Illuminating Principals’ Transformational Learning During Coaching Experiences
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This phenomenological study was designed to illuminate the phenomenon of coaching as an approach to principals’ professional development and transformational learning. This transcendental method exclusively and continually places value and importance on the essence of the human experience (van Manen, 2016) of principals participating in this study. Coaching has been a productive professional development strategy for the corporate world (Duncan & Stock, 2010; Reiss, 2015) and has become a reform strategy for school leaders. Yet, there is a need for a better understanding of how coaching is utilized as a professional development tool for principals and has the potential to contribute to their development and learning. Drawing on a descriptive phenomenological approach, the study was guided by the following research questions: What are the lived experiences of principals engaging in coaching for their own professional development? How does the coaching experience contribute to their own transformational learning? Qualitative data from interviews, participant reflective journal entries and the researcher’s journal and field notes were gathered and analyzed to illuminate the experiences of principals with coaching. The purpose for doing this work is to lay a foundation for utilizing principal coaching, teacher coaching and peer coaching for teachers in order to improve all stakeholders in school districts. The overarching goal is to build a community of reflective learners so that the learning of students, teachers and administrators is transformed, resulting in positive student outcomes.