2020 certification open now
Welcome to ICG Certification
Standards & Quality Indicators
Your portfolio demonstrates current, accomplished coaching practice around the Seven Success Factors for effective coaching programs.
The Impact Cycle
Certified Instructional Coaches effectively implement the Impact Cycle to partner with teachers in achieving their student-focused goals (Knight, 2017).
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.1
The coach-candidate partners with the teacher in obtaining a clear picture of current reality by using video, student interviews, student work, and/or observation data. [Current Reality]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.2
The coach-candidate uses the Identify Questions with the teacher to set a measurable student-focused goal. [Goal]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.3
The coach-candidate uses an instructional playbook to aid the teacher in choosing a high-impact teaching strategy to use to achieve the PEERS goal. [Strategy]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.4
The coach-candidate uses a checklist to explain the chosen teaching strategy to the teacher and prompts the teacher to modify the strategy as the teacher wishes. [Checklists]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.5
The coach-candidate models the strategy using a modeling approach that the teacher has chosen. [Modeling]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.6
The coach-candidate begins every coaching conversation by asking the teacher about the teacher’s most pressing concerns. [Confirm Direction]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.7
The coach-candidate partners with the teacher in gathering and analyzing data on student progress toward the PEERS goal. [Review Progress]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.8
The coach-candidate partners with the teacher in making modifications until students achieve the PEERS goal. [Invent Improvements]
QUALITY INDICATOR 1.9
The coach-candidate partners with the teacher in determining more long-term work on the goal as necessary or on future goals once the goal is met. [Plan Next Actions]
The Instructional Playbook
Certified Instructional Coaches use an Instructional Playbook to partner with teachers to choose a strategy to achieve their PEERS goals. (See Knight, 2017, for an example of an Instructional Playbook.)
QUALITY INDICATOR 2.1
The coach-candidate creates, maintains, and periodically updates an instructional playbook tailored to the coaching audience that contains a selection of thoroughly vetted high-impact strategy choices for teachers to use to achieve their PEERS goals.
QUALITY INDICATOR 2.2
The coach-candidate uses the instructional playbook during the Identify Questions conversation to offer strategy choices to teachers.
QUALITY INDICATOR 2.3
The coach-candidate’s playbook contains a Table of Contents of instructional strategies, a One-Page Summary for each strategy on the Table of Contents, sufficient checklists for each strategy, and an explanation of the coaching audience and how the playbook meets their current needs.
Certified Instructional Coaches partner with teachers to set PEERS goals and to monitor teachers’ progress toward those goals, and that means that coaches must be able to gather and analyze data. (A description of the important data that coaches should gather and PEERS goals is included in Knight, 2017.)
QUALITY INDICATOR 3.1
The coach-candidate partners with the teacher in using video, student interviews, student work, and/or observation data in obtaining a clear picture of current reality in the classroom in an area of teacher-identified need.
QUALITY INDICATOR 3.2
The coach-candidate partners with the teacher in determining the form of measurement and appropriate data tools for a PEERS goal and how to track progress over time.
QUALITY INDICATOR 3.3
The coach-candidate partners with teacher in gathering and analyzing data on the goal until students meet the goal.
Because coaching involves communication, Certified Instructional Coaches continually engage in improving their communication skills and in communicating about coaching with all school stakeholders to build a collaborative school culture.
QUALITY INDICATOR 4.1
The coach-candidate communicates with teachers in a spirit of partnership as evidenced by use of the Better Conversations Habits (Demonstrating Empathy, Listening, Fostering Dialogue, Asking Better Questions, Making Emotional Connections, Being a Witness to the Good, Finding Common Ground, Controlling Toxic Emotions, Redirecting Toxic Conversations, and Building Trust) as appropriate in coaching conversations (Knight, 2016).
QUALITY INDICATOR 4.2
The coach-candidate communicates about the coaching role, the coaching approach, and the coaching process regularly with school and system administrators and teachers to foster a collaborative school culture.
Understanding Adults and Change
No matter how much knowledge instructional coaches have, they will not be effective change leaders unless they understand the complexities of helping and working with adults. Certified Instructional Coaches demonstrate that they understand how to interact with adults in ways that do not engender resistance.
QUALITY INDICATOR 5.1
The coach-candidate uses a dialogical approach (Knight, 2017) to coaching in which the coach and teachers are partners who use their collective strengths to make powerful classroom changes for students.
QUALITY INDICATOR 5.2
The coach-candidate consistently embodies the Partnership Principles (Knight, 2011) in coaching interactions to build trusting relationships with teachers and school and system leaders.
Certified Instructional Coaches are emotionally intelligent, responsive to teachers, embody a stewardship approach during coaching, are ambitious for students, organized, and reliable (see Knight, 2016, chapter 9). In other words, effective coaches are effective leaders.
QUALITY INDICATOR 6.1
The coach-candidate has built trusting relationships with teachers that have resulted in many teachers choosing to work with the coach in Impact Cycles.
QUALITY INDICATOR 6.2
The coach-candidate has an exceptional level of instructional expertise and shares that knowledge with teachers as appropriate but does so dialogically as a partner, not as an “expert” or as an evaluator.
Certified Instructional Coaches flourish in systems that support them. When district leaders and, in particular, principals, support instructional coaches, effective coaches succeed. However, when support does not exist, effective coaches may have little or no impact (Knight, 2011).
QUALITY INDICATOR 7.1
The coach-candidate has worked with school and/or district leadership to clarify the coach’s role in the school, to clarify how the coach should spend their time during the workday (with the majority of time spent working with teachers in Impact Cycles), to clarify the boundaries of confidentiality in coaching, and to communicate these policies and practices to teachers.
QUALITY INDICATOR 7.2
The coach-candidate communicates regularly with school and/or district leadership to ensure that everyone who supports coaching views it with the same theoretical perspective and to address issues concerning the coaching role.
- Knight, J. (2011). Unmistakable impact: A partnership approach for dramatically improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
- Knight, J. (2016). Better conversations: Coaching ourselves and each other to be more credible, caring, and connected. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
- Knight, J. (2017). The impact cycle: What instructional coaches should do to foster powerful improvements in teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
The ICG Certification uses a four-point rubric.
4 = Clear, consistent, and convincing evidence is apparent.
3 = Clear evidence is apparent.
2 = Limited evidence is apparent.
1 = Little or no evidence is apparent.
Scores of 3 and 4 indicate that accomplished coaching is evident.
Scores of 1 and 2 indicate that less-than-accomplished coaching is evident.
Ranges: When calculating candidate scores for each of the 7 Success Factors, we use these scores ranges:
4 = 3.75-4.25
3 = 2.75-3.25
2 = 1.75-2.25
1 = 0.75-1.25
Candidates receive an overall score between 1 and 4 on each of the 7 Success Factors. We then divide that total from all of the factors by 7 to obtain the overall score. The certification threshold is 2.75.
Candidates may not score lower than a 1.75 on any of the 7 Success Factors to qualify for certification. If they score less than that on a specific factor, then they may resubmit a revised version of that factor as a “retake” to achieve certification.
Each candidate will receive a score report like the one below. Candidates who do not achieve certification and want to retake specific pieces of the process may refer to their report for information on which sections to retake and to see where they can improve.
Download Standards & Scoring Guidelines PDF’s
Standards & Quality Indicators »
Scoring ‘Look-Fors’ »