In this #coachbetter episode, Kim talks with LaTyia Rolle, Elementary School Principal at the International School of Brussels. LaTyia “recently” moved from US public schools to international schools and she brings a wealth of experience working with instructional coaches as a school leader. 

On this call they talk about why coaching is so essential for schools AND school leaders, what makes it successful, in particular what international schools can learn from US public schools, how to help school leaders see the value of instructional coaching, the connection or overlap of coaching and middle level leadership, and what school leaders need to consider as they’re building a coaching culture. 

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Please share a little bit about your journey as an educator

From Northern CA, grew up always knowing I wanted to be a teacher. Loved education & being at school. Fond memories of my educational journey. As I got older, I saw some of the inequities that were built up in the education system, particularly around access and I really wanted to change that process. One of the big pieces I really caught on to at an early age is inclusive education, and ensuring that everyone is included. Credential in SpecEd + general ed. It’s the hardest best work in the world. The opportunity I had to team teach & co-teach with other general educators grounded me in my beliefs around teaching & learning.  District started including children with significant disabilities into the system. Had some phenomenal mentors who coached & supported me along the way. 4 years of VP, then became a Principal. Principal of the same school I graduated from. Thought this was it for me, but then had a friend who went overseas. Took a risk & moved to Berlin, Principal at JFK School in Berlin. Now ES Head at ISBrussels

Why do you believe in the power of coaching? Why is coaching so essential for school leaders? For educators?

Was exposed to coaching very early in my school district in CA. We had coaches for everything (instructional coaches, behavioral, subject area). Title 1 school with over 1000 students. Had all these supports. Met with my coaches together, did the Strengthsfinder activity with them. Each region had an outside coach who would come once a month. From there assigned coaches to work with different grade levels. Targeted the coach to the need.

Some of the negative experiences of my peers with coaching was because there wasn’t a shared journey, desired goals.

Coaches helped me put time limits on talking, and create shared accountability. Sometimes accountability is viewed negatively, but we’re being held accountable for our students. We want to be doing things that are making positive impacts daily – in social emotional

How did you make the connection clear?

Making sure the surveys that were given were around what components would make this successful, keeping it about the process, not the person. Based on the needs for the grade & the expertise of the coach. Support this grade level in all areas, plus a specific expertise.

Relationships. Difficult to form relationships with many people for teachers when they’re needing to have a close relationship with families, teams, and students. Giving them one person to focus on really made a difference. Shared focus area, with one person who will be at every meeting

You’ve worked with coaches in a variety of school settings. What made those experiences successful (or not)?

For teachers: Be honest with your coach: share everything: good, bad, ugly, the OK, the things you’re not sure about – for 2 reasons

A really good coach can make a proper assessment based on current, accurate data. In order to go farther, faster, be honest with them from the beginning.

For leaders: having a coach is like having a life jacket. They are always there when you need them. And you can walk around with the lifejacket and it’s not weird. Having a lifejacket is a normal thing to have on. We can only be better for our teachers, for our schools, for our boards, our families, when we have that person.

For coaches: make and set attainable goals. We need to feel successful.

Some of my peers and colleagues created enormous lofty goals, but it wasn’t really something they could accomplish. Really being strategic about little goals, feeling successful. We feel good when we’re making success. This is how we were able to replicate this.

You allowed us to walk through the process of why things were successful. We have to learn from our mistakes and be willing to take risks. When you have a coach that’s supporting you with that process, it’s good.

Be transparent about the coaching process with our teachers. So much of the time we’re asked to coach teachers, sharing them that we’re going through this process too. We’re all in this together.

When you compare your experience in public schools and international schools, what do you see as some of the key differences in how coaching is implemented? What are the challenges for instructional coaching in international schools specifically? How can we work to avoid those?

Comparing Systems & Structures from school districts in the US, to International Schools, what are some gaps, what should we be paying attention to?

You want to grow the people and grow their own self awareness and self efficacy in the person first. Harder to think about being aligned with common assessments. Getting back to shared vision. If you have a process in which all of you have shared norms and agreements, shared communication structure, shared outcomes and a manner in which to communicate the different ways each teacher chooses to teach, and look at what took place and measure the success of students, and how successful the teacher felt in terms of student learning.

Curriculum: making sure we have a way to record the data around how our students are doing, then using the data to guide our instruction so we’re not getting comfortable with where we’re at. If we’re transparent in the process and have clear communication structures, then we can identify the components to the lessons and assessments and standards and still have autonomy. People have to feel open and honest and not competitive and a really good coach to record that.

What’s YOUR level of coaching mastery?

All coaches go through various stages of coaching mastery. Once you identify where you’re at, you can begin to build the skills needed to move to the next stage.

This quiz is based on real-life case studies compiled from years of working with coaches inside The Coach Certificate & Mentorship Program!

When you receive your results, you’ll also get your matching case study from the STRIVE Case Studies to see where you fit in the stages of coaching mastery.

Ready to tackle your challenges and move on to the next level in YOUR coaching practice?

The STRIVE Model of Coaching Mastery quiz will help you identify your level of coaching mastery by matching you with case studies compiled from years of working with coaches inside The Coach Certificate & Mentorship Program so you can easily see where you fit!

You’ll go straight to the Quiz, and get the Case Study Document via email.

Show Notes continued…

How can we help other school leaders see the value in coaching – not just for themselves but in terms of instructional coaching programs in schools?

Leaders: it’s isolating and there’s so much on our shoulders, the best support for a leader is to help provide clarity. What is low priority, what is high priority, am I in the weeds, am I in the clouds, is this vertical teaming, is this horizontal articulation. We need glasses to help us find clarity in our work.

What’s on my plate: write down the many things that are on the plate. Look at one piece on the plate. Seeing all the things on the plate is a little overwhelming. I’m owning where I’m at and I’m taking one step closer towards being able to achieve by taking a closer look at them. 

Coaches give you the opportunity to look at the jacket, put it on tight, adjust it and make sure it’s secure before running around and doing all the things.

Teaches: collective efficacy has the biggest impact. Think about the person that you see at school that gives you the energy to keep going. We’re always better when we have that person to get us focused, hype us up and pause a moment to help us reflect. We can’t keep doing the same thing, even if it’s working: our students are changing, our families are changing, our world is changing. In international schools, this is happening at such an alarming rate, we have to adjust.

A coach is the outside person to help you funnel through all those pieces, going through all those parts. 

We need to provide middle leaders with coaching support to help facilitate their thinking to process everything that they’re responsible for, so they can bring that kind of thinking to their teams.

Coaching & Middle Leaders

Coaching jobs were removed after COVID, so then the responsibilities were put on middle leaders, without a lot of support. The challenge is to transition this into growth.

Schools are taking on a trainer of trainer model – to be successful with this make sure you focus on one area for training by being intentional (book studies, modeling, collaborative planning, show & walk through, time to work on their own).

Two groups have been really successful in MLL training: you, Kim & ECIS. There is not one way to train MLL. I need to know what your needs are and here are the components to help you be successful.

Toolbox so that when they’re in a conversation with a team, they have a set of tools to work through. The only way you can feel confident about your tools is if you can practice. The only way you can practice is when you’re allowed to be a leader, so when they’re in a coaching space they can be the learner.

There’s a feeling of dread that I have to commit this dedicated time to thinking about how I am and how I’m doing. We want to stay in the space of decision making, taking action. After we have that reflection, we are so grateful. We provide this opportunities naturally to our students and give ourselves grace for it. The power of having that time, just an hour a week, gives me time to be better, for me, my team, my school, my family, my community. We all need this space.

What should school leaders (or coaches) consider when working towards building a coaching culture? 

Clarity: being clear from the beginning. We have a coach, we’ve looked at all of our data, these are the three key areas we need support with. Being strategic about what the coach is doing and where they’re going.

Relationships: if you’re doing virtual coaching, make sure you have a mix of group sizes (individual, partnership, group). Making sure the coach has the opportunity to hear each voice. Figure out what people’s personal preferences for communication are. Little things, that we can be strategic about it, go a long way

Set attainable goals: we need to feel successful and we need to know where we’re going. Having the courage to set the goal, once the relationship is built, once there’s a solid understanding.

Accountability. People want to be held accountable but there’s been so many negative experiences with accountability that it always goes towards evaluation / supervisory. But all it needs to be is just acknowledgment. We go through the same process with our students, we don’t allow ourselves to go through the same process: taking risks, growing from the risks, documenting what went well and why, and then write down the steps & process to be able to do it again. 

Ready to Learn More about Coaching for Schools and School Leaders?

If you’re ready to dig deeper into what makes instructional coaching successful – or if you’re new to instructional coaching and you’re curious about getting started, join us for one of our courses for coaches!

To learn more about these options, we have three FREE workshops to share with you today.

For New or Aspiring Coaches

If you’re just getting started as a coach, and you want to be successful in your early years, watch our New to Coaching Workshop, which highlights the key mindset and skill set shifts you’ll need when moving from the classroom to a coaching role. The workshop will also tell you all about our online course, Getting Started as a Coach. This course is specifically designed for classroom teachers who are moving into a coaching role so you’re prepared for the transition. It’s focused on exactly the skillset & mindset shifts you need to so you can be successful in your first years as an instructional coach. 

For Experienced Coaches

If you’re already a coach & you want to think about being more intentional & strategic in your practice, watch our workshop on the Thrive Model for Coaching Success which will help you evaluate your program and your practice to see where you may have room to grow. You’ll walk away with a clear picture of exactly what you need to focus on to build a thriving coaching culture – and help you decide if our year-long mentorship and certification program, The Coach, is right for you, right now. This program is designed for current coaches who are focused on building a coaching culture through intentional and strategic coaching work at all levels – with teachers and school leaders.

For Coaches Ready to Lead

For experienced coaches ready to look at the bigger picture of the school to see what might be supporting or hindering the sustainability of the coaching program, and you want to make sure your school has all of the systems and structures in place, watch our workshop: Scaling Your Impact as an Instructional Coach. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of what’s needed to make coaching sustainable for you as an individual coach and for your school. When you’re ready to put that learning into action, join us in our online course for coaches ready to lead: Coaches as Leaders and put it all into practice – with support from Kim and our global cohort! This course is designed for experienced coaches, ready to lead.

You can find all the workshops on our coachbetter website at

Wherever you are in your coaching journey, we can support you!

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