Instructional Coaching Tools

Last week I shared the instructional coaching data tracker I use to help organize and reflect on my work in coaching cycles throughout the year.  In the post I mentioned that I use a variety of other coaching tools to document and organize work with individual teachers.  These are tools that I learned about through my work with with an Expeditionary Learning coaching cohort, to which I owe much of my development as an instructional coach!

Initial Coaching Meeting Tool

At the start of instructional coaching cycles, two of the most important things we can do as coaches is to establish a respectful and trusting rapport with our coachee and also show that we honor them as an adult learner.  You can work to implement these two practices in part by setting up an initial coaching meeting.  The first purpose of this time is to get to know your coachee as a teacher and learner.  The second purpose is to work together to identify a goal for your coaching cycle.  In having this initial coaching conversation, you are establishing yourself as a “thinking partner” who is there to learn along with them.  Additionally, you are setting routines and norms for your work together and clarifying logistics, which I have found helps in preventing potential misunderstandings down the road.  Creating an agenda for this meeting helps to ensure that your time is purposeful and action-oriented.

Download Initial Coaching Meeting Tool

Planning, Goal Setting, and Results Tool

This is a great tool to help you track and organize your coaching goals, how you plan to arrive at these goals, and the results of your work.  After the initial coaching meeting, I set-up a goal setting meeting with teachers and use this tool to guide our conversation.  I’ll revisit it throughout the coaching cycle to ensure that our work is staying on track.  In the final coaching wrap-up meeting I have with teachers, we review and document the results of our work using this tool.  You can then send it on to your principal so that they have a record of the coaching work you have done with individual teachers.

Download Planning, Goal Setting, and Results Tool

Instructional Coaching Observation Tool

This instructional coaching observation form is my go-to tool for all of my coaching observations and debrief conversations.  I record our coaching cycle goal at the top to ensure alignment between learning targets and look-fors in the lesson.  The listed debrief questions always serve as anchors for post observation conversations.  As far as instructional next steps, one thing I have learned is fewer is better!  Ensure that the teacher you are working with has identified and committed to 1-2 instructional next steps they feel will support student progress, but also feel manageable.

Download Instructional Observation Tool

If you have other ideas for instructional coaching tools you have used to support your work, please share!

Thanks for reading.

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26 Responses to “Instructional Coaching Tools”

  1. Lisa August 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Great tools! I have a coach interview this week. Any pointers that will help me land the job? I have ten years of classroom teaching experience, four years of college coaching experience, and a specialist degree in Educational Leadership.

  2. Kristin Houser August 7, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Thanks Lisa! Congratulations on your interview. It sounds like you have some great experience and knowledge to contribute to a coaching position. Over the few years I’ve been coaching, I’ve come to believe that one of the most important qualities of
    an effective coach is the ability to build relational trust with staff. Good luck!

    • Lisa August 16, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      I got the job! I am super excited, but know that I will need to hit the ground running. Your website has been my best friend (I started this week. So quick!) Thank you for sharing with us!!!

  3. Dr. Shalonda Gregory August 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these awesome tools!

    • Kristin Houser August 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      You’re welcome and thanks for the comment!


  4. Sharon Byrd October 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I am interested in visiting your site often. I am new to coaching and I want to make it a successful year for the teachers, students and myself.

  5. Katie Ritter December 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    This is awesome! I know I’m going to be busy reading all your posts. I love this one and will definitely bookmark it-your visuals and handouts are awesome (I’m a sucker for cool fonts too). Loving the instructional observation toolkit! I agree with you that relationships are HUGE for successful coaching; if a teacher has no relationship with you, or worse, a poor relationship with you, they won’t be willing to work with you or accept your feedback.

  6. Richard February 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Ms. Houser, I just stumbled on this very helpful website. I’m in a M.Ed. program in a coaching/mentoring class right now. Our final assignment is putting together a coaching plan. I’m overwhelmed, but it looks like you’ve got some helpful ideas here. Do you have an helpful advice that I might use in putting together the plan?

    • Kristin Houser March 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

      Hi Richard,

      You might find my post on “Creating a Coaching Work Plan” helpful. I put together an infographic based on a chapter in The Art of Coaching. You might also want to check out this book.

      Thanks and best of luck,

  7. Laura Lee April 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I have been a coach for about 7 years and my job gets tweaked every year! I am looking forward to exploring the tools that you have shared. I have some that we already use, but they are not as professional. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kristin Houser April 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      Hi Laura,
      Wow!…7 years, that’s impressive! Thanks for taking the time to comment…I’m glad the tools have been useful. If there are any other tools you think would be supportive to your work that I can “professionalize” a bit, please let me know!
      Thanks, Kristin :)

  8. Cari April 28, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    I love your blog, your tips and tools are very helpful. I am a first year coach with a lot of PD and classroom experience. Since my principal hired me as an “extra” this year we have been kind-of winging my schedule and role. As we look forward to next school year we’d like to tighten up my schedule and responsibilities. Can you give me an idea of how you are accountable to your principal without sacrifying trust with the teachers. Do you meet with your principal weekly? Do you “hand in” a form? Are teachers required to work with you?

    • Kristin Houser April 30, 2014 at 8:54 am #

      Hi Cari,
      Such a good question!! So good in fact that I think it’s worthy of a blog post :)…stayed tuned for a post in response to your question next Monday.

  9. Aimey May 31, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Thank you so much! I love notesplus. I want to sync the files with google docs. I can see a couple places that will sync to Dropbox. Is there an easy way to move them directly to google docs?

  10. Kimberly O March 9, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    Hi Ms. Houser,

    I recently began a position working as an ESL Literacy coach and in my research I discovered your website. I am looking forward to incorporating your tools into my coaching sessions! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • admin March 10, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Hi Kimberly! Thanks so much for your comment. Hope your year is going well!

  11. Katrina June 12, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Thank you for all of your resources. This is helping me to create a structure for my coaching next year. I wanted to know how many teachers you work with in a 6 week cycle, and how many you work with in total…just to get a feel for what a successful coach’s load is.

    • Kristin Houser June 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

      Hi Katrina!
      I typically work with 5-7 teachers within a 6 week coaching cycle. I try to work with every teacher at least once during the year.

      • Amber August 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

        I have an interview for a coaching position in two days. I’ve taught for the last 9 years…and am really stressing out about this interview. I have NO IDEA what to expect. The task I’ve been emailed is even freaking me out! I guess I’ve got a block, because I’ve never actually been a coach. Thank you for your helpful information!!

        Here’s the task I’m working on…if anyone is curious!
        Your supervisor has arranged with campus administration for you to coach three teachers. You are to contact the principal to set up the initial meeting.
        • What should be included in the first email?
        • How would you structure the first face to face meeting?
        • What materials should you take to conduct a successful meeting. Explain why you are choosing to take these materials.
        • What are your goals and talking points for the meeting?

        • Kristin Houser August 5, 2015 at 11:12 am #

          Hi Amber! Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing! First of all, since you’ve been teaching for 9 years you’re bring a ton of knowledge and experience with you that is going to be so helpful to the teachers you coach. When reading about your interview task, I wondering if it was for a first meeting with the principal OR the three teachers. Because how you would set up the tasks would depend on that. You may find the section of this post on setting up an Initial Coaching Meeting helpful:

          Keep us updated!

        • Kristin Houser August 5, 2015 at 11:14 am #

          Ooops, Amber, I just realized I referred you to the same post you commented from :) Did you see anything referenced in the Initial Coaching Meeting agenda you think would be helpful?

  12. Gina Kellly August 4, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi Kristin,

    Last year you mentioned taking a course through Coursera. I’m wondering if it was Coaching Teachers: Promoting Changes that Stick. I know you recommended it and I’ve been waiting to take it but wasn’t sure if this was the one.
    Thanks for all of your wonderful resources and suggestions!
    Gina Kelly

    • Kristin Houser August 5, 2015 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Gina! Yes, that’s the one. It’s soooo good, you have to take!
      Let me know what you think :)


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