Business Style of Coaching Could Work in the Classroom

Making the transition from homeroom teacher to instructional coach will be a big change for me next year.  Over the past few months, I have read everything I can about Instructional Coaching…mostly from Jim Knight and Diane Sweeney.  From their amazing insight and expertise, I was just starting to develop a sense of what coaching is all about.  Then, I looked over at my husband the other night and found that he was reading a book about…Coaching!?! He is a financial analyst at an industrial corporation…what could he possibly need to know about coaching?

Front-Cover-Blue-It turns out that his boss recommended this book, entitled GUIDE Coaching: A Leader’s Strategy for Building Alignment and Engagement.  This sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for – alignment and engagement.  I snatched the book out of his hands and was blown away!  The book was written by three women who have considerable experience in the business world as managers and top executives.  Their process is designed to help companies develop an internal culture of coaching.  As they write, “…in today’s world of high-pressure stress and fast-paced decisions, we often find ourselves defaulting to a directive mode the majority of the time and losing out on the opportunity to build alignment and engagement with those with whom we work.” Sound familiar? How many times do we get caught up in busy day-to-day duties and miss a coaching opportunity?

GUIDE Coaching Model

So what is this GUIDE Coaching Model all about? Here is what it stands for and how I think it could apply to instructional coaching in the classroom:

image courtesy of ISHR Group


G – Ground – sit down with the teacher and decide on a goal for the students that aligns with the standards

U – Understand – really listen to the teacher’s concerns and needs; let them share their dreams for their students and vision of their perfect classroom

I– Incite – brainstorm together all the possiblities that could help students reach the goal

D – Decide – design lessons that will best lead to student understanding and achievement of the goal

E – Encourage and Execute – model lessons, provide support and feedback; examine student work to assess progress toward the goal


The book goes on to describe the four types of employees in the workplace and where they fall on the grid of Alignment (Head) and Engagement (Heart).  Determining where a teacher is on the grid would help coaches understand their interests and motivations.  It can help coaches “make the transition from telling people what to do, to coaching people toward more effective behaviors and ongoing change.” Sounds great!





Where Do You Fit on the Grid?

The Good Soldier is just “going through the motions.” They meet expectations, but do nothing more.  Coaching could help uncover reasons for a lack of motivation, such as boredom or desire for something new.

The Dud has neither alignment nor engagement.  But don’t write them off! Coaching them could determine the underlying issues behind their poor performance.

The Rebel Without a Cause is very passionate and full of great ideas, but perhaps, they do not align with the school’s mission.  Coaching could provide a way to channel their creativity into goals that match those of the school.

The Rock Star has it all – head and heart!  They are enthusiastic and a team player.  So they don’t need any coaching, right? Wrong! These are the teachers that need to be challenged to keep growing.  Encourage them to take on a leadership role or to teach a workshop to their colleagues.

Even coaches are encouraged to think about where they fall on this grid and how they could best be motivated.  I found this a very helpful exercise.  And, for the first time ever, I had to thank my husband for the great book recommendation.

Apparently there are some lessons that schools can learn from the business world.




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