Coaching supports outstanding teaching

Burton and South Derbyshire College have been exploring how to make the observation process more effective.  

In order to achieve this, Burton and South Derbyshire College have been investigating the impact of coaching and mentoring as a staff development model. In partnership with four other colleges and a regional training provider network in the UK, the college conducted a series of case studies to find out how coaching and mentoring could support staff who are not meeting college expectations, as well as outstanding teachers, and staff working to train as coaches to improve their teaching. 

The college found that new developmental process and the support offered through coaching and mentoring positively impacts staff performance and staff’s happiness with their role. 

A tutor for the Foundation Degree in Dance became passionate about coaching and elected to engage in a five week programme. The tutor received two intensive coaching sessions together with periods of reflection and research. The process encouraged the tutor to feel responsible for the quality of their teaching and for their personal development: ‘The changes came from me. This was an epiphany! I was not given a list of ‘must-do’ tasks to meet a college target. Instead I felt empowered to invest some time in me!

However, unlike Chichester College, who found it worked well for observers to provide feedback and coaching after their observations, teachers at Burton and South Derbyshire College felt that there was a conflict between these roles. They discovered that the observer can struggle with this process, finding it difficult to disassociate with an old cultural process and then embark on a new developmental one. One teacher said: ‘I think the change from observer to feedback would have been OK, and the change from feedback to coach would have been OK, but observer to coach is odd to experience.’ 

Would you find it easy to move from the role of observer to coach? Are these roles part of the same process or should they be distinct? Let us know what you think by contacting us at