The One Thing Coaches Should Do to Improve
Written by Jim Knight.

In the early part of this decade, I partnered with a great group of instructional coaches from Beaverton, Oregon. What my research colleagues and I learned with Michelle, Susan, Jenny, and Lea, laid the foundation for what eventually became my book, The Impact Cycle.

The Impact Cycle

Each year as part of our research, the coaches met with me to discuss what coaches should do and how they should do it. At the end of the project, after we’d spent 30 days together, I asked the team, “What is the one thing that you think is most important for coaches to do if they want to improve?” Their answer: “Video recording coaching conversations.”


The first stage of the Impact Cycle is to Identify:

  • a clear picture of reality
  • a goal
  • strategies for improvement

Coaches can use video to help teachers to get a clear, objective picture of current reality so they can establish the teacher’s strengths as well as areas in which they can improve. This will then help them to set their goals in the coaching process and select their strategies for improvement.

In the 2-minute video below, I explain why I think the instructional coaches from Beaverton were right and why I believe everyone can learn from video recordings of themselves. ICG experts have also compiled this helpful PDF of tips for getting the most out of watching your video.

Do you have experience using video to get a clear picture of reality in the classroom? Share your story in the comments below!


  1. WA Storyteller

    Filming my sessions as a coach for sure pushed my own learning as well as positively impacted my school. It was also great to model what I was asking my teachers to consider: video of their classroom. I think it is a good idea to video various aspects of our job- meeting with teacher, co teaching, giving PD to staff, how we work in teams, etc.

  2. Sara Crystal

    I am interested in purchasing technology to enable teachers and coaches to record themselves. What are some options for this type of recording?
    Thanks for your tips!

    • Sara

      I just use phones! Super easy and everyone has them. 🙂

  3. Damond

    Swivl device allows a teacher to use a phone or tablet to film their instruction with good sound quality and no need for a camera opperator.


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