Essays

Steplab is more than just a professional learning platform—we also work with the community to develop and test approaches to school improvement. We'll share our thinking here as we go.

Building your coaching skills: by picking a great model

Essay • 18 Jan '23
Harry Fletcher-Wood

Seeing is believing… and knowing what to do. That’s why sharing a model can make such a big difference to anyone who's learning a new skill. This is true for our students, but it's also true for teachers trying to improve their practice by adopting new techniques, or finessing existing ones.

When we offer teachers a model, we might:

  • Show an exam...

How can PD Leads support busy teachers to become great coaches?

Essay • 11 Nov '22
Rachel Sewell

This blog post explores:

  • The challenges Professional Development Leads typically encounter when training new and more experienced coaches
  • How the Steplab Coaching Programme supports coaches’ ongoing development

Ahmed’s Story

Ahmed is about to launch Instructional Coaching in his school. He’s attended some online training, and has been working wit...

Coaching: 4 Implementation Challenges And How To Defuse Them

Essay • 28 Apr '22
Josh Goodrich
Arielle Boguslav

Every school we know of that has ‘successfully’ implemented Instructional Coaching changes something about their coaching programme every single year. Implementing instructional coaching isn’t a finite challenge that you can eventually complete. Instead we argue that, like teaching, implementing Instructional Coaching consists of ‘persistent challe...

Coaching and Diagnosis: Part 2

Essay • 2 Feb '22
Josh Goodrich

Coaching & Diagnosis

Part 2: Single Steps & Change Sequences

In these posts on diagnosis in coaching, I argue that we should move away from a focus on the next highest-leverage step, and towards the idea of a coaching curriculum.


In part 1, I introduced the two differing cases of Paul and Gillian and argued that:

  • Effective coaching is abo...

Coaching and Diagnosis: Part 1

Essay • 3 Jan '22
Josh Goodrich

Coaching & Diagnosis

Part 1: Solving Problems & Setting Goals

The central idea of Instructional Coaching is deceptively simple. As a coach, we watch a teacher in action, help them to select a 'high leverage' change (Bambrick-Santoyo, 2016) - a teaching strategy that will make a big difference to the learning of their students - and work wi...