Each year, educators with a variety of roles and titles turn to Literacy Collaborative for training. The program’s foundations are rooted in evidence and work to support school improvement to reach high literacy outcomes for each child.

The Art of Coaching Institute

Discovering inspiration and motivation

Trainer Sherry Kinzel
Sherry Kinzel
Literacy Collaborative Trainer

Individual literacy coaches and teams of coaches traveled from districts in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania to participate in professional learning at The Ohio State University’s Literacy Collaborative for the Art of Coaching Institute. Sherry Kinzel, literacy and leadership coach trainer at The Ohio State University Literacy Collaborative, recently led the first three-day block of the 10-day series to prepare participants to use coaching as a strategy for developing instructional capacity among literacy teachers.

“What makes Art of Coaching Institute unique is the time we focus on attendees getting to know themselves and their learning community,” said Sherry Kinzel. “We do this through guiding teachers in building awareness of their behaviors, beliefs and ways of being – this is what leads to transformational coaching.”

A portion of session activities were drawn from The Art of Coaching (Aguilar, 2013). Kinzel incorporated the transformational coaching rubric, found in the book, which works to establish coaching technique through strategic and design planning, the coaching conversation (listening, thinking, and responding), the coach’s belief about self and client, coaching equity, the coach’s emotional intelligence and the coach’s disposition.

“The transformational model of coaching places coaches in a colleague-to-colleague role as problem-solvers, not someone who 'walks through' and merely gives feedback,” said Kinzel. “Models of coaching where the coach only offers feedback rarely make an impact on a teacher’s professional growth or student outcomes.”

Kristy Hostetler, a reading specialist with Greensburg Salem School District in Pennsylvania recently began her pathway to literacy coaching and was motivated by the experience. “The Art of Coaching Institute is one of the most beneficial and exciting professional learning opportunities I have ever participated in,” said Hostetler. “Sherry was very knowledgeable and inspirational. I love how she weaved best practices in literacy instruction through literacy coaching instruction. This has helped me to learn more about myself, so I can be better prepared to work with other teachers. I am looking forward to continuing along my journey to becoming a literacy coach."

Attendees also moved through the four domains of emotional-intelligence and engaged in baseline coaching activity to determine their personal strengths and areas for growth.

“The Art of Coaching Institute is all about growth,” said Erin Law, seventh-grade language arts teacher, James Garfield Middle School, Garretsville, Ohio. “It was wonderful to explore what it means to coach, thus growing in my own personal understandings, but also it helps me as a coach to foster growth in the educators I serve.” In addition, Law stated that the experience was mind opening and helped uncover the leadership potential she felt she had hidden away. She also spoke to the benefits of spending time focused on personal learning.

“I was encouraged to grow in my understanding of myself as well as those around me, paying close attention to the professional and emotional capacity each person carries within them – in an environment where I felt safe to explore and make mistakes. I learned skills that will serve me not only as a literacy coach but throughout life,” said Law.

1 Teachers in Art of Coaching
Art of Coaching attendees collaborated on coaching conversations and reflected on ways to improve practices.
2 Teachers in Art of Coaching
Sherry Kinzel, literacy and leadership coach trainer (left) talked with attendees about creating goals for their coaching partnerships.

The rich agenda also made way for practicing listening and responding skills, offered techniques on cultivating emotional-intelligence and synergized learning by engaging in a coaching case study. The case study included a video of a teacher and coach working together to expand their understandings of the practice of Interactive Read Aloud, a component of the Literacy Collaborative Comprehensive Literacy Framework. Educators were challenged to consider how to support the teacher with the “act” of the practice, as well as building a rationale for the practice.

Participants will complete ongoing assignments in preparation for upcoming sessions in December and April that will support them in taking a student-centered, inquiry-based approach to coaching.