Planning for a Successful Launch of Coaching

In the months leading up to a coaching year, so many details can be planned ahead of time for a successful launch into coaching
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About This Strategy

This strategy provides a step by step approach and aligned resources to prepare for a successful launch of a coaching year. Everything to consider prior starting is included in this strategy -- from crafting visions for the coaching role, to scheduling for maximized impact, to creating first meeting agendas. It can be used at any grade level and with any content area in mind.


The effectiveness of this strategy resides in its holistic approach to building culture and structures to support a successful transition into or back to coaching, a step that we can often neglect when pressed by time or when unfamiliar or seeking clarity around a new and complex role.

Implementation Steps

  1. Start by creating your vision for your coaching role. Forget a second about constraints and limitations, and let yourself think about you would ideally like to have an impact on teachers and students this coming year. This will help you create a North Star that you can backwards plan the rest of the year from. If you want a template with sentence starters to help you structure this visioning check out the first page of this Google Doc.
  2. Once you created this vision, print it, frame it and hang it up in front of your desk. You will need to revisit it regularly to ground yourself.
  3. If you were already a coach the year before compare this vision with the last few weekly schedules of your previous school year. What actions in these schedules align with your vision? What actions seem far from it?
  4. Once you have done this comparative analysis, start thinking about ways you could remove unnecessary weight from your schedule and replace it by some of the actions your vision makes you want to prioritize. To remove unnecessary weight, you can categorize things you could delegate to others or simply things you could let go and be at peace with. The first page of this Google Doc template could help you do this.
  5. If it is your first year coaching, you can go straight to the second page of this Google Doc template and schedule your ideal schedule of impact incorporating your key coaching actions. After you created this schedule, write your elevator pitch that will help combine your vision, your school vision and your critical analysis of previous years to help you convince your leadership team of what could be an impactful schedule for you.
  6. Meet with your principal. Assess if they have a vision for your role and if this vision is already translated concretely into a schedule. Often it is not. If it is the case at your school, that this has not been fully defined yet, go ahead and share some of the ideas you drafted in your ideal schedule document.
  7. At this point you should have greatly solidified your vision and schedule for the year. Start planning backwards from there the following elements:
    • The different PD sessions you will lead at the beginning of the year and support others in leading. If possible try to imagine what a full year of PD could look like to reach your vision. You don't have to all the sessions planned, but at least the progression of objectives throughout the year.

    • Your coaching caseload: With whom will you be working 1:1? For how long? What rationale will you have in mind (grade level, content, specific PD initiative, etc…) as you work with this teacher?

    • Your first three coaching meetings structure. It could be very helpful to have a game plan for these first three! The Google Drive folder included as a resource below contains three sample agendas for the first 3 meetings of the year, with videos of coaching sessions.

  8. Have fun coaching! Remember that improvement always happen one cycle of implementation at a time. We call them baby steps but they should really be called grown up steps!
    • The different PD sessions you will lead at the beginning of the year and support others in leading. If possible try to imagine what a full year of PD could look like to reach your vision. You don't have to all the sessions planned, but at least the progression of objectives throughout the year.

    • Your coaching caseload: With whom will you be working 1:1? For how long? What rationale will you have in mind (grade level, content, specific PD initiative, etc…) as you work with this teacher?

    • Your first three coaching meetings structure. It could be very helpful to have a game plan for these first three! The Google Drive folder included as a resource below contains three sample agendas for the first 3 meetings of the year, with videos of coaching sessions.

Coach Tips

  1. Always prepare for coaching assuming that a schedule might not have been defined or planned for you ahead of time by somebody else. If it has not been planned then you have already done half the work needed and you will make a strong impression on your principal, because you engaged in some pre-work on how you can best impact students and teachers.
  2. Remember in this plan to make room for building meaningful relationships with your teacher and to build trust. A key there is to define clear expectations for what coaching will be and won't be for you, and to try to stick to these norms in your work. I have not been directly teaching for seven years, but I try to remember every day why teaching felt exhausting and isolating, and then I remember why it is my duty to support teachers to make their role more manageable, collaborative, and exciting.
  3. Plan for ways you will be able to measure your own success or progress throughout the year. Consider the following quesitons to ask yourself throughout the year:
  • How will I know if I am doing a good job?
  • What do I think I are doing well?
  • What could I do better?
  • Who are people I can trust to give me honest feedback throughout the year?