Support Planner:  Coaching


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Conversations and coaching

Knowledge is constructed in conversations. Typically inschool conversations review

  • what we know (our knowledge and understanding)
  • what we want to achieve next (our goals),
  • arrangements we will make
  • what we are going to do (our actions)
  • and our overall approaches

for supporting particular students and those who work with them (teachers, aides, family...).


The Planner is used to provide up-to-date information: history, alerts, observations, support actions, goals, contacts, existing commitments and other arrangements. Using the Planner in  conversations is likely to improve the quality of the information it contains. Errors can be discovered and corrected, gaps filled in, new commitments recorded, and so on...and most important of all, people make better sense of what the data means and the quality of the data (accuracy, completeness, currency...) is improved.

'Working with' includes Coaching

Coaching is about how to do what needs to be done. And there are lots of people who do things that support the students. Coaching is an aspect of most conversations involving the Planner which focuses on what to do and how to do it.

Making sense of the situation with data

Coaching includes three steps that use data to make sense of the situation:


That is, in sense-making we distinguish three steps.

  1. Do we SEE the data?
  2. Do we ATTEND (pay attention) to the data?
  3. Can we ACT, or get others to act on he data?

The Planner is useful at each of these steps:

  1. Enables users to gather, organise and present the data thus making it easier to see what is happening in the situation
  2. Informs conversations in which people pay attention to the data
  3. Enables actions to be
    • planned
    • made
    • managed, and
    • monitored (thus making it easier to see the results  - go to 1. above)

Coaching Students

Young Town (Mario Bergamin) have had great success coaching students. Each Monday senior staff use the [Observations - variable] report to identify students who were not traveling well in the previous week.

This information is also available from the [Update Observations] button (click the 7 Days tab).


Senior staff them meet with individual students and use the Planner to make sense of

  • what has been happening,
  • when,
  • where,
  • how situations developed,
  • what the student did in response,
  • what else the student could have done
  • what they will do next time

These conversations lead naturally into coaching.


Note from Prospect High: When shown what is in the Planner many students are shocked at what they have been doing. Implication: it is wise to be cautious about the assumptions we make. What is obvious to us is not necessarily obvious to students.


Is it worth the effort? Young Town are absolutely convinced. One boy had initially been involved in 10 to 15 incidents a week - eight weeks later he had not been involved in an incident for a fortnight. Consider the likely value of that over the rest of that student's life

Coaching starters

Perth Primary (Sally Milbourne) has developed some key questions to be incorporated in coaching conversations. Coaching involves not just knowing what has been happening.  A good coach works with the coachee to making sense of what has been happening and what might be possible in future. Check out these coaching starters.

Coaching Staff

 West Launceston (Helene Boyer) are trialing a strategy where senior staff meet regularly with individual teachers to review goals, arrangements, approaches for supporting students in the teacher's class by working through the [Review Class] view together.


 In the sessions the Planner is used to provide up to date information (history, observations, support actions, existing commitments and other arrangements); to revise the existing information; and to record new commitments made. In particular the ISP actions are updated and any appropriate new Support Actions are entered during the conversations.

Effectively this puts the senior staff in a supporting / coaching role with respect to the teachers. It also brings the senior staff (school) up to date with respect to particular students. And this provides a basis for ongoing everyday conversations and understanding the results of the weekly ISP checklists that are part of the process.


Initial responses from staff are very encouraging. And senior staff are delighted to be much better informed. It is likely that the language of teachers will change significantly and the consistency of support for students will improve.

Coaching Families

Ravenswood Heights (Craig Woodfall) pioneered making the information in the Planner freely available to families with several important results

  • better use of language
  • better working relationships with families
  • more consistent support for students
  • better quality data
  • ...

Sharing information and collaborating with families naturally leads into coaching.


Brooks (Kelly Hudson) also reports big returns from sharing information:

"The other day I printed a student's Timetable, History, Incidents etc. for a parent who

says we do nothing for her child - she responded with 'Oh' . . . . It was a nice to put the

facts on the table for discussion - this helped us move away from blame to developing a

cooperative plan between home and school."


Young Town and West Launceston are among several schools that have been using a recent inclusion in the Planner.

This 'report' enables the school to provide parents with up to date information including at the click of a button

1. Our current goal for [student name]

2. What has been happening lately [observations]

3. Everyday things we are doing to help [IS Plan]

4. Other comments (personalised memo to the parent)


This report allows the school to communicate more easily and naturally with the family. Parents can also contribute information and suggestions.


It is also possible to include everyday things the family will do to help,

eg, "Get Josh to school by 8.40 each day".

And the school presents itself as being well informed and very professional which can help if the other parties have a need to save face and instinctively would like to discredit the school.

Mario's comment:

"The dialogue that has been created between families is positive and powerful."

Coaching Colleagues

In reviewing the above Rob Carter Leader of the Tasman East Coast Cluster Support team wrote about support and interventions as capacity building in schools, families and communities (not just problem solving):

 " Our interventions and support are aimed at building capacity of school based teams to successfully provide inclusive environments and programs. This extends to families and school communities.

And about the the value peer coaching in your team meetings (not just exchange of information):

First and foremost our regular Support Team meetings provide opportunities for coaching. We have a fantastic mix of experienced professionals and 'apprentices'. All new referrals are entered and hyperlinked to the Planner. As a team we are able to discuss and provide each other with useful 'coaching tips' about how best to proceed.





Ivan Webb Pty Ltd 2001 onwards