Approaches to Instructional Coaching: Defining a CPD Strategy for Teaching and Learning

by | Feb 22, 2023 | Leadership, Coaching

Approaches to Instructional Coaching: positive CPD for change and challenge in the classroom

Instructional Coaching is a solutions focused way to use coaching to foster whole school improvement. It can make a significant difference as part of a positive and strategic approach to continuous improvement in teaching and learning for all those with a pupil facing role in the classroom. Instructional coaching is all about a focus on specific and agreed change and challenge in pedagogy and its impact on learning.

Instructional coaching is an approach that is specifically aligned to a strategic plan for sequential teacher development that is agreed as part of a collaborative approach to CPD for all teachers. Instructional coaching should be seen in the context of a wider whole school development plan that focuses on creating a culture where teachers are an integral part of the process and know their own learning agenda.

Approaches to Instructional Coaching - personalising CPD for teachersJoin us for this live webinar:

Approaches to Instructional CoachingPersonalising CPD for teachersclick here to find out more

Research suggests that Instructional Coaching is highly successful CPD for Teachers

Instruction and Coaching

Instruction is not a word that trips off the tongue in relation to coaching. Instructional coaching is a term adopted by Jim Knight who introduced the idea of instructional coaching in the USA. Instruction is synonymous with pedagogy in the USA, it is therefore, essential that we look at this method of coaching as the one that is specifically about improvements in teaching over time. Associating instruction or pedagogy with coaching is the secret as to why it has such a track record of achieving success in the schools where it is adopted.

Instruction in this context is creating an opportunity for an expert practitioner to work with a less experienced teacher where one to one coaching interaction provides the opportunity for the improvement of a specific aspect of teaching practice or where the teacher is encouraged to try out new approaches that will stretch their pedagogical repertoire.

Creating opportunities for professional dialogue

The fundamental definition of coaching in this context must not change. The conversation should influence and not command, the pedagogical change should be agreed and not imposed and the goal or outcome should be shared with success factors clearly articulated by both the coach and the practitioner.

The power of instructional coaching is in the process of CPD that is two way and relies on the fostering of a dialogue linked to the setting of a goal for improvement and then a cycle of observation, feedback and practice. A relationship between the coach and the participating teacher is built on trust and respect and a shared goal for continuous improvement that leads to learning.

Instructional Coaching as part of Developing a Coaching Culture

Instructional coaching is aimed at improving teaching practice in the classroom. It has a part to play in the decision to embed coaching as a culture across the whole organisation. Creating the right conditions for embedding a coaching culture requires senior leadership commitment to build systems change that fosters trust, and a deep conviction that all staff can work together to bring about positive change, take the initiative in their own professional development and be a part of a process of continuous improvement.

There is a strong evidence base that embarking on a programme of instructional coaching can lead to measurable improvements in both teaching and learning. It is, however, necessary that the development a such programmes requires trust in the process, a profound understanding of what it actually means in practice and a belief that the coach has the skills, expertise and empathy to influence change and challenge.

Building a picture of excellence and improvement

Coaching is the most powerful way to create a CPD strategy that leads to measurable and positive change. Coaching is the interaction between two or more individuals who have defined their goals for self, team and whole school continuous improvement.

Coaching is where each individual is encouraged to find their own solutions, to work with others in the pursuit of high quality learning outcomes and to create a culture of trust, self-belief and a deep conviction that everyone within the organisation can and will achieve their potential.

Instructional coaching is a branch of coaching that will support teachers to find ways to incrementally improve their pedagogy. Seen within the context of a culture where continuous improvement is the goal and whole school improvement is seen as the province of every member of staff instructional coaching has the potential to make a significant difference.

Leaders who have the philosophy through their own development as coaches can really support this process. Middle and subject leaders who learn how coaching can enhance their role in interpreting the vision and managing their teams will also be pivotal to ensuring the goal of highly successful instructional coaching is achieved.

Approaches to Instructional Coaching – Personalising CPD for teachers – a live webinar

Growing excellence in teaching and learning

Creating a Coaching Culture with Learning Cultures

Learning Cultures lead the way in providing coaching courses and programmes for the education profession. We have a specialist team of coaches who are highly trained and who also have a proven track record in senior leadership in schools, colleges and within trusts and alliances. Our highly praised and deeply researched suite of coaching training has something for all staff.

We have a Senior Leadership Coaching Training Programme for senior leaders who want to work towards learning how to coach either individually or as a team over three terms with opportunities to learn through interactive training, one to one coaching with an expert coach and time to reflect and practice with colleagues.

We also have a Certificate in Coaching Competence – a journey in coaching for individuals who want to develop their coaching skills and work towards a certificate in coaching with the Association for Coaching.

We have a suite of webinars or in venue courses for all staff across a school or college. Instructional coaching is for teachers, we have training from senior, middle and subject leaders, Teaching Assistants and Cover Supervisors. Have a look at the list below and start your coaching journey and transform CPD in your school or college.

Start with:
An Introduction to Coaching in an Education Setting
For senior, middle and subject leaders:
Coaching for Senior Leaders in a School or College – lead a coaching culture
Coaching for Middle Leaders in a School or College
Coaching for Subject Leaders – Implementing seamless curriculum excellence
Re-thinking Appraisal in an Education Setting
Positive Lesson Observation for Constructive Feedback, Change and Challenge
For those with a pastoral role:
Coaching and the Pastoral Role – building self-esteem, nurturing learning
Building Positive Behaviours and Attitudes in the Classroom and Beyond
To support excellence in teaching and learning:
Approaches to Instructional Coaching – Personalising CPD for teachers
Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning
For the ECT mentor:
Coaching Training for the ECT Mentor – going beyond mentoring
For support staff and Cover Supervisors
Coaching for Teaching Assistants and Support Staff
Coaching for Cover Supervisors – Seamless learning when the teacher is away

Why not book a free 30 minute coaching session with me, Glynis Frater. Coaching is the most powerful tool in the leadership skills box for any CEO, Principal or Headteacher in a school, college or MAT. Use the Contact us page on our website or you can email me or telephone either 01746 765076 or 07974 754241.

New Books


The book ‘Primary Curriculum Design and Delivery by Glynis Frater‘ has now been published.

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