I just finished a great book that is perfect for anyone in school leadership. From principals to instructional coaches, the strategies is this book are practical and backed by research. I’ve put together a summary for The Coach Approach to School Leadership review that I hope will give you an idea of what you can find in the book.
If you’re looking for ideas to improve the culture in your building while supporting teachers as a coach rather than a judge, this book is for you.
Principals often find themselves balancing between the role of an evaluator of teachers and a coach for teachers. Throughout the course of this book, the authors offer numerous tools to assist principals in becoming a transformational leader who supports teacher through innovative coaching techniques derived from instructional coaching practices.
Practical solutions to common issues of building relationships, time management, offering feedback, developing teachers skills, and building a cohesive team are provided by the authors to assist principals in their efforts to become an effective coach.
Hero Maker: Reframing the Principal’s Role
Teachers are the heroes in schools. When thinking about the role of the principal, they are the hero makers. They are the supporting players, nurturing a culture of professional collaboration and coaching across the entire school. Effective principal coaches help teachers discover the qualities that make them great teachers and support them in their professional practice. Principal coaches focus on activities that enhance their schools’ community and quality of learning.
Putting On Your Coach’s Hat
Good coaches spend much of their time providing feedback to the players on their team. As the head coach of a school, effective principals spend time with teachers in the classroom outside of the required visits for evaluation.
Getting out of the office and visiting classrooms can help build collegial relationships with teachers and allows the principal to stay in touch with what is happening in the school.
Classroom visits and conversations that are non-judgmental give principals the opportunity to wear the coach hat more often than the evaluator hat and provide meaningful feedback to teachers.
Building Successful Coaching Relationships
Effective leaders are effective influencers with their teams. If a principal can build quality relationships with teachers, they can influence those teachers and the work done as a team daily by powering with them rather than powering over them.
Relationships between principals and teachers can be the most rewarding in schools when the principal, as coach, is fully invested in the success of their teachers.
Giving Feedback to Increase Effectiveness
While feedback from principals can be one of the top influences on student achievement, the quality of the feedback must focus on progress toward challenging goals with clear criteria for success in order to be effective.
Feedback is not advice, praise, or evaluation but information about how progress is being made toward a goal set by the teacher in conjunction with the principal. As a coach, listening to teachers more than speaking when providing feedback will empower them to take ownership of their own professional development.
Time: Managing Your Most Precious Resource
Leaders who consistently overcommit their time can quickly lose the trust of their teams. Mastering a schedule that includes time for formal and informal observations, office work, and providing feedback to teachers throughout the day can help principals reclaim their time.
Rethinking open door polices that, on the surface, seem to foster relationship building, can allow principals to better serve their teachers and support them with dedicated time and focus.
Transforming Your School into a Team
More than 50% of teachers in the United States claim to have never seen a colleague teach (p. 137). Getting teachers into other classrooms can aid in transitioning the team of teachers from a loosely-aligned group of independent practitioners to a cohesive team.
Developing this team requires courage from every member to be open to providing non-judgmental feedback to one another and reflecting on their own practice. Developing this cohesive team can lead to improved outcomes for students and greater professional development opportunities for teachers.