Decomposing the observation-based coaching process: The role of coaches in supporting teacher learning

Yanjuan Hu*, Klaas van Veen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Coaching is increasingly emphasised as a promising feature of professional development, yet concrete understanding of this complex process is lacking. This study investigates an observation-based coaching process by interviewing coaches and teachers from a three-year longitudinal PD programme. Findings indicate that coaches often supplemented their pedagogy by establishing coaching culture and credibility, which were embedded in four general coaching phases. Depending on how a coach chose, stressed and shifted among coaching phases, the coaching process can vary mainly between prescriptive and collaborative coaching pathways, with multiple routes to shift between them. Findings also suggest that these pathways require different combinations and intensity of coaching culture and coaching pedagogy to be effective. Lastly, the coaching pathway framework not only illuminates different coaching pathways but also helps coaches differentiate their coaching in the future (i.e., shift between and stress different phases), corresponding to the needs of individual teachers related to specific topics in their unique school context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-294
Number of pages15
JournalTeachers and teaching
Issue number3-4
Early online date27-Sep-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Coaching process
  • coaching culture
  • coaching pedagogy
  • coach quality
  • coaching pathway

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