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Selling Your Team on Professional Development

You know your school needs coaching to raise expectations and increase teacher effectiveness, but how do you get teachers and school staff on board?

In education, coaching is often viewed as a necessary evil, aimed at new or struggling teachers. It shouldn’t be! You owe it to every student in your building to sell your staff on creating a schoolwide culture of coaching that can increase student achievement, build teacher efficacy, and transform classrooms. The data shows that coaching has a measurable impact on classrooms. 

Here’s how:

Be transparent about why.

Good leaders are honest, and you owe it to your staff to tell them why coaching is necessary for your school or system to meet its goals. Be careful to position coaching as a path forward, not a punishment. 

Reassure them that everyone’s in – including you.

Some staff members might assume coaching is being implemented to fix them personally, not to support the entire group. The best way to fight this narrative is by accepting coaching yourself. Connect with someone who has experience with leadership coaching, and lead by example.

Consider a “no-evaluation” policy while staff is on-boarding.

Some consider coaching to be a surreptitious means of evaluation and an added layer of accountability. For the first several months, allow coaching to proliferate through the building with absolutely no negative consequences. 

Coaching is a gift of support.

Teachers, especially those suffering from low morale and “initiative exhaustion,” are more susceptible to a negative mindset around coaching. Make an extra effort to let these teachers know coaching is meant to support them and not isolate them. Many teachers come to appreciate having someone as a sounding board who is not an administrator.

Give them the big picture.

Sometimes our pride gets in the way of change that can make us better. Educators are incredibly passionate people and, rightfully, proud of their work. Tap into this emotion, and appeal to their sense of commitment and pride. Our students need us to be the best we can be, as quickly and efficiently as possible, so they have every shot at an equitable and excellent education.

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