Coaching is used in early childhood settings to support positive outcomes for young children and families. Although some research shows the effectiveness of coaching on practice and outcomes, little information is available on the experiences and perspectives of “coachees” as recipients of coaching support. The purpose of this in-depth, qualitative study was to understand, from the coachees' point of view, the benefits and challenges of participating in an early childhood coaching relationship. Twenty-one parents, preschool teachers, and child care providers who had engaged in coaching relationships participated in interviews and completed surveys regarding their experiences and perspectives. Data were thematically analyzed. Five overall themes and 16 subthemes emerged as salient to the experiences of these coachees: (a) qualities of the coach, (b) resources provided by the coach, (c) qualities of the coach–coachee relationship, (d) coachee transformation, and (e) challenges to the coaching process. The study identifies strengths and limitations of coaching and contributes to the understanding of essential characteristics and the implementation of coaching as a practice for supporting adult learning. The study has implications for the hiring of early childhood coaches and design of coach professional development activities.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.
Correspondence: Lisa L. Knoche, PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, 216 Mabel Lee Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sincere appreciation is extended to the early childhood practitioners, families, and coaches who provided their time and insight. The authors also thank Sue Bainter, Christine Marvin, Gayatri Jayaraman, Michelle Howell Smith, and Sandra Scruggs for their help in data collection, processing and coding.
This research is supported by a subcontract awarded to Dr. Lisa L. Knoche by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation/Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The research was conducted in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Education—Office of Early Childhood. The opinions expressed herein are those of the investigators and do not reflect those of the funding agency.
The authors declare no known conflicts of interest.