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Enhancing instructional leadership through collaborative coaching: a multi-case study

Gary W. Houchens (Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, Western Kentucky University , Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA)
Tom A. Stewart (Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, Western Kentucky University , Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA)
Sara Jennings (T.C. Cherry Elementary School, Bowling Green Independent Schools, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 6 March 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

Executive coaching has become increasingly important for enhancing organizational leaders’ professional effectiveness. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a growing body of research literature that examines how coaching techniques help school principals improve their instructional leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a protocol based on a theories of practice framework (Argyris and Schön, 1974) to support principals in deepening their self-reflection, this study added the element of a guided peer-coaching component in a group setting.

Findings

Results confirmed the effectiveness of the coaching protocol for assisting principals in deepening their self-awareness and critical reflection regarding their leadership, including the way principals’ core assumptions about teaching and leadership shaped the outcomes of their problem-solving strategies. Perceptions of the peer-coaching element were mixed, however. While principals reported feeling affirmed by sharing their leadership challenges with others, and indicated that the group coaching experience contributed to their sense of professional community, there were limitations to principals’ willingness to challenge one another’s core assumptions.

Originality/value

This study builds on literature that cites theories of practice as a mechanism for enhancing professional effectiveness and represents a further iteration of recent research studies applying the concept to the work of school principals. Findings affirm that a coaching protocol based on theories of practice is well received by principals, serves to deepen self-reflection, and can, in limited cases, contribute to sweeping changes of thinking and practice congruent with the concept of double-loop learning.

Keywords

Citation

Houchens, G.W., A. Stewart, T. and Jennings, S. (2017), "Enhancing instructional leadership through collaborative coaching: a multi-case study", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 34-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-07-2016-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited