Page 67 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 65 staff. Participants were chosen from the instructional coaches who participated in leadership development and the colleagues they were coaching and leading. Research participants in the current study answered open-ended questions based on their role to provide their perceptions of their experience. In addition, the researcher utilized document analysis of existing documents from the leadership development group. This type of analysis included drawings, notes, teaching documents, power point presentations, videos, journal entries, recordings, or other personal documents (Johnson & Christensen, 2017). Participants were asked to voluntarily share any documents they had. Summary of Findings and Interpretation of Results Research Question 1 (RQ1) What are the perceptions of participants of a teacher leadership group on their development as instructional coaches? For RQ1 about the perceptions of how the participants developed in their teacher leadership, five themes were identified from the group documents and interview transcripts: coaching relationships, administrative support, regular meeting time, crucial conversations with modeling and role playing, and emotional intelligence. Coaching Relationships Many of the participants emphasized in their interviews the importance of developing coaching relationships between the instructional coaches and the teachers they were leading. One participant said about his or her role as an instructional coach, “I just wanted to be a safe place where teachers could seek guidance, get support, and have someone to lean on.” While the teachers were not asked about the development of the instructional coaches, many of their interviews also mentioned the important coaching relationships that developed between them and their instructional coaches. One teacher participant shared, “It is comforting to me to know that I am cared for by my instructional coach. I know I’ll never be judged for messing up. I know I’m safe to ask questions. They always do things to brighten my day and our relationship makes me better.” Administrative Support Instructional coaches also noted the need for administrative support for their growth in leadership as part of the leadership development group. One participant said, “as growing leaders, we needed our administrators to be thought partners and help us work through scenarios and offer advice.” Instructional coaches require coaching and support to be effective in their leadership of campus policies, supporting other teachers, and carrying out the school’s vision. Regular Meeting Time Regular meeting time shows up in document analysis several times as this leadership development group held this expectation as a norm and reviewed it at every meeting. In the participants’ training reflections, there are an additional 12 occurrences where they reflect on the importance of a protected time to meet and develop together as leaders. All of the instructional coaches disclosed in their interviews that regular time to meet and work together was a critical part of the leadership development group and their development as instructional coaches. Crucial Conversations with Modeling/Role Playing All of the instructional coaches participated in Crucial Conversations training and shared in their interviews that this was one of their most used skills in their leadership development and roles in coaching and leading teachers. One participant said “I never realized how many crucial conversations I would need to have in a leadership role.” If instructional coaches and administrators are able to study and practice the art of a crucial conversation, while keeping their focus on the service to others, they will be successful in bringing about improvement and change. This level of skill can only be reached through continuous learning, building capacity, and practice (Patterson, 2002). Emotional Intelligence Another important component of the leadership development group that was commented on several times in the instructional coach interviews was the use of Bradberry and Greaves (2009) Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand,