Instructional Coaching as a Catalyst for Professional Growth: A Multiple Case Study of the Coaching Relationship between Novice Teachers and Instructional Coaches

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Novice teachers enter the field of education with expectations that teacher and alternative education programs have provided the knowledge and skills they will need to deliver quality instruction and run their classrooms effectively. These challenges in their first years, lead to feelings of isolation and frustration, and ultimately early-career teacher attrition. Current federal legislation suggests instructional coaching as a method for improving teacher quality, perhaps yielding a viable solution to effective professional learning for novice teachers. This multiple case study explores two relational cases, including an instructional coach and novice teacher in a professional partnership over the course of one year. Two conceptual models illustrate how the participants interact in the partnership to produce outcomes. Transformative learning theory guides the study as a theoretical lens for exploring the novice teacher’s development of new knowledge and the process of perspective shifts or transformative growth. Multiple data sources were used including semi-structured interviews with the novice teacher and the instructional coach, recorded coaching conversations, coaching logs, and classroom visit anecdotal notes provided as feedback from the coach. The findings showed the coaching relationships are complex, especially as coach’s build trust with teachers. Trust was a critical factor in how open and collaborative the novice teacher was during interactions. The findings revealed that the coach’s ability to build the relationship including building trust, offering time to collaborate, and opportunities to reflect on their practices, led to the novice teachers’ professional growth. Implications suggest that coaches need time and ability to work on the relationship as a priority in their roles. Principals are critically important as they provide the instructional leadership to empower coaches and teachers to develop strong relationships that may not only produce effective outcomes related to the teacher’s growth but address critical issues with attrition.

Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2027. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.

instructional coaching, novice teachers, transformation, professional growth, coaching relationship