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Examining the architecture of leadership coaching: Considering developmental affordances from multifarious structuring

Shelby Cosner (Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Lisa Walker (Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Jason Swanson (Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Martha Hebert (Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Samuel P. Whalen (Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 26 March 2018

Issue publication date: 10 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the coaching structures that aspiring principals associate with developmentally consequential coaching interactions; identify structural features/functions/attributes that shape a structure’s developmental utility and use; and consider how a multifarious coaching structure might advantage the learning experiences of aspiring principals.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study included multiple interviews with two cohorts of aspiring principals (n=20) from one preparation program and with their leadership coaches (n=5) and was framed using the theories of social capital and networks, situated learning, and distributed cognition.

Findings

The authors identified eight coaching structures that aspirants identified as consequential to their learning and development. The authors identified four structural features/functions/attributes that shape a structure’s developmental utility. The authors identified three factors that contribute to the developmental utility of this multifarious coaching model.

Research limitations/implications

This study includes a relatively small participant sample –70 percent of the aspiring principals from two cohorts within one preparation program. Data do not include direct observations of coaching interactions within the context of individual coaching structures.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that the structuring of leadership coaching is a critical consideration for those designing leadership coaching programs. This multifarious structuring of leadership coaching created three developmental affordances.

Originality/value

This paper generates new knowledge for the field of principal preparation related to the structuring of leadership coaching and ways in which structuring can shape aspirant learning experiences. These findings are likely to also be instructive to those interested in coaching more generally.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported through a grant from the US Department of Education and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation.

Citation

Cosner, S., Walker, L., Swanson, J., Hebert, M. and Whalen, S.P. (2018), "Examining the architecture of leadership coaching: Considering developmental affordances from multifarious structuring", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 364-380. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-05-2017-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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