Making the Case for Live Coaching, Pt. II

Please enjoy Part II of our spotlight on live coaching. You can find Part I here.  

Having never experienced live coaching themselves, leaders often hesitate to live coach their teams for the first time. Their hesitation is often spurred by these “myths” that arise in professional discussions with leaders:

MYTH #1: Less invasive techniques are always the best techniques to use.

  • The best technique to use is the one that equips a teacher with a new skill quickly and efficiently. When teachers acquire skills and can execute at a higher level, students learn more- that is the heart of our work. In many instances, this can be done using a technique not visible or audible to students, and in numerous instances it requires more presence and intervention from the leader. Teacher growth for the sake of student learning should drive every decision in live coaching. The videos below demonstrate how each technique can be employed effectively when live coaching.

MYTH #2: When students hear my voice, it diminishes the teacher as the classroom leader.

  • While typically regarded as “more invasive”, audible prompts, live modeling, and classroom takeovers are powerful tools for teacher growth. There is a spectrum of invasiveness within the delivery of these distinct techniques. When live coaching is strong, each of these should be perceived as the leader being an active participant and member of the classroom – fully immersed and engaged in the expectations and learning that is occurring at every moment. Live modeling and classroom takeovers should be punctuated with a statement that clearly restores the teacher back as the center for scholar focus and leader of the room.

MYTH #3: Teachers will be caught off guard if I live coach them! It may cause blunders that derail a lesson.

  • Preparation is key. Prior to live coaching, teachers need (and deserve) structured, isolated practice of high-leverage skills. Teachers then need clarity about what live coaching is going to look and sound like when the leader appears to prevent unnecessary surprise. Each of the embedded videos below begins with a clear, concise check in, in which the leader and teacher discuss exactly what the live coaching will look like.

We have already talked about how live coaching is driven by effectively employing the techniques below:

  • Nonverbal prompts
  • Whisper prompts (also written prompts or prompts through blue tooth earpieces)
  • Verbal prompts 
  • Live modeling/classroom takeover

These techniques vary primarily in the amount of presence and voice inserted into instruction by the leader/coach. The following clips clearly demonstrate live coaching techniques that can be quickly and effectively adopted into a leader’s coaching routine.


BES offers expert coaching for school leaders and their teams. Read more here.