All Articles Education Voice of the Educator 3 ways performance metrics can improve, demonstrate coaching impact

3 ways performance metrics can improve, demonstrate coaching impact

Goal-setting, student outcomes and proficiency are just of few of the reasons to track coaching performance metrics, Donna Spangler explains.

6 min read

EducationVoice of the Educator

Ruler measuring wood block tower spelling out word success for article on coaching performance metrics

(BrianAJackson/Getty Images)

Are you an instructional coach seeking to enhance your impact, growth and improvement? We use performance metrics daily to track fitness, finances and productivity progress, yet not always in our work. Why are we neglecting instructional coaching performance metrics?

As key players in enhancing educators’ teaching practices and improving student outcomes, instructional coaches can significantly benefit from implementing performance metrics. This practice allows them to assess and improve their effectiveness, make targeted improvements and ultimately amplify their impact.

What many coaches rely on instead of metrics

Despite the potential benefits, many instructional coaches shy away from using performance metrics. This could be due to a lack of awareness or training, resource constraints, resistance to measurement or unclear metrics. Instead, they often rely on qualitative feedback, such as anecdotal evidence, personal reflection, teacher satisfaction surveys and indirect measures like teacher performance or student outcomes, without directly linking these changes to specific coaching actions.  

These alternatives are problematic because they lack objectivity, provide inconsistent data, limit accountability, miss opportunities for specific coaching improvement and inadequately demonstrate the true impact of coaching on stakeholders, such as administrators and policymakers. Unclear coaching data can affect funding, support and the perceived value of coaching programs.

What data should performance metrics track?

Performance metrics are objective measures used to evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of an individual’s or organization’s activities. In instructional coaching, performance metrics assess and enhance the effectiveness of coaches and their impact on teaching and learning. These metrics offer a structured means to evaluate various aspects of the coaching process.

By providing a clear, objective basis for assessment, metrics move beyond subjective impressions and anecdotal evidence. They enable instructional coaches to set specific, measurable goals and track progress over time. Metrics help identify strengths and areas for improvement, guiding professional development and training for instructional coaches.

It is important to balance both quantitative and qualitative data in performance metrics. Quantitative data provides objective measurements, while qualitative data adds context and deeper insights. Together, they offer a comprehensive understanding, enabling more precise and impactful improvements in instructional coaching.

3 examples of coaching performance metrics

  1. Goal-setting and progress monitoring. For this metric, the coach sets SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals in concert with another coach or colleague and conducts regular check-ins to discuss their progress, challenges and support needed.

An example of this metric might be “Increase the number of effective instructional strategies shared with teachers by 20% within four months,” using monthly check-ins to discuss progress and provide support. This structured approach helps ensure that coaches are making consistent progress toward their goals and can adjust their strategies as needed.

This performance metric establishes clear, measurable goals for instructional coaches and regularly monitors their progress. It uses quantitative data to track progress toward measurable goals (e.g., 20% within four months) and qualitative data from discussions during check-ins. This comprehensive approach, incorporating both types of data, reassures coaches about the thoroughness of the monitoring process. Goal-setting provides direction and purpose, while progress monitoring ensures accountability and allows for timely adjustments.

  1. Teacher performance and student outcomes. For this metric, the coach uses data from teacher evaluations and student performance metrics (e.g., test scores, engagement levels) to assess the impact of coaching and then analyzes the correlation between coaching interventions and improvements in these areas.

An example of this metric could be reviewing student assessment data before and after coaching interventions and teacher evaluations, noting significant improvements in specific instructional areas addressed during coaching sessions. For instance, if a coach focuses on enhancing teachers’ use of formative assessments, student performance data on related assessments should be analyzed to gauge the effectiveness of the coaching, instilling confidence in the positive outcomes of coaching.

This metric links the performance of instructional coaches to teacher performance and student outcomes. It combines quantitative data from teacher evaluations and student performance metrics with qualitative observations and feedback in narrative reports on observed changes in teaching practices. Ultimately, instructional coaches’ effectiveness should reflect improved teaching practices and better student outcomes, making this a critical metric.

  1. Proficiency scales. For this metric, the school or coach takes the lead in creating and implementing proficiency scales. These scales define specific competencies for instructional coaches, such as communication, feedback delivery and instructional strategy implementation. Each competency is further broken down into proficiency levels  (e.g., beginning, developing, proficient and advanced). This empowers coaches to use these scales for self-assessment, goal-setting and tracking progress, putting them in control of their professional development journey.

For example, to start to create the proficiency scale for “Providing Actionable Feedback,” you might define the levels like this:

    • Level 1 – Beginning: Provides general feedback with little specificity.
    • Level 2 – Developing: Gives more detailed feedback but lacks consistency.
    • Level 3 – Proficient: Consistently offers specific, actionable feedback that teachers find useful.
    • Level 4 – Advanced: Tailors feedback to individual teacher needs and effectively coaches teachers to implement changes.
instructional coaching performance metric example
(Courtesy of Donna Spangler)

Then, you develop each numerical level into details regarding necessary measures like feedback quality, specificity, frequency, relevance and follow-up. Here’s a completed example of what a “Providing Actionable Feedback” Proficiency Scale might look like. 

Proficiency scales serve as indicators of skills and a road map for continuous improvement. Each level represents a stage of development, with higher levels indicating advanced understanding and application. These scales motivate coaches to self-assess and set goals for advancement, fostering a sense of agency. The scales use quantitative data through numerical ratings and qualitative data via descriptive feedback and reflective practice, offering a comprehensive view of progress. This holistic approach ensures targeted growth and effective coaching development.

Performance metrics are vital for instructional coaches, offering an objective method to evaluate and improve their effectiveness. These metrics ensure accountability, drive continuous improvement and demonstrate their impact on teaching, leading to better coaching, teacher support and student outcomes.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own. 


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