On the path to 'becoming'

Awareness of their own mental models can help coaches stretch and grow

By Joellen Killion
Categories: Career pathways, Change management, Coaching, Implementation, Learning designs
December 2019
Vol. 40, No. 6
Coaches make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions that affect the daily work of teaching and learning. These decisions are not arbitrary; they are guided by the mental models coaches hold. Mental models comprise our assumptions, beliefs, and generalizations, and they shape how we see the world and act in it. The concept of mental models, popularized by Donald Schon in his study of how professionals learn (Schon, 1987) and Peter Senge in his work on organizational learning (Senge, 1990), has been described in multiple academic fields since the late 19th century. Coaches’ mental models are powerful factors in determining how they see and understand their clients’ classrooms, the school context and culture, and the work that needs to be done. This is one reason

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Joellen killion
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Joellen Killion is a senior advisor to Learning Forward and a sought-after speaker and facilitator who is an expert in linking professional learning and student learning. She has extensive experience in planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of high-quality, standards-based professional learning at the school, system, and state/provincial levels. She is the author of many books including Assessing Impact, Coaching Matters, Taking the Lead, and The Feedback Process. Her latest evaluation articles for The Learning Professional are “7 reasons to evaluate professional learning” and “Is your professional learning working? 8 steps to find out.”


Categories: Career pathways, Change management, Coaching, Implementation, Learning designs

The Learning Professional

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