The text of this post is by Adam Kulaas

Last month, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Phoenix Suns and, while the Warriors winning a game is not an abnormal occurrence, the way in which this one came to a conclusion was unique. Midway through the game, Warrior head coach Steve Kerr turned the clipboard and coaching responsibilities over to his players. While this blog is not intended to debate the “rights” or “wrongs” of this decision, it is extremely relevant in illustrating the underlying (and in the best models I have have seen, transparent) mission of coaching. After the game, Kerr provided an explanation that included a fairly simple explanation: “They have to take ownership of it,” Kerr said. “As coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction and guide them. We don’t control them; they determine their own fate.”

Kerr’s ideas about coaching also apply to education. School coaches ought to be capacity builders that unlock educators’ potential and help their school communities grow. They should not deliver mandates or control teacher growth, but as shared by Kerr, “guide them.” Effective coaches help to develop agents of change — not educators who learn to comply and follow someone else’s lead. As you listen to the podcast, I encourage you to think about how instructional coaches are presented and utilized in your learning community.

Key Takeaways:

[1:30] What school coaching looked like back when Adam started coaching (two decades ago).
[4:47] What motivated Adam to get into school coaching and what the sorts of change he wanted to see were.
[5:42] What Adam has seen unfold and evolve in school coaching that has led to good teaching models today.
[6:38] The importance of instructional coaches being able to build strong, transparent relationships.
[9:14] What effective coaching looks like to Adam and Emily.
[13:00] Adam unpacks how schools can transform their learning to become more student-centered.
[16:02] One of Emily’s favorite leaders that she finds most inspiring.
[17:13] How does Adam customize coaching to each new school or educator.
[20:18] Where Adam sees learning and education headed with tech in the coaching space.
[24:24] Where Adam sees coaching headed and what he thinks leaders need to know next.
[28:26] The four lessons about coaching Emily learned from Adam during the duration of the podcast!
[29:30] Where to find out more about the work Adam is currently up to.

Mentioned in This Episode:

“S2:E55 Coaching for High-Quality Project-Based Learning”
Daniel Pink
@AdamKulaas on Twitter
The Getting Smart Team Page

Want to Learn More About Coaching and its Effects on Education?

Listen in to “S2:E55 Coaching for High-Quality Project-Based Learning” to hear from New Tech Network coach, Andrew Biros on coaching for PBL.

For more, see:


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