The purpose of this paper is to identify the coaching structures that aspiring principals associate with developmentally consequential coaching interactions; identify structural features/functions/attributes that shape a structure’s developmental utility and use; and consider how a multifarious coaching structure might advantage the learning experiences of aspiring principals.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative study included multiple interviews with two cohorts of aspiring principals (n=20) from one preparation program and with their leadership coaches (n=5) and was framed using the theories of social capital and networks, situated learning, and distributed cognition.FindingsThe authors identified eight coaching structures that aspirants identified as consequential to their learning and development. The authors identified four structural features/functions/attributes that shape a structure’s developmental utility. The authors identified three factors that contribute to the developmental utility of this multifarious coaching model.Research limitations/implicationsThis study includes a relatively small participant sample –70 percent of the aspiring principals from two cohorts within one preparation program. Data do not include direct observations of coaching interactions within the context of individual coaching structures.Practical implicationsThe findings suggest that the structuring of leadership coaching is a critical consideration for those designing leadership coaching programs. This multifarious structuring of leadership coaching created three developmental affordances.Originality/valueThis paper generates new knowledge for the field of principal preparation related to the structuring of leadership coaching and ways in which structuring can shape aspirant learning experiences. These findings are likely to also be instructive to those interested in coaching more generally.
Journal of Educational Administration – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 10, 2018
Keywords: Principals; Leadership development; Situated learning; Social networks; Leadership coaching; Principal preparation