What is Differentiated Coaching

Coach: A vehicle for taking valuable people from where they are to where they wish to be

Does your vision of instructional and/or leadership coaching in education include the above origin of the word “coach”?

In the world of business, up-and-coming leaders know that being included in coaching programs means they’re seen as valuable–their company is investing in their development.

Fifteen years ago, when I began coaching teachers, many reacted, “Oh no, I have a coach. I must be doing something wrong!” Teachers are our most valuable assets as we seek to help each child reach his or her full potential. Differentiated Coaching, while at all times aligning goals with the overall strategic plans of a building or district, has at its heart these six key elements:

  • A common framework for unbiased discussions of education While other frameworks such as the Montessori philosophy will also work, the most robust and useful framework I have found is that of Jungian type.
  • A deep understanding of teachers’ strengths and beliefs These are often tightly tied to their Jungian type preferences. Asking a teacher to change practices often means changing beliefs–changing who they are.
  • Concrete evidence that influences beliefs and shows that change will be worth the effort Teachers have seen reforms come and go and are justifiably wary of the “reform du jour.” Believable evidence provides motivation for the hard work of change–and people are convinced by very different forms of evidence.
  • Communication and assistance (coaching) in ways that meet each teacher’s learning style and needs See the Coaching Case Study page for examples
  • A focus on problems that concern the teachers Many school initiatives are never fully implemented because teachers are dealing with more immediate problems 
  • Deep, Level III collaboration, defined in this blog