EL Education.

Building a Culture of Growth: Coaching for Growth

How do I coach for growth?

"Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge." —Eckhart Tolle, author

Developing a culture of growth in a school requires constant attention to how structures and practices promote or hinder learning for the community. This section will help you consider the coaching aspects of a growth-promoting culture in your school. You will find resources to help you reflect on your own current coaching practices as well as tools you can use to modify your coaching practices if, upon reflection, you believe doing so would benefit your teachers and students. The content of this page is written for those who hold coaching positions at their schools. 

Learning Target

I can explain characteristics of coaching practices that promote a culture of trust and a growth mindset for adults.

Read: Mindsets and Coaching

Please read The Impact of Mindsets on a Culture of AchievementThen, either reflect on your own or discuss the questions that follow.

  1. Would you currently describe yourself as having a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
  2. How does your mindset influence the culture in your building?
  3. How does your mindset influence how you coach others?

Other Topics in This Pack

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This activity will provide the opportunity for you to practice observing a classroom that is implementing Common Core literacy instruction, followed by crafting feedback to the teacher that will promote change and growth in practice. 

* Note: For the purposes of the activity below, these videos were intentionally taped and edited to highlight opportunities for growth.

  1. Thoroughly review the Instructional Practice Evidence Guide linked below. If you are working through this together with colleagues, use the evidence guide as a resource to clarify any questions that arise. 
    Guide for grades 3-12 ELA Observation
  2. View either the elementary or middle school video. While viewing, complete the first page of the Instructional Practice Evidence Guide. Feel free to view the video as many times as necessary to capture necessary evidence. 
  3. Now that you have identified the strengths and opportunities for growth in the lesson you viewed and completed the first page of the evidence guide, craft the "feedback" that you would give the teacher. Write it out in a script format, word for word. Keep in mind everything you know about a growth mindset, relational trust, and a mastery orientation. Discuss both strengths and opportunities for growth. Keep the feedback aligned to the evidence guide you used for collection.


Now that you have scripted the feedback you would give to the teacher, if you have the opportunity to work with colleagues, get ready to share your feedback using the Praise, Question, Suggest Protocol. This activity is a role play to help you experience receiving feedback and practice crafting and giving feedback that promotes growth in adults. If you do not have a small group or partner to work with, move directly to Check Your Understanding.

  1. Get into small groups of three or four people.
  2. One person gives the growth-producing feedback to someone in his or her group as if this person were the teacher in the video.
  3. Other group members listen attentively. Then offer the following to the person who just gave the feedback: 
    1. Praise: What is praiseworthy or working well about the type of feedback this person would give to the teacher in the video? Give specific points of praise. 
    2. Question: Ask clarifying questions.
    3. Suggest: Offer helpful suggestions.   
  4. Rotate and have someone new present feedback.
    * For more detailed directions with time, see the full protocol linked above. 

Check Your Understanding

Here you will find examples of growth-producing feedback for the teacher in the elementary video. Compare your feedback to this sample. The purpose of this activity is to notice the kind of language that was used in the feedback; it is not about picking up on the same exact strengths and weaknesses addressed in the feedback sample. 

Growth Producing Feedback Sample - Elementary

Growth Producing Feedback Sample - Secondary

Dig Deeper

Tips for Giving FeedbackEducation Week article with tips from Brene Brown on giving feedback. Includes links to multiple other sources on this topic. 

Synthesize Your Learning

  1. What new understanding do you have regarding growth-producing feedback?Will these materials influence your coaching of teachers?
  2. If so, how? How will you put them to good use?
  3. How will you know if you are successful in making these changes in your coaching practice? What will success look like?