ability to take action and achieve what is important to them;
      • Communicates broader perspectives to clients and inspires commitment to shift their viewpoints and find new possibilities for action;
      • Helps clients to see the different, interrelated factors that affect them and their behaviors (e.g., thoughts, emotions, body, background);
      • Expresses insights to clients in ways that are useful and meaningful for the client;
      • Identifies major strengths versus major areas for learning and growth and what is most important to address during coaching;
      • Asks the client to distinguish between trivial and significant issues, situational versus recurring behaviors, when detecting a separation between what is being stated and what is being done.
    • Designing Actions - Ability to create with the client opportunities for ongoing learning, during coaching and in work and/or life situations, and for taking new actions that will most effectively lead to agreed-upon coaching results
      • Brainstorms and assists the client to define actions that will enable the client to demonstrate, practice, and deepen new learning;
      • Helps the client to focus on and systematically explore specific concerns and opportunities that are central to agreed-upon coaching goals;
      • Engages the client to explore alternative ideas and solutions, to evaluate options, and to make related decisions;
      • Promotes active experimentation and self-discovery, where the client applies what has been discussed and learned during sessions immediately afterwards in his or her work or life setting;
      • Celebrates client successes and capabilities for future growth;
      • Challenges client's assumptions and perspectives to provoke new ideas and find new possibilities for action;
      • Advocates or brings forward points of view that are aligned with client goals and, without attachment, engages the client to consider them;
      • Helps the client “Do It Now” during the coaching session, providing immediate support;
      • Encourages stretches and challenges but also a comfortable pace of learning.
    • Planning and Goal Setting - Ability to develop and maintain an effective coaching plan with the client
      • Consolidates collected information and establishes a coaching plan and development goals with the client that address concerns and major areas for learning and development;
      • Creates a plan with results that are attainable, measurable, specific and have target dates;
      • Makes plan adjustments as warranted by the coaching process and by changes in the situation;
      • Helps the client identify and access different resources for learning (e.g., books, other professionals);
      • Identifies and targets early successes that are important to the client.
    • Managing Progress and Accountability - Ability to hold attention on what is important for the client and to leave responsibility with the client to take action
    • Clearly requests of the client actions that will move the client toward their stated goals;
    • Demonstrates follow through by asking the client about those actions that the client committed to during the previous session(s);
    • Acknowledges the client for what they have done, not done, learned, or become aware of since the previous coaching session(s);
    • Effectively prepares, organizes, and reviews with client information obtained during sessions;
    • Keeps the client on track between sessions by holding attention on the coaching plan and outcomes, agreed-upon courses of action, and topics for future session(s);
    • Focuses on the coaching plan but is also open to adjusting behaviors and actions based on the coaching process and shifts in direction during sessions;
    • Is able to move back and forth between the big picture of where the client is heading, setting a context for what is being discussed and where the client wishes to go;
    • Promotes client's self-discipline and holds the client accountable for what they say they are going to do, for the results of an intended action, or for a specific plan with related time frames;
    • Develops the client's ability to make decisions, address key concerns, and develop himself or herself (to get feedback, to determine priorities and set the pace of learning, to reflect on and learn from experiences);
    • Positively confronts the client with the fact that he or she did not take agreed-upon actions.

    Resource F: Evaluation and Testimonials

    Resource F1: Evaluation of Coaching Services

    How We Have Evaluated Our Work

    Coaching for Results has endeavored to evaluate the professional development programs and coaching services that are offered. The evaluation consists of two strands: (1) There is a standardized evaluation administered after each event, and (2) We seek to understand the impact of our services and make meaning of what is reported through periodic qualitative phenomenological studies. The data on file with Coaching For Results, Inc. from 2003–2009 represents involvement with over 800 educators. We continually strive for greater accountability, greater clarity of our purpose, and greater understanding of impact.

    The following summary shows key findings of phenomenological studies undertaken since 2003.

    The following data represent standardized evaluation reports collected by CFR from coaching workshops across the country. The workshop evaluation forms are based on a five-point Likert Scale with five (5) being the highest value.

    Resource F2: Rave Reviews for Coaching for Results Seminars

    Coaching School Results consistently receives outstanding feedback from seminar participants. Here are just a few comments by recent participants:

    “Imagine having the skills for listening, reframing of questions, believing in others, and open communication that supports the success of all on your campus daily. The power of coaching will build on these skills and many more to ensure your students and campus family will grow and continue to be successful.”

    Jerry Miracle, Campus Instructional Coordinator, Clements/Parsons Elementary; Copperas Cove ISD

    “This course is essential to effectively communicate in all aspects of your life. The skills gained through this training are going to help me become a powerful coach and person. I feel that it will impact me in every aspect of my life.”

    Erica Reyes, Instructional Development Coordinator, Salesmanship Club, Dallas, TX

    “Regardless of whatever experience or background you bring with you, opportunities to grow are abundant. The information shared is applicable in both professional and personal areas and can enrich relationships across the board. Coaching empowers us to make a difference.”

    Zelene Lovitt, At-Risk Facilitator, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

    “This experience inspires me to make some very positive changes in both my personal and professional life. I feel that every education leader would benefit from this phenomenal professional development.”

    Marsha Watson, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, White Oak ISD

    “This seminar is a gift that is life changing for me, both professionally and personally. I believe that the principles of coaching have the power to change the way we relate to others which will greatly increase results.”

    Beth Crisp, District Reading Specialist, Richardson ISD

    Resource G: Reflective Feedback, Skill Essays, and Coaching Scripts

    Resource G1

    Resource G2: Reflective Feedback Practice

    Practice 1

    The purpose of this practice is to help learners wrap their mind around the three options for Reflective Feedback—Clarify, Value or value potential, or Reflective questions for possibilities.

    • Divide the room into thirds with each group having one type of reflective feedback.
    • Offer a scenario appropriate for the audience (e.g., a principal who wants to do more walkthroughs, a teacher who wants to incorporate more active learning strategies, etc.)
    • Ask each third of the room to offer the type of feedback assigned.
    • After sharing, change the type of feedback the group has and repeat the practice.
    Modeling Feedback Protocol
    • The Feedback Practice Protocol follows below.
    • Review the Protocol prior to modeling. This step is important for creating the Big Picture of expected behaviors, norms, and process steps that support successful use of the protocol.
    • Leaders may want to model it first and then staff will repeat the process at their tables. One of the trainers gives an issue and others offer feedback following the steps in the protocol.
    • Large Group Debrief, the whole group will debrief of benefits of using this protocol.
    Practice 2—Using a Structured Protocol for Reflective Feedback

    In small groups, learners will practice using the feedback protocol. It may be helpful for trainers to help the groups determine roles—a facilitator of the process, the person sharing the issue, and a timekeeper prior to beginning the protocol.

    Provide the following instructions:

    • One member of your group will share a puzzling or worrisome issue from the past year. He or she will share some of his or her experiences and actions. That member will have five minutes to share. The conversation will be confidential.
    • After the person has shared, members of the group will write down as many questions or statements as they like from the Reflective Feedback guide. They will have three minutes to think and write.
    • Beginning with the person to the left of the speaker, each person will offer only one type of reflective feedback—either a question or statement for Clarifying, for Value Potential, or for Reflective Question or Possibility.
    • Each person will offer only one question or statement going around the group. There is no cross talk, and the speaker only listens, considers, or possibly takes notes.
    • Once each group member offers one question or statement, the group will go around again until all statements or questions are exhausted. Once completed, the speaker has a few moments to think and then respond to the group.
    • The speaker needs to know that he or she is not required to respond to all individual questions or statements; the speaker is only required to share new thoughts, ideas, or considerations he or she now has as a result of the sharing.
    • The members agree and understand that their feelings will not be hurt if the speaker does not comment on their statement or question.
    • Once all ideas are shared and the speaker has responded to the whole group, Cross Talk is allowed as the members share the benefit of this experience.
    • Whole Group Reflection
      • What worked for you in this conversation protocol?
      • What was difficult?
      • What was easier than expected?
      • How did the language of reflective feedback positively impact the sharing?
      • What refinements would you make? (Using Reflective Feedback)

    Facilitator Note: Ask the group permission to gently nudge them to refine their questions or statements. Remind everyone that we are learning new language and patterns of language. Gently offer a question if the feedback does not represent the attributes of the type of reflective feedback. Because it is important not to practice incorrectly, interrupt politely. We might say something like, “She has thought about it; now, talk with her as if she has thought about it.”

    Elementary people tend to use judgmental language because they praise all the time. Positive judgment is still judgment. Move them, from “I like” to feedback that shows value such as, “The strength of your … was,” or “There is evidence of. …”

    Resource G3

    Sounds of Silence
    By JaneBidlack

    We all live in a fast-paced, noise-filled world that seems to become louder each day. Even when we try to escape and relax, we continue to stay attached to cell phones, computers, iPods, and many other forms of technology that interrupt any possibility to experience total quiet. We are so accustomed to having noise around us that we are often very uncomfortable with silence, and yet we know that silence is a critical attribute of skillful listening. We can all plead guilty to being distracted while trying to listen or formulating what we are going to say next before the other person even completes his or her thought.

    In coaching, each of us is eager to use the variety of skills that we have learned to encourage our clients to see themselves as capable of self-discovery, problem solving, reflection, and change. Our training and practical experience as coaches may lead to a tendency to be very busy, focusing our attention when we are with a client. We all know the value of active listening in the coaching process, and silence is an effective and essential tool in listening. How does silence factor into our coaching skills?

    Gandhi says, “In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.”

    Silence, when used in conversation, may empower another person and help build a relationship as well. This is a challenge—to be comfortable with just being quiet is an acquired art. Silence can produce some of the best results of reflection and insight because we give a client the gift of time to work things out in his or her own brain. When we hold back and remain silent, we allow clients to discover more about what they are thinking and feeling and what they really want and also how we can best help them. It helps clients slow down their minds to discover more effective solutions to areas of concern. We give them a time and place to dig deeper and deal with an issue. Silence can lead clients to a break through or catharsis—that great leap to new understanding.

    An added benefit of silence occurs because we send a strong message that the client's words and insights are important. This can help a person feel a sense of increased capacity. Silence is active attention and can be fully effective in coaching when the client accepts trust and support from the coach. Silence, when used correctly, is not abandonment—it is heightened presence. What happens on the other side of silence is often an exercise of problem solving, innovation, thinking, and brilliant ahas!

    Silence can be uncomfortable. We must learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. We need to give clients assurance that we are listening and interested and that they are cared for while the silence settles in. It can be a powerful tool for those who use it well. Silence works wonders in letting clients know that we see them as capable. Silence also allows us to listen better to ourselves.

    Utilizing the sounds of silence is truly a tool in the masterful coach's art of communication.

    Jane Bidlack serves as a leadership coach with Coaching For Results, Inc. She has been a school administrator for seventeen years and delights in offering individual support for current school leaders to realize their full potential through the coaching process. For more information about Jane and our other coaches, go to and click on “coaches.”
    Coaching School Results, 2009
    Resource G4

    Principal and Coach Conversation

    (1) Coach: Good Morning, Linda. How are you today? And … how are those beautiful and brilliant grandkids you were seeing this past month?

    (2) Principal: Oh, I am fine, just behind as usual (sense of frantic in tone) … but seeing those kids was so special. They were in town for a long weekend and wow, how they have grown. It was great to be with them. Thanks so much for asking.

    (3) Coach: Was that stress that I heard in your voice. What's going on?

    (4) Principal: Well, I am feeling a lot of pressure, probably self-imposed, but I can't seem to focus on the right things at the right time. Walking through classes has brought to light literacy issues, math issues, science issues, and even management issues. I feel like I am racing, but I don't know which way to go. Ha!

    (5) Coach: Linda, sounds like you have several curricular and instructional areas needing your attention. To be the most helpful to you in our time together, which area would you like to focus on first? Literacy, math, science, management, or another area?

    (6) Principal: Oh, without a doubt, literacy.

    (7) Coach: So, what's going on?

    (8) Principal: This year, our district has been pushing for a more “balanced literacy” approach in reading in every classroom. My teachers have been to training, and I have tried to provide time for focus on balanced literacy at many faculty meetings. Yet when I walk through classrooms, I still see many of the old practices rather than the strategies we have been focusing on or taught in professional development. I am getting pretty upset about the “hold out” and refusal to teach in a way that has more potential for student learning. I guess I need to have a difficult conversation with a few of my teachers who just don't get it.

    (9) Coach: Linda, you are truly committed to the use of balanced literacy as the way to maximize reading and writing success for you kids, and you are disappointed at not seeing the application in your classrooms at the level you expected by now.

    (10) Principal: Yes, we have brought in consultants, we have taught so many strategies, and I thought everyone was on board. It is time for several teachers to just get on with it.

    (11) Coach: Let's play a little and pretend. In the morning, you wake up and go to school. A miracle has happened. As you walk through your school, every classroom is a model of balanced literacy. You are so thrilled and excited for your teachers and students! What are you seeing that thrills you?

    (12) Principal: Oh, wow, I see all the components of balanced literacy. … I see the teachers reading aloud to students, being a model of a fluent reader while students are being active listeners. I see teachers and students reading text together, practicing fluency and phrasing, which increases comprehension. I see my teachers using guided reading that builds on their reading strategies, which is increasing student motivation to read. I see students reading independently because they are confident and feel good about reading. And everywhere, students are working together on writing, expressing themselves, becoming good spellers, and enjoying the fun of writing and reading with others. Oh, my gosh. I am a happy principal!

    (13) Coach: What a fabulous image of learning you have for your campus! You want to see not only the skill but also the joyful motivation of the balanced literacy process.

    (14) Principal: Oh, yes … so what do I do to get there?

    (15) Coach: Knowing that transfer is one of the most powerful strategies required in order for the brain to make connections to new learning, what balanced literacy strategies are you currently seeing in your classrooms that your teachers are doing that you can build upon—that would reinforce their confidence and competence as implementers of a stronger balanced literacy program?

    (16) Principal: Well, hmmmm, they are doing some things … (silence) … they are using guided reading, they are focusing on building vocabulary, and … (silence) … they are doing several things I can connect to … oh, my gosh, (silence) … I am not pointing out what I am seeing. I am only focused on what I am not. Oh, oh, … I know exactly what I need to do.

    (17) Coach: Wow, from your face and BMIRS*, it seems the pathway to your vision has gotten clearer. What has become clearer for you?

    (18) Principal: I need to start all over. … Well, maybe not start all over, but I do need to build on what they are doing, the results they are getting, and celebrate the small ways they are implementing balanced literacy.

    (19) Coach: Wow; so you are realizing they are doing some things to affirm and that those things will be the bridge to the next level.

    (20) Principal: Yes! I can affirm what they are doing, even if it is not as much as I would want to see, and hopefully my acknowledgement will provide some positive motivation to do more … and you know, I really think they will want to. (silence)

    (21) Coach: So, what are you thinking will be the next three things you want to do that will provide motivation, support, and scaffolding to your teachers in order for them to have higher levels of success with balanced literacy?

    (22) Principal: Well, hmmmm … I am having a faculty meeting tomorrow. I think I want to celebrate the strong strategies my teachers are using, and I want to label connections to balanced literacy.

    (23) Coach: So, who are you thinking can best support you in making this happen at the faculty meeting?

    * BMIRS=Behavioral Manifestations of Internal Response States

    (24) Principal: Oh, I must enlist my assistant principal so we can together lift the staff up and guide them to next steps.

    (25) Coach: So, your first step, with your assistant, is to have a faculty meeting focused on literacy strategies that are being used and then label them so you can celebrate the many ways your teachers are implementing balanced literacy. What else?

    (26) Principal: Yes, and then, I want to talk with the reading coordinator and share what we are doing and determine the most important aspects of balanced literacy to target for focus and highlighting next.

    (27) Coach: Hot dog, enlisting the central office reading coordinator to support and advocate your process. Genius! What else?

    (28) Principal: I want to meet with my leadership team that includes my team leaders and enlist their ideas and energy to support and label things in their team meetings. They have the pulse of the campus, and feedback from them will help guide me and my assistant principal in knowing what will be needed to continue this journey.

    (29) Coach: Wow, look at the powerful steps you are going to take: first, a general faculty meeting to celebrate, connect, and label; second, enlisting support from the reading coordinator, and third, working strategically with each grade-level leader and team. Your insight to affirm efforts now and enlist others collaboratively will reap many benefits. How exciting to see and hear the joy and excitement on your face and in your voice!

    (30) Principal: Can't believe when we started this conversation I was so frustrated, and now I am excited about what is up coming. Thank you so much.

    (31) Coach: Hey, you did the great thinking! Congratulations! You have a clear plan and are ready to get started creating that vision for your school. Can't wait until we talk again to hear about the things you are celebrating.

    Resource G5

    Teacher Coach Coaching Conversation 1 (First Week of School)

    (1) Teacher: Hi Brad, I hear you are moving into a role of coach this year. When did you decide to do that?

    (2) Coach: Hi, Cindy, yes, I am very excited about the opportunity to support teachers in this new role.

    (3) Teacher: Does this mean you will be in class evaluating how I teach?

    (4) Coach: Oh, no, my role as coach is to support you in your instruction in the way you want. It might be planning or teaching or simply designing your lessons for differentiation. My role is to give you a safe place to think and reflect. I also want you to know that our relationship is confidential. I do not report back to the principal on our conversations. Just like your role as teacher is to support your students to their best learning, my role as coach is to support your best work in teaching. And please know that this doesn't mean I think I know everything about teaching and learning; it just means I offer you a place to think and reflect out loud on your instruction. I will also not show up and tell you what you should be doing. I will support you in the goals you set for your class and campus and your work in meeting the campus expectations. My role is to bring your goals in focus each time we visit.

    (5) Teacher: Well, I haven't been teaching very long, and I hope you will offer suggestions and ideas.

    (6) Coach: I know in the years you have been teaching you have worked very hard going to professional development and learning many strategies for high levels of student engagement. I will bring those successful ideas back for you to use and refine. And of course, I will offer some great strategies we have had in trainings or that I continue to see in classrooms like yours.

    (7) Teacher: Well, I will tell you right now I really get nervous when the principal and others do those learning walks. I am very concerned about academic rigor since most of my students seem to be working at a very low level.

    (8) Coach: Cindy, your concern for your students is evident. You want to begin with students at the appropriate level and at the same time ensure rigor for their learning which sounds like a contradiction.

    (9) Teacher: Exactly, how can instruction be rigorous and also be below level instruction?

    (10) Coach: Cindy, I know you are heading back to class right now, but this will be a great focus for our next conversation. Would it be helpful, when we meet again to review your objectives for the upcoming three weeks, if we take the curriculum and carefully identify the core concepts that your students will master?

    (11) Teacher: Sure, but how will I know from that I will be providing rigor?

    (12) Coach: Cindy, my hunch is that you are already building in rigor with the high engaging strategies and accountable talk you use with your kids. So, when are you available to meet next week?

    (13) Teacher: Well, next Tuesday at this time works for me.

    (14) Coach: Great. So next Tuesday, we will review together the upcoming learning objectives and your tools for evaluating mastery … this will give us an opportunity to consider best practice strategies to ensure rigor.

    (15) Teacher: Wow, thanks. I think I was thinking I had to create lessons at very high levels to be rigorous; I think I am beginning to understand that rigorous learning can be on level learning.

    (16) Coach: You are right. Rigor is about the level of thinking of the student throughout the instruction.

    (17) Teacher: Hey, I think I might get this after all. Looking forward to next week. Thanks again, Brad. Have a great week.

    Coaching Conversations 2 (A Week Later)

    (18) Coach: Hi Cindy. How are you today? I heard your child was sick last week, is he better?

    (19) Teacher: Oh yes, just a 24-hour thing, I guess. Thanks for asking. You know when kids are toddlers, every little fever or cold is scary. But he seems to be back to normal.

    (20) Coach: That is wonderful. So what content for the next three weeks or so do you want to focus on today?

    (21) Teacher: I am thinking I would like our focus to be on math. It is not my most confident content, and I would like to talk out loud about it.

    (22) Coach: So you want to target math instruction and have the same confidence in math as you do other subjects.

    (23) Teacher: Yes. I work hard at planning, but I am never really sure if what I am doing is really rigorous.

    (24) Coach: So, when you plan with your team, what content areas are the focus?

    (25) Teacher: Well, we really spend the most time on language arts … you know, writing and reading is so important, and it consumes a lot of time.

    (26) Coach: Wow, your team planning is targeting another foundation learning that all subjects will reap benefit from.

    (27) Teacher: Yes.

    (28) Coach: So, given our 30 minutes today, how would you like to tackle your math content?

    (29) Teacher: Well, how do I know I am building instruction for academic rigor?

    (30) Coach: So, Cindy, when you describe “academic rigor” to another new teacher … how do you define it?

    (31) Teacher: Well, I think it means that the learning is challenging for students … it's hard.

    (32) Coach: Well, let's pull out the definition to be sure we are working with a clear definition. (Brad pulls out his definitions of the Principles of Learning that he keeps in a plastic sleeve, along with best practice strategies. Together, Brad and Cindy read the attributes of academic rigor.)

    (33) Coach: So as you read this, what insights are you having about academic rigor?

    (34) Teacher: Well, a couple of things … my students must understand the content they are learning and second, they must do the work on making connections about the content. I think, as I read this, that the most important thing I do, as I plan my lessons, is to have very clear learning goals and active strategies for my students.

    (35) Coach: All right, two things you know that will be crucial to rigor. So, having those two things in you mind, let's get into the curriculum, and consider what your content journey may be for the next few weeks.

    (36) Teacher: Cool.

    (37) Coach: Looking at the math instruction for the next three weeks, what will be your specific math goals?

    (38) Teacher: The kids will be deepening their use and understanding of fractions.

    (39) Coach: So, what specifically will the students have to know and do to deepen that understanding and use of fractions?

    (In the next 20 minutes, Coach and Teacher reviewed the curriculum for the next three weeks.)


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    Orem, S., Binkert, J., & Clancy, A. (2007). Appreciative coaching: A positive process for change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    Perkins, D. (2003). King Arthur's round table: How collaborative conversations create smart organizations, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
    Prensky, M. (2001, Oct.). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On The Horizon. 9(5) 1–6.
    Rock, D. (2006). Quiet leadership. New York: Harper Collins.
    Schon, D. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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    Sparks, D. (2006). Leading for results: Transforming teaching, learning, and relationships in schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
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    Corwin: A SAGE Company

    The Corwin logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK–12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”

    Learningforward: Advancing Professional Learning for Student Success

    Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council) is an international association of learning educators committed to one purpose in K-12 education: Every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so every student achieves.

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