How to use Incremental Coaching to support teacher development


Ambition School Leadership has published the first ever report into incremental coaching, a form of teacher development. 

The report suggests the practice is an effective way to foster the professional growth of teachers and leaders.

It finds that 71% of respondents strongly believe that incremental coaching helps pupil progress and 82% of teachers surveyed strongly agree their practice had benefitted from incremental coaching.

Incremental coaching is a form of teacher development based on an approach to observation and follow-up conversations advocated in Leverage Leadership by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo. It involves a regular and ongoing cycle of teaching observation and follow-up conversations.

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The study draws on evidence of the practice in six schools, four primary and two secondary, in three different academy trusts.

The sample schools were at different stages in their implementation of incremental coaching, but all have now used the approach in their overall strategy to drive school improvement. 

Overall, the report’s evaluation found that incremental coaching has been introduced successfully by all the schools studied, which range from outstanding to demonstrably improving. The approach is endorsed strongly by the school leaders. 

71% of respondents strongly believe that incremental coaching helps pupil progress

Ambition’s report, organised into five sections, sought to answer the following research questions:

  • What is incremental coaching and why is it important?
  • How do schools introduce and implement incremental coaching?
  • What is the quality of the incremental coaching process?
  • What are the benefits of incremental coaching?
  • What is the future of incremental coaching?

Backed up by research evidence, the analysis provides not only an informative resource on the practice of incremental coaching, but also a practical guide for middle and senior leaders to implement it.

82% of teachers surveyed strongly agree their practice had benefitted from incremental coaching.

Next steps:

Read our 12-page report summary for more benefits of incremental coaching.

For discussion of the theory and findings read the full report by Peter Matthews.

Find out about more ways to develop your leaders by taking a look at what our Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders programmes have to offer. 

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