Quick-Start Guide to Coaching Part 1 – Choosing Your Cohort

Quick-Start Guide to Coaching Part 1 – Choosing Your Cohort

Michele Regan


Every school has a vision and mission.  To get there, much like we differentiate for students, we need to provide individualized support for our teachers.  Great coaching differentiates for teachers.


Not all groups are the same.  Successful coaching begins with selecting your cohort.  That cohort could be based on trends you see in your building. For example, let’s say you have a lot of untenured or new teachers, you may want to put them into their own cohort and provide PD around issues that affect them: classroom management, creating standards-based lessons, student engagement, etc.  

So what trends are you seeing in your building:

  • Teachers teaching a new grade this year?
  • New teachers?
  • New curriculum?
  • Teacher-centered instruction that you want to convert to student-centered learning?
  • Classroom management issues?
  • Writing effective lesson plans?
coaching image


Once your groups are created:

  • Create an email group for each cohort-this is a great way to share ideas!
  • Decide when, where, and how often you will meet with your group
  • Decide how long your cohort will stay together- A semester?  6 weeks? A marking period? All year? (Probably not all year…think flexible grouping.)
  • Look at your calendar and schedule your sessions with the team.  Remember the objective is to move them forward, so planning and consistency is key.  
  • Consider what PD topics you will provide.
  • How will you provide PD in these areas?
  • Will you provide articles that you will unpack and discuss?
  • Will you select a lab site and conduct demonstration lessons and debrief sessions with teachers?  
  • Will you have teachers observe each other and provide feedback and insights?
  • Will you watch video clips and discuss best practices observed?
  • Will you co-plan with teachers?  

Whatever you decide, make sure you plan it out in as much detail as possible.  You can always tweak as you go, but effective coaches do not fly by the seat of their pants.

  • Create a newsletter to share glows and grows with your group.  As coaches, some of what we have to share is not always good news.  Consider ways to celebrate milestones, accomplishments, and when teachers take a leap and try something new.  (A tip is to also share these “glows” at staff meetings or PLCs for an extra celebration.)

Finally, distinguish yourself from an administrator.  Remind teachers that you are a teacher, too. You are not there to evaluate, but to help them become master teachers.  You are there to coach and support them. You are a sounding board and resource!

Happy Coaching!

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