The One Thing Coaches Should Do to Improve

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.

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?”, and their answer was “video recording coaching conversations”.

In this 2-minute video, I explain why I think they were right and why I believe everyone can learn from video recordings of themselves.

We Can’t Do Better Than Our Best

How did your weekend go? If you’re like me, the events we experienced this weekend may have prompted you to be in some tough conversations either face to face or online, and—again—if you are like me, you may not be happy with how you handled each interaction. What I urge you to do today, in this last video in this series, is to make sure you are not too hard on yourself. You can’t do better than your best, and none of us is perfect. Healthy relationships usually require forgiveness at times. To foster better conversations, we can start by forgiving ourselves.


Reflection is a big part of learning. When we reflect, we can look back at something, such as a behavior, assess how we did, and then think about how we can do better based on what we’ve learned through reflection. In today’s video, I talk about how we can use reflection to get better at the way we control emotions, build connections, and listen.


Is listening the most important communication strategy for coaches? Maybe. Listening certainly is essential for effective coaching, but it is also essential for almost any meaningful communication. And, when we asked people from nine countries around the world to video record and watch their conversations, listening was the one strategy they identified that they most needed to improve. In today’s video, I talk about listening, why it is important, and I share one simple strategy that will help anyone become a better listener.

You can download free forms to help you improve as a listener (and improve at demonstrating empathy) here:


What does it take to create a great coaching program?

As a researcher, I’ve had the pleasure of studying coaching for more than two decades. That work has, over time, surfaced 7 factors that are essential for coaching programs to succeed.  In today’s video, I offer a quick summary of those factors.  If you’re interested, you can also read more about them in the descriptions of the workshops we offer addressing all 7 of those factors at the link I’ve included below:

Professional Development >

Why Principals Must Support Coaches

One of the most important factors shaping a coach’s effectiveness is the support or lack of support provided by the coach’s principals. When principals support coaches, the coaches usually have a very significant impact on teaching and learning. When principals don’t support coaches, the coaches usually struggle to have any impact at all.  In today’s video, I explain what principals need to do to support coaches, and why it is important.

Also, if you’re interested, ICG offers workshops that go into much more detail about what principals should do to support coaches.  You can read about that workshop and others on our new website at this link:  ICG Workshops


Trust—An Essential Part of Coaching

Our research has found that the most important variable in coaching is trust.  When teachers trust their coach and their school system, they usually embrace the help that coaches provide.  However, if they don’t trust the coach or system, they likely will not want to participate in coaching.  In this 4-minute video, I describe the five most important factors involved in building trust and how anyone can get better at building trust.

Also, you can download some free reflection forms for assessing how well you build trust, here: Trust Forms

How to Ruin a Coaching Relationship

Developing a healthy coaching relationship can take months or even years, in some cases, but a coaching relationship can be ruined in a few seconds.  In this video, I explain that judgment and gossip are two practices that can be especially damaging.