I wouldn’t have a passion for inspiring and empower teachers through instructional coaching if it weren’t for the many thought leaders listed below. The following books come from authors I admire and have had the awesome opportunity of learning from through their books, via social media, and/or in person! Many people often ask for book recommendations. I thought this would be the perfect place to share my recommendations.  I will continue to add resources, so stop back often.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase. Your price does not change. My opinions are my own and I only recommend goods and services that I believe will genuinely help you.


Book by Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz and Kathy Perret

The Coach Approach to School Leadership: Leading Teachers to Higher Levels of Effectiveness

It is really exciting to add this link to my resource page. This book has been 5 years in the making and will be released May 26, 2017. We address the dilemma faced by many principals: how to function as learning leaders while fulfilling their evaluative and management duties. The answer? Incorporating instructional coaching techniques as an integral part of serious school improvement.

Books by Jim Knight

Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction 

My love of Instructional Coaching got its start with this book by Jim Knight. I was fortunate to receive “Train the Trainer” training from Jim. This book lays the foundations for instructional coaching. In it, readers are introduced to The Partnership Principles and the coaching moves. Jim shows his readers that he is a learner himself by the following books that have been published after this one. He has a new book coming out soon specifically about the moves of the coaching cycle.

High Impact Instruction: A Framework for Great Teaching

Once instructional coaches understand a coaching process, they need high impact instructional techniques to add to their tool kit. This book provides coaches (and teachers) with many strategies. They are divided between four categories, which Jim Knight refers to as The Big 4 (behavior, content, instruction and formative assessment).

Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction

As a new coach I had devoured anything “Jim Knight.”  This book really pulled all my learning together and formed my foundation for systems thinking. A coach is only one small piece of a much larger picture. If the pieces are in misalignment or even missing, the picture isn’t complete. Is your school ready to be an Impact School complete with a focused improvement plan, a school culture focused on growth and a clear alignment of purpose and action?

Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High Impact Instruction

To truly reflect on our craft, whether teaching or coaching, video taping ourselves can be powerful. Today, the technology to accomplish this is readily available. We can use our phones, tablets, or computers. The only real thing stopping us is our own fears. Jim Knight provides strategies, tips and several reflection protocols to get the most from using video to make an impact! A reminder for coaches and administrators – model the way!

Better Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to be More Credible, Caring, and Connected and Better Conversations Study Guide

Jim Knight’s book Better conversations is a book for all educators and beyond. Both the book and study guide help us explore the six beliefs and fine tune the ten habits to better conversations. Our students’ academic, social, and emotional growth depends upon our doing this hard work. We can all examine our conversation techniques and grow!

The Impact Cycle: What Coaches Should do to Foster Power Improvements in Teaching and The Reflection Guide to the Impact Cycle

Jim Knight has done it again! The Impact Cycle comes loaded with a wide variety of tools to help you reach your coaching goals, starting with a comprehensive video program, robust checklists, and a model Instructional Playbook. Jim writes, “When we grow, improve, and learn, when we strive to become a better version of ourselves, we tap into something deep in ourselves that craves that kind of growth.” Read The Impact Cycle and soon you’ll discover how you can continually refine your practice to help teachers and students realize their fullest potential. The Reflection Guide provides a structure to ensure implementation of The Impact Cycle!

Books by Steve Barkley

Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching

Steve Barkley reminds us that coaching is more than a position. Coaching is a mindset – a mindset of reflection and growth. Coaching can take place between colleagues, with a coach or even with an administrator. Steve provides many examples how to create a culture of coaching in your school.

Instructional Coaching with the End in Mind

Steve Barkley introduces us to a backwards planning approach to building instructional coaching programs in schools. He suggests that teachers don’t cause student achievement; students do, when armed with the right learning behaviors taught and modeled by others. Each adult in the building has a role to play including teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators. This alignment is necessary if accelerating student learning and achievement is your goal.

Questions for Life: Powerful Strategies to Guide Critical Thinking

Steve Barkley introduces a unique model, Questions for Life, that elicits vital critical thinking skills students need in this challenging and changing world. Fast forward to the world of instructional coaching and the same techniques can be used in reflective coaching conversations with teachers.

 Books by Diane Sweeney

Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals

Student-Centered Coaching is grounded on the premise that school-based coaching can be designed to directly impact student learning. Diane Sweeney shares a model for designing and implementing student-centered coaching as well as a variety of tools and practices coaches can use as they partner with teachers to design instruction that targets student learning.

Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level

This follow-up to Diane Sweeney’s book listed above. This book applies the principles and tools of student-centered coaching to the unique challenges of middle and high schools. Highlights include addressing the challenge of coaching across a variety of content areas, coaching teams of teachers, using standards to coach specific goals for student learning and embedding formative assessment into coaching conversations.

Student-Centered Coaching: The Moves

Diane Sweeney is joined by Leanna Harris. Together the provide an in-depth look at the day-to-day coaching moves that build powerful coaching relationships. The moves include an abundance of field-tested tools and practices that can be put to immediate use before, during and after a lesson. The books unique feature, QR codes, link readers to videos of sample coaching conversations.

Leading Student Centered Coaching: Building Principal and Coach Partnerships

This is an excellent companion to the Student-Center Coaching philosophy. Strong leadership is essential in any successful instructional coaching effort. This action-oriented guide, developed by Diane Sweeney and Ann Mausbach,  provides principals and district leaders with the background, practices, and tools required for leading coaching efforts that have a measurable impact on student and teacher learning.

Books by Elena Aguilar

The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation

Elena Aguilar offers a model for transformational coaching  which addresses systems change. Elena’s passion equity issues in schools is evident and refreshing. She addresses the needs of the adult learners while maintaining a student-centered focus. She provides real life situations that readers can relate to and implement in their own coaching practices.

Art of Coaching Teams: Building Resilient Communities that Transform Schools

Instructional coaches are busy. Many serve multiple grade levels and ever travel between several schools. It is difficult to reach everyone. Enter The Art of Coaching Teams. Elena Aguilar shares tools, and clear instructions for the logistics of team development as well as for building trust, developing healthy communication, and managing conflict. Aguilar reminds us that here is no universal formula for building a great team, because every team is different. Different skills, abilities, personalities, and goals make a one-size-fits-all approach ineffective at best.

Books by Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral

Building Teachers Capacity for Success: A Collaborative Approach for School Leaders and Coaches

Collaboration between school leaders and instructional leaders is essential! If this is missing your efforts, no matter how well developed, will suffer. Pete Hall & Alisa Simeral offer a strength-based school improvement model so that administrators and coaches can bring out the best in every teacher, build a stronger and more cohesive staff, and achieve greater academic success. They have walked in your shoes as an administrator and coach!

Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building your Capacity for Success in the Classroom

Teachers work hard to make a positive difference for students. This book is for them! Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral adapt their Continuum for Self-Reflection, introduced in Building Teachers Capacity for Success, for teachers so that they can take charge of your own professional growth. They will help teachers identify opportunities to reflect on instruction, and begin to forge a path toward continuous growth and educational excellence.