The Role of an Instructional Coach: Heat vs. Light

 Coaching Heat vs. Light

The ideas of heat and light apply to the role and duties of an instructional coach.

This is one of the first things I learned as an instructional coach, from the wonderful and talented Dr. Michael Murphy. He shared how heat and light can be connected to what we do as instructional coaches.

What to look for in this post:
  • How to use heat and light as an instructional coach
  • Heat and light can empower you as an instructional coach

If you prefer to hear me talk through this, here is a video featuring all of this content:

[0:23] How to Use Heat and Light as an Instructional Coach

Heat is something that can cause some pressure. It can make people uncomfortable and push them toward change. Light supports people and helps them to do things.

For me, I learned pretty quickly that I have no heat. I do not pressure teachers to do anything. I am not evaluative, and they do not answer to me. All I have is light. I am there to support them whenever they get heat from an administrator or in other situations.

[1:12] Heat and Light Can Empower You as an Instructional Coach

I think it is empowering to keep in mind that I am in charge of light. There are, of course, moments where I wish I had a little more heat. Sometimes teachers are not being accountable for what we are supposed to be working on, and it would be nice to push them a little bit. Ultimately, however, I have no heat. I am grateful for that almost all of the time.

As you go out there as an instructional coach, I definitely recommend keeping in mind the idea of heat and light. Go be the best light that you can for these teachers that you support.

As a coach, be the best LIGHT that you can for teachers.

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