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Building the Foundations of a Coaching Culture

By Kim Cofino
Building the Foundations of a Coaching Culture

In a previous article, I shared the essential first step in getting started as an instructional coach, finding clarity in your role - for yourself and your school community. Once you have that clarity, you can begin to build community and create a coaching culture. In today’s article, we’ll pick up right where we left off, with the final five steps in my 10 steps to getting started as an instructional coach. Find the first five steps here!

Step 6: Actively and consistently communicate your role 

Once you know what teachers believe they need, you can create a coaching menu to communicate your services in the language of your teachers. Many coaches change up their coaching menu on a regular basis to help teachers recognize all the different valuable services they provide. The key here is to consistently communicate your role to your teachers as regularly as you can (without overwhelming them). 

Teachers are busy, and they may not see the value of investing their time in coaching unless they can clearly see how that time will be spent and that there will be a tangible positive impact in their classroom. The more you can do to provide clarity around the work you do, the easier it is for teachers to “say yes” to coaching.

Step 7: Recognize that not everyone is ready for coaching (yet)

As much as you may want to work with every teacher, or any specific teacher, coaching is an invitational practice. Compulsory coaching usually does not work out well. As a coach, your goal should be creating an environment where teachers feel comfortable and invested in their professional growth so there is a willingness to take risks, try new things, and invite someone else into their classroom.

As Diane Sweeny, author of Student Centered Coaching, said in her #coachbetter interview, “If we set goals for student learning, we’re sending a message that I’m here to be a partner. The type of goal you start with can really mitigate against reluctance. It can’t be an external agenda put on a teacher by someone else” (Cofino, 2020a). Ultimately, coaching requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust. This is why the first article in this two-part series started with building relationships.

Step 8: Support teachers in sharing their successes

In order to spread the great work that coaching supports, it's essential to both track the work that you’re doing and share it. However, not everyone likes to share or to be celebrated publicly. It’s worth finding a variety of ways to celebrate the accomplishments of your coaching partners. You may find that teachers appreciate being mentioned in your weekly newsletter or podcast, or that they prefer to speak for themselves in a faculty meeting or on a professional development day, or maybe just asking one coaching partner to connect with another teacher in the department to share their experience with you is just right. Develop a variety of strategies that work in your community to share success stories so you can build momentum around coaching.

Sharing also has a side benefit of helping teachers see that coaching is for everyone and gives them specific people to talk to about their experiences with coaching. The goal is that you, as the coach, are not the only person in the community talking about coaching and its impact.

Step 9: Seek feedback regularly and take action

In order to continually grow and improve, it’s important to seek feedback on your practice. There are many ways to collect this kind of data, you can:

  • Conduct surveys (annually and after specific events or experiences)
  • Ask for feedback at the end of a coaching session (I like the question, “What was most helpful for you today?”)
  • Touch base with department heads and other school leaders to see what they’re hearing

The key is, as Jordan Benedict, international school data coach, said in our #coachbetter podcast conversation, “The goal with data is to start measuring and start taking action. The questions don’t have to be perfect at the start. You can fine tune your actions over time” (Cofino, 2019). You only need one data point to move forward!

Step 10: Track your time and focus on what makes the most impact

Along with tracking the work you’re doing in an effort to share coaching success, it’s important to track your time to help you focus on what type of work makes the most impact in your school community. 

For most of my clients in The Coach Certificate and Mentorship Program, one of the key “aha moments” is understanding the different types of coaching (or coaching stances) that we can be doing. We follow Laura Lipton’s Continuum of Practice: Consulting, Collaborating, and Coaching (most other coaching researchers have a very similar breakdown but with different labels), and most coaches can benefit from tracking the amount of time spent and impact based on the different stances they take. 

As Laura, author of Mentoring Matters, said in our #coachbetter podcast conversation, “Colleagues want you to be consulting. In order to create commitment and ownership, it’s a dance. Don’t discount the value of the information of the consultant, because it is a resource. To transition to coaching, offer chunks of information with the opportunity to process” (Cofino, 2020b).

If you are aware of coaching stances and tracking your time based on your work, you’ll be able to work towards transitioning your conversations to deeper coaching over time.

Bonus: Share coaching data 

As you are tracking your time to measure your impact, make sure you’re also sharing this data with the wider school community and specifically school leadership. Because coaching is a non-teaching position, often with little to no classroom time, it is an easy position to cut. When things are going well, it can be harder to realize the impact that having a position like coaching can make. Be intentional about tracking and sharing this data with decision-makers so they recognize the value you bring to the school community.

Working Towards Clarity and Consistency

Instructional coaching is a hugely valuable and influential position for schools, but it’s complicated and complex to get right. In international schools, we often see these positions come and go due to a lack of clarity and consistency in both vision and implementation. Hopefully, these articles will start a dialogue about the positive impact coaching can have in our schools so we can begin to see these positions have more longevity, along with clearer expectations and implementation. 

If you’re ready to start your journey into instructional coaching, make sure to check out our free workshop: New to Coaching, available here:!



Cofino, K. (Host). (2019, Aug 7). What Can Instructional Coaches Do to Measure Their Impact (47). [Audio podcast episode]. In #coachbetter. Eduro Learning 

Cofino, K. (Host). (2022a, January 12). How to Coach Reluctant Teachers with Diane Sweeney (144). [Audio podcast episode]. In #coachbetter. Eduro Learning.

Cofino, K. (Host). (2022b, February 23). The Continuum of Practice for Instructional Coaches with Laura Lipton (150). [Audio podcast episode]. In #coachbetter. Eduro Learning. 


Kim Cofino has been an educator in international schools since August 2000. Having lived and worked in Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan, Kim has had a variety of roles in international schools, including (her favorite) instructional coach. Now based in Bangkok, Thailand, Kim is the co-founder and CEO of Eduro Learning, which offers online customized professional development in a community-driven environment, including COETAILWomen Who Lead, and The Coach Certificate & Mentorship programs. Kim is co-author of Your Connected Classroom: A Practical Guide for Teachers, as well as co-host of the #coachbetter podcast and YouTube series. Find out more about Kim at

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