3 Steps to Effective Coaching Feedback

3 Steps to Effective Coaching Feedback

Coach. That one word alone will likely lead you to think about what? If you’re like me, something like sports or athletics comes to mind. Like coaches in sports, instructional coaches provide expertise, guidance, and encouragement to push teachers to new heights. While some districts and campuses utilize them more than others, the ones that do can share the positive impact instructional coaching can have on student achievement. Take a quick look at these 3 steps to effective coaching feedback for campus leaders, and start planning for a system that works for you and your campus!

“Follow the lead of the maestros in every field: evaluate less and coach more.” by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Step One: Observe

The first step in an effective coaching feedback loop is to see the action! As campus leaders, we’re used to giving evaluative feedback, but this is different. This time, you will be observing in a non-evaluative capacity to gather information you can utilize in a guiding conversation with your teacher by understanding the current state of teaching and learning in the classroom. So, dust off your instructional coaching hat and get in there!   

Set up this short observation by discussing the purpose with your teacher. Ask what 10-15 minute time might work best, and share that you will follow up with a coaching conversation within 24 hours of the observation. 

Your coaching task will be to help your teacher “name” an instructional area they can refine in real time, focusing on one small step that can make a big difference overall. As you observe, focus on specific aspects of instruction, like questioning techniques, student participation, or formative assessment. This will help you plan targeted and constructive feedback for your follow-up conversation.

“If You Want Them to GET IT, Get Them to SEE IT.” by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Step Two: Choose One Strategy

As you meet for your follow-up conversation, the end goal is to help your teacher “name” one small instructional strategy that could make a big impact on students’ learning. Start the conversation off by sharing the data collected along with the strategies observed. Be sure to use precise and descriptive language, identifying strengths and areas for growth. Make this a collaborative conversation and focus on understanding the teacher’s perspective, providing clarification, and establishing a shared understanding of the observed practices.

In addition, you should consider the teacher’s professional learning goals while deciding on the one strategy you want to implement. Before finalizing the instructional strategy, make sure the strategy you chose is concise and clear, a simple change that can be put into practice right away. 

“You can’t make practice perfect until you define what “perfect” looks like.” by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Step Three: Plan and Practice

The last step is the culmination of the entire coaching process. This step involves collaborating with the teacher to implement the target strategy. Together, you will clearly define the actions the teacher will take to make this change and be sure this is documented in the teacher’s lesson plan. Next, you’ll facilitate practice and role play, and as the leader, you will act as the student/s. As your teacher practices, stop at any point of struggle to coach and emphasize key decisions you have made for this implementation. You want the teacher to “practice best practices,” and this is the time to ensure it happens.  

As you wrap up this coaching cycle, let your teacher know you will be coming back in to see how this strategy is working and will schedule regular reflection sessions. These sessions will provide opportunities to discuss successes, challenges, and adjustments to the action plan together. Remember, the focus is on continuous improvement and refining teaching practices.

“Teachers are like tennis players: they develop most quickly when they receive frequent feedback and opportunities to practice.” by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Don’t forget to celebrate success! Recognizing and celebrating successes, no matter how small, is an integral part of this process. Positive feedback will encourage your teachers along the way and will strengthen your coaching relationship.

Visit our blog for more campus leadership tricks.

Tasha Briseño
Texas Instructional Leadership (TIL) Administrative Specialist
Academic Services

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