#187 How to coach responsively with Josh Goodrich

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Sponsor details

This episode of the Mr Barton Maths podcast is proudly supported by Casio Education. Check out the fantastic resources they have available for teachers here: education.casio.co.uk/mr-barton-maths

Episode details

In this episode, Craig Barton interviews Josh Goodrich, the co-founder and CEO of Step Lab, about his experience as an English teacher and his work in teacher education. They discuss the importance of instructional coaching and the challenges schools face in implementing effective coaching programs. Josh emphasizes the need for schools to de-implement ineffective practices and create a culture that supports coaching. He also introduces the concept of mental models and how they impact teachers’ ability to change their practice. The conversation highlights the importance of awareness, insights, goals, and specific technical knowledge in coaching teachers. The conversation explores the coaching process and the importance of challenging misconceptions, using critical evidence, and introducing new ideas. It emphasizes the need for observation, hypothesis formation, and gathering evidence to support coaching sessions. The conversation also discusses the use of a framework for lesson observation and the importance of diagnostic questions. Additionally, it highlights the value of rehearsal and planning for implementation, as well as the inclusion of why diagnostics and suggested actions in coaching. The chapter concludes by emphasizing the significance of rehearsal in building habits and shaping teaching techniques. In this conversation, Josh and Craig discuss the implementation of coaching in education. They explore the journey of overcoming the initial awkwardness of coaching and the importance of planning forward. They emphasize the need to link coaching to learning objectives and the value of scripting and refining coaching sessions. They also share stories of coaching challenges and lessons learned. The conversation delves into the effectiveness of live coaching and the benefits of group rehearsal. They discuss the logistics of small group coaching and the role of diagnostic questions. Finally, they reflect on the changing perspectives on coaching and the importance of mental models in coaching.


  • Instructional coaching is an evidence-informed approach to professional development that can lead to significant improvements in teaching practice.
  • Implementing effective coaching programs requires schools to de-implement ineffective practices and create a culture that supports coaching.
  • Mental models, which include awareness, insights, goals, and specific technical knowledge, play a crucial role in teachers’ ability to change their practice.
  • Coaching should be tailored to individual teachers’ needs and take into account their level of experience and existing mental models. Challenging misconceptions and introducing new ideas is crucial in coaching to help teachers improve their expertise.
  • Observation and the use of critical evidence are essential in coaching to support teachers in recognizing and addressing their teaching challenges.
  • Using a framework for lesson observation can provide a structured approach to identify areas for improvement.
  • Forming hypotheses and gathering critical evidence can help coaches and teachers identify areas of improvement and develop targeted strategies.
  • Asking diagnostic questions can help coaches gain insights into teachers’ awareness and understanding of their teaching practices.
  • Rehearsing and planning for implementation are important steps in the coaching process to ensure effective implementation of new strategies.
  • Including why diagnostics and suggested actions in coaching sessions can help teachers understand the purpose and relevance of the strategies being discussed.
  • Rehearsal is a critical component of coaching, as it helps teachers build habits and shape their teaching techniques. Overcoming the initial awkwardness of coaching is a necessary journey for teachers to become comfortable with the practice.
  • Planning forward and linking coaching to learning objectives are critical steps in effective coaching.
  • Scripting and refining coaching sessions help make the process less intimidating and more effective.
  • Live coaching can be challenging and may not always be the most effective approach, especially when it adds cognitive load to teachers.
  • Group rehearsal is a valuable tool for introducing coaching techniques and building a shared understanding among teachers.
  • Small group coaching can be effective when implemented with careful planning and consideration of individual needs.
  • Changing perspectives on coaching involve recognizing the importance of mental models and the need for diagnostic questions.

Useful time-stamps:

  1. Education, teaching, and music with a former English teacher. (5:33)
  2. Teaching strategies and reflecting on early years of teaching. (12:19)
  3. Teacher’s struggles with classroom management and improvement with coaching. (15:35)
  4. Instructional coaching in education. (20:50)
  5. Implementing coaching programs in schools. (27:10)
  6. Coaching and changing teacher practice. (30:00)
  7. Improving teaching methods through mental models. (35:10)
  8. Teacher experience and mental models. (37:52)
  9. Coaching teachers to overcome misconceptions in the classroom. (42:55)
  10. Teaching framework and lesson planning. (49:35)
  11. Coaching techniques for teachers. (52:18)
  12. Teaching strategies and classroom observations. (57:44)
  13. Coaching techniques for math lessons. (1:01:52)
  14. Coaching techniques for teachers. (1:05:22)
  15. Coaching techniques for teachers. (1:10:48)
  16. Improving teaching methods through rehearsals and planning. (1:15:49)
  17. Rehearsing teaching techniques to improve effectiveness. (1:19:30)
  18. Coaching techniques for teachers. (1:23:21)
  19. Coaching experiences and diagnostic strategies. (1:27:31)
  20. Live coaching in education. (1:32:37)
  21. Coaching in education, including feedback and classroom management. (1:35:11)
  22. Coaching techniques in education. (1:40:32)
  23. Improving coaching in a department. (1:45:31)
  24. Coaching and teaching methods. (1:48:50)
  25. Coaching in education with valuable insights. (1:54:15)

About the guest

On Twitter, Josh is: @Josh_CPD
Josh’s book, Responsive Coaching, can be purchased here
To find out more about StepLab visit: steplab.co

Josh’s Big 3

  1. Sources of Power by Gary Klein
  2. Shaping professional development to promote the diffusion of instructional expertise among teachers by Sun et al
  3. Teaching core practices in teacher education by Pam Grossman

My usual plugs:

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