Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

It takes teamwork to make the dream work

Becoming a Good Coach - part 2

by Charity Dodd, Powerful Practices Specialist | May 26, 2015


During the training session, Supporting Adult Learning: Pathways and Potholes, the OAC Straight A Professional Development Coordinators (PDC) learned strategies about coaching their colleagues. Participants learned the Principles of Adult Learning. Those principles include:

  • Experiential: Adults need to connect new ideas or actions to what they know and do well.
  • Self-Directed: Adults need choice and opportunities to prioritize the work.
  • Life-Applicable: Adults need learning that has real-life use and is transferable to their unique circumstances.
  • Performance-Centered: Adults need learning that is hands on, engaging, or gives them an opportunity for reflection.
  • Success-Oriented: Adults need support from peers and a safe environment to take risks.

In identifying strategies and approaches that support adult learners, participants brainstormed ideas in response to each principle of adult learning. The following ideas were collected:

Principle of Adult Learning


Tool Box of Strategies

Experiential (Participate, experiences the learning)

  • Embedded, hands-on learning
  • Active participation in learning
  • Learning is personalized


  • Mentoring
  • Role-Playing
  • Shadowing
  • Professional Learning Communities

Self-Directed (Choice; opportunities to prioritize

  • Learning must be personalized
  • Learning must be motivational
  • Learning is relevant
  • Digital learning opportunities
  • Blogs/tweet chats
  • Project-based learning opportunities

Life-Applicable (real-life use; transferrable)

  • Learning is need-oriented
  • Learning is immediate/timely
  • Learning is adaptive, relevant
  • Provide opportunities for learning to be put to use immediately
  • Allow for participants to set short- and long-term goals.

Performance-Centered (hands-on, engaging, reflective)

  • Learning must be relevant
  • Learning should be collaborative
  • Learning should provide results/product
  • Learning should be interactive
  • Provide for peer observations
  • Provide for reflective feedback
  • Assign roles, action plan, timeline, and monitor progress.

Success-Oriented (Safe to try; take risks)

  • Learning must be valuable
  • Learn from mistakes and experiences
  • Learning is non-evaluative
  • Self-paced
  • Offer choice
  • Let teachers practice their learning
  • Give several opportunities for success

The Professional Development Coordinators received other materials that will support them in best supporting their colleagues in professional learning. Materials included information on the characteristics of different types of powers adults exhibit, an article on coaching, and information of the many different roles the facilitator has in school change.