Developing Coaching Capacity

How do we do it?

Cotsen develops effective teacher coaches through careful selection, investment in their development, and support of their practice over two years.

Selection: At each program school, we use classroom observation and interviews to select one teacher to serve as a full-time mentor to a cohort of Fellows working to improve their practice.

Development: Cotsen Mentors develop their coaching capacity through

  • Professional learning in coaching techniques
  • Professional development in the specific content areas their Fellows are working in
  • Observing and debriefing excellent teaching
  • Being part of a cohort of other Mentors across the region
  • Coaching and support from Cotsen staff

Practice: Mentors support their Fellows by

  • Participating with Fellows in content-specific professional development and coaching them on how to apply and refine it
  • Working through weekly coaching cycles of planning, observing, and debriefing instruction
  • Researching and recommending professional learning resources

What are the results?

The investment Cotsen makes in developing mentors builds their coaching capacity, with immediate benefits to the Fellows they work with, and shapes their career trajectory in education.

Coaching capacity: In a survey of alumni mentors, overwhelming majorities (85%+) said the training they received from Cotsen had a “Major” or “Transformational” impact on their performance in all nine coaching skills they were asked about:

  • Providing non-evaluative feedback on teaching
  • Facilitating teacher reflection without directing it
  • Recommending appropriate PD or resources for professional goals
  • Facilitating teacher inquiry groups
  • Gathering data through a classroom observation
  • Analyzing student work to determine instructional implications
  • Supporting effective instructional planning
  • Understanding adult learners
  • Setting measurable goals for instructional improvement

Career trajectory: Of 52 past Cotsen mentors surveyed, 24 continued to work as coaches, Teachers on Special Assignment, or professional development leaders, 9 had become administrators, and 19 returned to the classroom.

Learn more: