'We can't do it just to make them feel good!'- An exploration into the benefits of coaching in secondary schools

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Objectives: Research has indicated that traditional forms of continuing professional development (CPD), such as external training courses, can have limited impact on developing teacher’s skills. One response hasbeen that coaching has been used increasingly in schools since 2000 in a variety of ways. However, there is a lack of research into the impact of coaching in schools. This study explored the impact of specialist coaching and (peer) co-coaching as perceived by coachees and CPD co-ordinators. The impact of coaching
at three different levels was considered: benefits at the individual personal/emotional level; changes to individuals’ daily practice; and benefits at the schoolwide/organizational level.
Design: A postal questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used.
Methods: CPD co-ordinators in 10 urban mainstream secondary schools completed the questionnaire and identified coachees for interview. Semi-structured interviews with six of these CPD co-ordinators and seven coachees, were then conducted. The interviews were analysed through Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to explore patterns in what the interviewees perceived the benefits of coaching to be.
Results: Peer coaching impacted on all three levels proposed in the study. The impact of specialist coaching was found to vary depending on the role of the coachee (e.g. newly qualified teachers and middle leaders benefited differently).
Conclusions: The current study has indicated that coaching is perceived by CPD co-ordinators and coaches to have a positive impact on teachers’ daily practice and at the organisational level, alongside the benefits it offers to individuals at an emotional level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
JournalInternational Coaching Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2017


  • Keywords: coaching; coaching in education; coaching benefits; evidence of impact of coaching; teacher coaching; secondary school CPD; interpretive phenomenological analysis; middle leader coaching; peer coaching; specialist coaching.

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