Principals Boost Coaching's Impact

School leaders' support is critical to collaboration

By Learning Forward
Categories: Coaching, Implementation, Leadership
February 2015
For the past 12 years, I have worked with peer coaches in more than 40 countries, and I have seen schools where peer coaches have collaborated with colleagues to improve teaching and learning in classrooms across the school. In other schools, coaches have played a critical role in creating a culture of collaboration that helps build the school’s collective capacity to improve teaching and learning. But in many schools, coaching is yet another small-scale, short-lived educational experiment. Explaining the differences in success is key to understanding how to implement coaching successfully. Successful coaches know their effectiveness in collaborating with peers to improve teaching and learning hinges on the support of principals who control the budget and other key resources. Many coaches also understand that the

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Les Foltos

Les Foltos ( is founder and director of Peer-Ed, which helps teacher leaders develop the skills they need to coach colleagues. This article is adapted from his book, Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration (Corwin Press, 2013).

What is Your Coaching Focus?



Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Fullan, M. (2011). Whole system reform for innovative teaching and learning. Available at

Killion, J. & Hirsh S. (2013, August). Investments in professional learning must change. JSD, 34(4), 10-28.

Knight, J. (2011). Unmistakable impact: A partnership approach for dramatically improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Meyer, K., Peterson, K., McMann, M., King-George, S., Ragan, V., Huston, M., & Foltos, L. (2011). Coaching plan. Peer Coaching V4. Available at (Requires login.)

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

Categories: Coaching, Implementation, Leadership

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