2022 certification open now

Welcome to ICG Certification

The Instructional Coaching Group is committed to one goal: “that every student will experience excellent instruction, every day, in every class.” We are continually researching what we can do to make that goal a reality. At this point, we believe the best way for that goal to be realized is that schools employ and support instructional coaches who effectively implement the Impact Cycle.


Opens: November 1, 2022
Closes: January 31, 2023

Step 2

Developing Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is organized around the 7 Success Factors for effective coaching programs. All video clips must be submitted as secure YouTube links. All videos must be continuous and unedited except for shortening to meet the length requirement.

All written submissions must be submitted as one text document for each entry with all text pieces for that entry included in it. Size requirements for each written piece are contained herein. All written submissions must be in 12-pt. Times Roman font, double spaced on pages with 1-inch margins at top, bottom, and sides.

Portfolio Guidelines

Updated Guidelines as of 2020-2021 Cohort »

Cohort Forms

Impact Cycle: Teacher Feedback Form

General Teacher Feedback Form

Listening and Questioning Checklist


Instructional Playbook

Certified Instructional Coaches must have a complete Instructional Playbook that describes the teaching strategies that the coach shares with teachers to help them hit their PEERS goals. (See Knight, 2017, for an example of an Instructional Playbook.) Playbook content may vary for each candidate, but the format must include the following:

  1. The entry must include a one-page description of the coaching audience for the playbook (the types of teachers and goals involved) to show how the playbook aligns with their needs.
  2. Playbook contains a one-page listing of strategies in the form of a Table of Contents that is appropriate to the coach’s coaching audience (Table of Contents can be no longer than one page).
  3. Playbook contains a one-page description of each strategy on the Table of Contents (each strategy description should be no longer than one page). That description includes the purpose of the strategy, a description of research supporting the strategy, what the teacher does when using the strategy, and what students do when using the strategy.
  4. Playbook contains sufficient checklists after each one-page description to assist the teacher in implementing the strategy (at least 1 checklist per strategy).

Each playbook must be submitted as a PDF document with items in the following order:

  • Table of Contents
  • One-Pager for Strategy 1
  • Checklists for Strategy 1
  • One-Pager for Strategy 2
  • Checklists for Strategy 2
  • One-Pager for Strategy 3
  • Checklists for Strategy 3
    …and so forth

Playbooks submitted electronically will not receive a score.



Because coaching involves communication, Certified Instructional Coaches must continually engage in improving their communication skills. Coaches can do this by using the reflection forms from The Reflection Guide to Better Conversations (Knight, Knight, & Carlson, 2015) and the Listening and Questioning Effectively checklist (Knight, 2017, p. 82). To demonstrate that they are actively engaged in improving their communication skills, coaches must include the following in their portfolios:

  1. Each candidate will set two communication goals (with each focusing on one Better Conversations Habit-per goal [2 total goals and 2 total habits). (Knight, 2016, p. 17).
  2. The candidate will submit a “before” video and an “after” video for each goal, but if a single “before” video captures both goal areas and/or if a single “after” video captures both areas, then one video could be used for the befores and/or the afters. Thus, a candidate may end up submitting 2, 3, or 4 videos depending on whether they need separate videos for each aspect of each goal. Each video will be no longer than 5 minutes.
  3. For each of the two goals, candidates will complete a “before” reflection form and an “after” reflection form (4 forms total for each candidate). Candidates may select any of the Looking Back, Looking At, or Looking Ahead reflection forms that correspond to each Habit for that purpose. Link to forms: https://resources.corwin.com/knightbetterconversations
  4. A written reflection statement that includes the coach’s thoughts about how he or she is currently communicating and how she or he intends to improve. The reflection document should be no more than 4 pages long.



Certified Instructional Coaches are emotionally intelligent, very responsive to teachers, embody a stewardship approach during coaching, are ambitious for improvement, organized, and reliable (see Knight, 2016, chapter 9). In other words, effective coaches are effective leaders, and to demonstrate that they are effective leaders, coaches need to include the following in their portfolios:
  1. A written purpose statement (no more than one page long) that describes the beliefs and values that guide their work as coaches (This document should clearly state why the coach is doing this work and how he or she makes choices about what to do as a coach.)
  2. Coach demonstrates that he or she manages time effectively to ensure that at least 70% of his or her time is spent working on Impact Cycles with teachers. Candidates will submit sections of their calendars to demonstrate how they spend their time. They will submit one month of their calendar (30 consecutive days) from the first semester and one month of their calendar (30 consecutive days) from the second semester and will show (using boldface, a different color text, or a highlighter) which actions are directly connected to specific Impact Cycles with specific teachers.


  1. Knight, J. (2011). Unmistakable impact: A partnership approach for dramatically improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  2. Knight, J. (2016). Better conversations: Coaching ourselves and each other to be more credible, caring, and connected. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  1. Knight, J. (2017). The impact cycle: What instructional coaches should do to foster powerful improvements in teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  2. Knight, J., Knight, J.R., & Carlson., C. (2015). The reflection guide to better conversations: Coaching ourselves and each other to be more credible, caring, and connected. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.