Coaching, put simply, is all about helping others help themselves.
And educational environments are no strangers to coaching — whether the manifestation is teachers inspiring students, students motivating one another, or administrators guiding educators to perform better.
But professional coaching from third parties formalizes this practice’s use in educational settings. Coaches help teachers, administrators, and students adopt a coaching mindset and perform at their best.
Here’s how coaching in education works and why it's so transformative.
What is coaching in education?
Coaching in education is a broad term, as anyone in these ecosystems — from administrators to students — can receive help from a coach or practice the methodology and mindset. It focuses on improving learning outcomes and helping teachers with personal development.
We can break coaching in education into the following three categories:
- Coaching for teachers (i.e., instructional coaching)
- Coaching for institutional leaders
- Coaching for students
Within the coaching for educators category, we can further classify the practice into two approaches:
- Teacher-centered coaching: This model helps educators enhance their practice by learning teaching strategies, tapping into their strengths, and promoting continual improvement.
- Student-centered coaching: This methodology is based on evaluation. Coaches help teachers determine learning objectives and create assessments to improve student performance.
How does educational coaching impact learning and teaching?
An educational program’s success relies on honest introspection and a desire to innovate. But administrators, teachers, and students can all get into ruts — going through the motions of their days. A coach can step in and motivate educators to make changes or students to set goals. Here’s why coaching is essential when taking a look at the health of educational programs. Coaching interventions:
- Improve personalized learning experience: Instructional coaches assess the success of teaching methods and curricula as well as relay feedback to educators. Outcomes include more inclusive learning strategies, effective teaching material, and implementation methods.
- Encourage reflection: We can improve our hard and soft skills by reflecting on our strengths, weaknesses, and efficacy. Coaching programs push teachers, leaders, and students to self-reflect, set goals, and identify action items to improve the learning experience and promote an honest assessment of personal roadblocks.
- Empower educators: Coaches are proficient at helping teachers identify obstacles and opportunity areas as well as at encouraging educators to embrace their strengths and create learning experiences leveraging those strengths.
- Promote a more dynamic learning experience: Coaching programs push teachers to innovate, designing more creative lessons and strategies in the classroom. Educators can improve their current preferred method by identifying their personal strengths and areas of stagnation in teaching strategies.
- Help educators and administrators build stronger relationships with students: Underperforming students may feel lost, unmotivated, and overwhelmed. When educators reflect on teaching methods from a student-centered viewpoint, they create more inclusive learning programs and establish stronger bonds with students by making them feel seen.
- Foster a culture of trust and collaboration: Coaching encourages people to get raw about what’s not working. Educators may find opportunities for institutional change during a coaching intervention at a school, and all must work individually and as a team to implement solutions.
Student coaching in schools
Instructional coaching is not new. Coaches and educators often collaborate to improve student outcomes. But the idea of coaches working with students (i.e., off the athletic field) may be a new concept for many.
Like teachers, coaches guide students to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, helping them set goals and outline finite steps to meet those objectives. And with action items comes a need for accountability, promoting student responsibility and autonomy.
Student coaching may increase individual metacognitive awareness and personal accountability. Students may demonstrate improved emotional intelligence and self-control, better time management and organization skills, and more auto-determination. Schools offering student coaching may hold one-on-one sessions, group workshops, and training for parents and educators.
Educational coaching beyond schools
We often consider coaching as mentorship that affects individuals (like teachers) or small groups (such as a school’s administrative team). But educational coaching also helps school districts implement policy-based changes like Common Core State Standards. Governmental policies can be complicated for teachers and administrators without adequate guidance on meeting standards.
And that’s where an instructional coach comes in. Coaches help teachers translate standards into actionable items for classroom implementation. They guide curriculum development and the procurement of new learning materials like textbooks.
Get your start as an educational coach
Educational coaches are arguably one of the most versatile types of coaching niches. They combine a strong focus on education with a multi-faceted approach to change-making, doing everything from helping teachers implement national standards to motivating individual students. It’s rewarding work, and if you’re up for the challenge, you could become an instructional coach using the following steps:
- Become a teacher: Earn your bachelor’s degree in education and get certified. Then, gain classroom experience before earning a master’s degree in teaching.
- Become a certified coach: Earn a general coaching certificate to learn field basics. Coaching isn’t the same thing as teaching, so while you can help students develop certain soft skills like communication and assessment, you must also understand your new role as a mentor and guide to educators (not as a teacher directly implementing change).
- Gain experience: Start working as a coach. You can begin your own business or shadow a seasoned coach to develop client management and communication skills. Also, a 2022 study suggests around 75% of school districts in the U.S. already seek coaching services and have witnessed improvements in teacher and student achievement. This highlights a positive outlook for the industry.
Learn more about the power of coaching with Practice
Coaching is a robust field with niches for mentors who want to specialize in anything from nutrition to entrepreneurship to education. At Practice, we’ve compiled a wealth of educational materials to guide aspiring coaches toward the right field.
And once you’ve set your foot in the industry and acquired a solid client base, Practice helps you manage admin tasks through our in-house customer relationship management (CRM) tool. OurClient Management Software, designed with coaches in mind, allows you to store client data, securely receive payments, and make appointments –– all in one place. Try Practice today.