We live in a rapidly changing and increasingly interdependent world where knowledge and innovation are major drivers of development. This means good quality education and learning are becoming even more important determinants of the well-being of individuals, the progress of countries and the quality of humanity’s common future.

Evidence-based coaching (EBC) provides a proactive, holistic, systematic approach that can support the mental health and wellbeing of our students and teachers. Strategically integrating coaching programs into the curriculum is an innovative way of helping our teachers, students, and parents to adapt to the current challenges and the challenges that lay ahead during these uncertain times of rapid change.

Whilst research is still emerging in regards to coaching in schools, we know that EBC is a systematic intervention that is backed by 20 years of science that tells us how intrinsically driven goal striving is positively associated with well-being, and performance.

What is evidence-based coaching exactly?

At it’s very core, EBC is a quality conversation. It’s a relationship, a collaborative, iterative process, and a performance enhancing tool. Coined by Dr Tony Grant, the leading pioneer of evidence-based approaches to coaching, EBC is an applied positive psychology grounded in the research of coaching psychology and empirically validated theories such as:

  • Transtheoretical model of change
  • Deci & Ryan’s Self Determination Theory
  • Goal Theory
  • Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology
  • Self-Efficacy Theory
  • Motivational Interviewing

Christian van Nieuwenburgh, one of the leading researchers of coaching in schools describes this intervention as a: “conversation focused on the enhancement of learning and development through increasing self-awareness and a sense of personal responsibility”. EBC helps to create this kind of culture where school leaders, teachers, and students are continuously having quality conversations that are focused on bringing out the best in each other.

EBC can reduce the stress and mental health problems currently impacting our students and teachers. Not only does it support the individuals involved in the coaching process, but science now tells us that the effects of these quality interactions travel beyond the conversation and create a positive ripple effect into the wider community.

EBC Models:

Student Coaching

Student coaching leads to, “significant increases in levels of cognitive hardiness and hope,” (Green, Grant & Rynsaardt, 2007).

Coaching our students can support their:

  • strengths
  • performance
  • development
  • wellbeing
  • hope
  • grit
  • hardiness
  • mental toughness
  • study skills
  • emotional intelligence
  • communication skills

Teacher Coaching

“Teacher coaching can increase levels of student engagement,” (Brown, Reumann-Moore, Hugh, Christman, & Riffer, 2008).

Teacher coaching can help teachers to:

  • reduce stress
  • achieve realistic goals
  • raise their awareness and deepen their perspective
  • build hardiness and resilience
  • support student wellbeing, achievement and outcomes

Peer Coaching

“Peer coaching has contributed to an overall improvement in teaching and learning in the schools,”(Becker, 2000)

Teacher peer coaching is a staff development model built upon trusting relationships where teachers work together to support student learning and well being.

Peer coaching can:

  • instill a sense of hope
  • facilitate the sharing successful practices
  • enhance collaboration
  • reduce isolation
  • support new and transitioning teachers

Team Coaching

“The more aware a team is both individually and collectively, the better it will perform,” (Sir John Whitmore, 2010).

Coaching led teams can empower the school by expanding the teams’ awareness, development, performance and creativity. It can help key stage levels and grade teams to set clear and attainable goals, and reduce their feelings of stress and burnout.

Leadership Coaching

Kets de Vries (2008), describes leadership coaching as “a holistic process that can result in more effective and healthier organizations.”

Individual leadership and group couching can help school administrators to deepen their perspective taking capacity, examine their approach to people in their team, and foster stronger relationships based on trust. Experts in the field suggest that group leadership coaching may produce even longer lasting results.