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Coaching Definition

The following definition and expectations provide the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) with a foundational definition for all individuals hired as a coach with state or federal funding sources administered under MDE. It is expected that specific coaches would require additional expectations to those outlined in this definition.

A coach supports the growth and professional learning of an organization and its stakeholders. A coach models and facilitates best practices to achieve desired outcomes while providing feedback. A coach possesses specialized knowledge and skills that builds capacity of an organization. A coach develops rapport while objectively analyzing systems, infrastructure, and individuals who sustain continuous improvement.

Expectations of an MDE-Funded Coach
Coaches are expected to:

  • understand how to engage adults in learning.
  • engage individuals or teams and build collaborative relationships.
  • be a part of initiatives focused on desired outcomes.
  • be supported by the organization and administrators.
  • engage in their own ongoing professional learning.
  • be open to giving and receiving feedback for refining their coaching skills.
  • participate in or collaborate with members of leadership teams.
  • support the use of data-driven decision making.
  • provide feedback for growth (not for formal evaluation of an individual).

Research citations

Casey, K. (2011). Modeling lessons. Educational Leadership, 69(2), 24-29.

Costa, A. L., & Garmston, R. J. (2003). Cognitive Coaching in retrospect: Why it persists.

Highlands Ranch, CO: Center for Cognitive Coaching; L'Allier, S. K., & Elish-Piper, L. (2009, May).

DuDuchaine, E. L., Jolivette, K., & Fredrick, L. D. (2011). The effect of teacher coaching with performance feedback on behavior-specific praise in inclusion classrooms. Education and Treatment of Children, 34, 209-227.

Fullan, M., & Knight, J. (2011). Coaches as system leaders. Educational Leadership, 69, 50-53.

Freeman, J., Sugai, G., Simonsen, B., & Everett, S. (2017) MTSS Coaching: Bridging Knowing to Doing, Theory Into Practice, 56, 29-37, DOI: 10.1080/00405841.2016.1241946

Knight, J. (2009). Instructional coaching. In J. Knight (Ed.), Coaching approaches and perspectives (pp. 29-55). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. F., III, & Swanson, R. A. (2015). The adult learner (8th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kretlow, A. G., Cooke, N. L., & Wood, C. L. (2012). Using in-service and coaching to increase teachers' accurate use of research-based strategies. Remedial and Special Education, 33, 348-361.

Neufeld, B., & Roper, D. (2003) Coaching: A strategy for developing institutional capacity, promises, and practicalities. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute Program on Education. Providence, RI: Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Retrieved from http://www. sites/default/files/product/268/files/Coaching.pdf.

Poglinco, S., Bach, A., Hovde, K., Rosenblum, S., Saunders, M., & Supovitz, J. (2003). The heart of the matter: The coaching model in America's choice schools. Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania. Available online at: www.cpre. org/Publications/Publications_Research.htm

Reinke, W. M., Stormont, M., Herman, K. C., & Newcomer, L. (2014). Using coaching to support teacher implementation of classroom-based interventions. Journal of Behavioral Education, 23, 150-167.

Sprick, R., Knight, J., Reinke, W., Skyles, T., & Barnes, L. (2010). Coaching classroom management: Strategies and tools for administrators and coaches. Eugene, OR: Pacific Northwest Publishing.

Stormont, M., Reinke, W. M., Newcomer, L., Marchese, D., & Lewis, C. (2015). Coaching teachers' use of social behavior interventions to improve children's outcomes: A review of the literature. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 17, 69-82.

Tough, A. (1971). The adult's learning projects. Toronto, Ontario: Institute for Studies in Education.

Zins, J. E., & Ponti, C. R. (1990). Best practices in school-based consultation. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology-II (pp. 673-694). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.

Wise, D., & Hammack, M. (2011). Leadership coaching: Coaching competencies and best practices. Journal of School Leadership, 21, 449-477.