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A Conversation on Coaching: Interview with Dr. Jim Knight

4 min read
Feb 17, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Dr. Jim Knight of the Instructional Coaching Group discusses what makes an instructional coaching program effective.

As SchoolMint’s chief academic officer and host of the ChangeAgents in K-12 podcast, Dr. Chris Balow gets to discuss the top issues in K-12 education today.

From district-level administrators to people leading innovative companies, ChangeAgents features a variety of guests — the change agents themselves — with incredible insights and guidance for school leaders.

Recently, Dr. Balow had the opportunity to interview Dr. Jim Knight, the senior partner at the Instructional Coaching Group.

Read on to learn more about the group, about effective instructional coaching, and for an overview of Dr. Balow and Dr. Knight’s discussion!

four people at a table discussing how to improve a school website

What is the Instructional Coaching Group?

For more than 20 years, the Instructional Coaching Group has been researching best practices in coaching and offering guidance on what makes a successful instructional coach for teachers.

As stated so succinctly on their website, instructional coaching “makes it easier for teachers to meet the needs of their students.”

“If you want to be really outstanding at what you do, you almost always have a coach — whether you’re a surgeon or an athlete or a violin player. It’s helpful to have someone not to tell you what to do, but to help you see things you might not see, to share ideas, and so forth. Most outstanding performers have a coach who has helped them get to that level of excellence.”
Dr. Jim Knight, Instructional Coaching Group

At SchoolMint, we believe in the power of a highly effective coach. And we believe in coaches because, ultimately, a highly effective teacher is a happy, fulfilled teacher — as well as the most important component of student achievement.

You can read more in this previous post: What is Instructional Coaching for Teachers?

Dr. Jim Knight: The 7 Components of Successful Coaching

Instructional coaching is a partnership between a coach and a teacher. This is a rewarding partnership — not a punitive one — where the coach and the teacher work together to analyze the current reality, set goals, and discuss teaching strategies and support to reach those goals.

For this partnership to be effective, a teacher coaching program requires seven components.

As outlined by Dr. Knight, those elements are:

  1. Partnership
  2. Coaching Process
  3. Teaching Strategies
  4. Gathering Data
  5. Communication Beliefs and Habits
  6. Leadership
  7. System Support

We also recommend learning more about the Get Better Faster approach to coaching and how it accelerates teacher learning.

3 Suggestions for School Leaders Considering Instructional Coaching

In addition to learning about the components of successful coaching, Dr. Knight also offers suggestions for any school or district leader considering implementing instructional coaching:

  1. Don’t maintain the status quo. “If you don’t implement coaching, you’re saying the status quo is good enough,” says Dr. Knight. “So ask yourself this: is right now good enough? Is this enough? If we don’t do anything else, if we don’t improve, can we stay here? It’d be okay. But most people want to get better.”
  2. Offer instructional coaches professional development. “Coaches need significant professional development to succeed,” says Dr. Knight. “It’s a whole different job. Don’t just assume ‘I’m gonna hire you and throw you out there.’ Whatever your approach is, you have to provide your coaches significant support.”
  3. Ensure everyone who needs support is getting support. “Ask yourself how you can assure that everyone in your system is getting the support they need so that you can have your professionals learning in an optimal way and getting continuous growth and improvement,” explains Dr. Knight. “How do we make sure everyone who needs support is getting the support? By giving everyone who needs a coach the support of a coach.”
doctor jim knight on a pink and purple gradient backgroun

Tune In: A Conversation on Coaching with Dr. Jim Knight

Ready to learn more about instructional coaching? Tune in below to listen to the discussion between Dr. Chris Balow and Dr. Jim Knight.

You’ll learn more about instructional coaching, learn how content experts can be effective coaches, get three suggestions for any school leader looking to implement instructional coaching, and much more.

Visit the episode’s page here to see where all you can tune in, to read the transcript, and more.

One Platform for All Instructional Coaching Needs

As Dr. Knight elaborates on in A Conversation on Coaching, data is key to the success of any coaching program.

Data helps you set realistic learning goals for teachers, determine if your coaches and teachers are on track, and make strategy adjustments if needed. Data not only helps coaches monitor the progress of teachers but also monitor their own effectiveness as a coach.

Videos are a highly effective way of capturing coaching data. A platform like SchoolMint Grow provides built-in video recording, uploading, and sharing capabilities as well as robust data reporting.

Grow is a transparent, efficient, and data-driven platform for education leadership. Using Grow, coaches and leaders can accelerate teacher proficiency to improve learning.



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