Reeves, D. B. (2007). Leading to change: Coaching myths and realities. Educational Leadership, 65(2), 89-90.

Author: Reeves, D. B.



Coach has come to mean many things in today's professional world: There are business coaches, life coaches, instructional coaches, leadership coaches, and literacy coaches, to name a few. While the power to effect change buzzes throughout the rhetoric around coaching, according to Reeves, the research is inconclusive. This article attempts to sort through the rhetoric to find insight for educational coaching.

Reeves explains that there are two dominant types of educational coaches: The first emphasizes coach as ally and support, the second emphasizes coach as guide toward altering performance. Reeves argues that when the focus of a coaching relationship is to provide emotional support, rather than to provide the guidance necessary to promote change in performance, the coaching partnership becomes counterproductive. Without judging coaches who have involved themselves in offering emotional support, Reeves clarifies that when the coaching relationship acquires a therapeutic element, it has moved beyond the professional qualifications of the coach. This article, and Reeves' perspective, is thought-provoking in light of the echoing emphasis on the importance of building relationships to creating effective coaching experiences. Reeves does not argue against the importance of building relationships, but instead articulates what those relationships should look like: Useful coaching relationships must incorporate mutual goals and commitment, must be focused on improving or prompting change in performance, and must include accurate, consistent, and timely feedback.

This article highlights the lack of decisive research on educational coaching, and identifies the types of coaching that have been linked to improved results. It is a quick and interesting read for administrators, instructional coaches, literacy coaches, teachers involved in coaching, and researchers in the field of literacy coaching.

Date Added: 01/24/2008


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