On page 21 of Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives, Joellen Killion begins outlining critical differences between what she defines as coaching heavy and coaching light.

I appreciated the clarity provided from the outset around the notion that coaching light is often our entry point into this work with teachers. Coaching in this way allows us to build relationships, establish credibility, and meet the needs of those who are interested in adopting new practices.

The same can happen if we take a heavy coaching approach as well, though. I appreciated Killion’s nod to rigor, results, and evidenced-based reflection. Below, you will find  some of the indicators that distinguish the approaches from one another, taken from the text. It’s clear to see which kind of coaching probably serves kids best. I’ve spent the last year transitioning toward a heavier coaching approach, and it’s been rewarding and challenging in equal measure. More on that Friday–hope everyone is having a good week!

Coaching Light

Coaching Heavy

The coach provides services that enable him or her to become appreciated by teachers. The coach collaborates with teachers to improve student performance.
Coaches engage in work that will ingratiate them to teachers, particularly those who are hesitant. Coaches and teachers capture and analyze data, and they study the effect of curricula, instruction, and assessment on student performance.
The coach places greater focus on providing requested resources, performing demo lessons, or conducting workshops that teachers have articulated an interest in. Coaches and teachers engage in collaborative discourse and study relevant to their beliefs, their hunches, and what evidence suggests reality is.
The coach avoids conflict and uncomfortable conversations. Coaches develop strategies for illuminating and resolving conflicts. They prompt difficult conversations that lead to meaningful change.
The expectation that teachers will apply what is learned within their classrooms is not reinforced. Coaches refuse requests that may have little impact on student performance.
Teachers may choose whether or not they engage in coaching. All teachers are engaged in coaching.
Teachers report feeling supported. Teachers report discomfort and excitement.
Feedback focuses on teacher behavior rather than student learning. Feedback focuses on how practice is effecting student learning, based upon evidence.
Coaches may not collect data that allows them to study the effectiveness of their own work. Coaches have established protocols and processes for gathering evidence that allows them to study the effectiveness of their work.
The coach is valued. The coach is needed.

1 Comment

  1. Great post – Collaboration: It’s that working together ‘thing’ again. Lots to learn here. Thanks Angela

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