Better Leaders

Time & Place

San Antonio, TX

October 4-6, 2020


6 Keynotes

24 Presenters


28 Breakout

4 Expert Panels

In light of the current COVID-19 safer-at-home orders, we are diligently following social distancing guidelines. As of now, this year’s Teaching Learning Coaching conference is still scheduled for October 4-6 in San Antonio, TX. Registration is open and payments are not required until September. Should TLC be canceled, all paid registrants will have the option to receive a full refund or move their registration to next year’s event.

As health officials make recommendations regarding our nation’s safety, we will be sure to update our website accordingly.

Conference Schedule

Day One, Pre-Conference

6 all-day sessions

Day Two

3 Keynotes

14 Breakout

2 Expert Panels

Day Three

3 Keynotes

13 Breakout Sessions

2 Expert Panels

Pre-Conference: October 4

Early Bird Registration (open to all 3-day attendees): Saturday, Oct 3rd, 5:00pm – 7:00pm


Registration: 7:00am – 8:30am

Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:30am

Session Time: 8:30am – 4:00pm

Each participant attending the pre-conference will select one all-day session from the list below.

Session Information

Key Takeaways

Seven Success Factors of Instructional Coaching

Presented by Jim Knight

Many coaches and on-site professional developers are finding themselves in highstakes, critically important roles expected to lead school reform efforts with little or no professional preparation for successfully performing such tasks. Having worked with more than 100,000 coaches from around the world for close to two decades, ICG experts have identified seven factors that must be in place in order for coaches to flourish. This workshop provides an overview of those seven factors.

Participants Will…

» Learn research-based coaching skills that can be used in professional practice immediately
» Discuss each strategy, principle, tool, or idea with other coaches to gain multiple perspectives on the learning that is shared
» Create an implementation plan to take back to schools and districts

The Instructional Playbook

Presented by ICG senior consultant, Ann Hoffman

In settings where a clearly defined set of teaching strategies already exists, this workshop guides coaches and others (e.g., administrators) through the development of an instructional playbook. This workshop is based on The Instructional Playbook: The Missing Link for Translating Research Into Practice (2019) by Jim Knight, Ann Hoffman, Michelle Harris, and Sharon Thomas. Instructional playbooks are packed with tools to facilitate the coaching process, but instead of reducing teaching or coaching to following a script, they provide a framework to apply and adjust to the specific needs of a given teacher and his or her classroom.

Participants Will…

» Develop a usable draft of an instructional playbook that can be adjusted as necessary

What Principals Need to Know about Coaching

Presented by ICG senior consultant, Michelle Harris

The impact coaches have is directly related to how effectively they are supported (or not supported) by their administrators. For that reason, it is crucial that administrators participate in professional development that clarifies what coaches do and how they can be supported. This workshop provides a deep understanding of how administrators and instructional coaches can collaborate to ensure that coaches have an unmistakably positive impact on teachers’ teaching and students’ learning.

Participants Will…

» See the instructional coaching Impact Cycle in action
» Learn how to prioritize coaches’ time and determine tasks they should and should not do
» Discuss creating an instructional playbook that summarizes high-leverage teaching strategies coaches will share
» Determine what policy should exist regarding teacher confidentiality
» Develop strategies for addressing teachers who are resistant to change

The Impact Cycle: An Overview

Presented by ICG senior consultant, Sharon Thomas

Based on The Impact Cycle (2017) by Jim Knight, this workshop describes the coaching cycle proposed for instructional coaches. All teachers, schools, and classrooms face their own unique challenges. An established process for guiding the coaching experience ensures that instructional coaches have all of the tools they need to help teachers set and achieve their goals. The Impact Cycle–the product of 20 years of ICG research, (see instructionalcoaching.com/research)–provides a framework for any coaching scenario. Participants in this workshop will learn why the cycle is successful, and gain experience using it through examples and guided exercises.

Participants Will…

» Develop a process for establishing a clear picture of reality through the use of video
» Practice analyzing video to set goals
» Practice using the Partnership Principles to help teachers select appropriate strategies for improvement
» Establish methods for reviewing progress and improving the approach

Masterclass for Experienced Coaches

Presented by Growth Coaching International executive director, Christian van Nieuwerburgh

Based on the book, Advanced Coaching Practice, this masterclass will extend your learning, enhance your reflective practice and explore the complexities of advanced practice (e.g. being creative, fully present, challenging and letting things go). By the end of this session, participants will have new insights for inspiring change in others.

Conference Day One, Morning: October 5

Early Bird Registration (open to all 2-day attendees): Sunday, Oct 4th, 4:30pm – 6:30pm


Registration: 7:00am – 8:30am

Breakfast: 7:30am – 8:30am

Opening Keynote, JIM KNIGHT: 8:30am – 9:45am

Keynote, ZARETTA HAMMOND: 10:15am – 11:15am

Getting Better Together: Leading Culturally Responsive Communities of Practice

We can’t teach what we don’t know and we can’t lead where we won’t go,” said equity leader, Gary Howard two decades ago, and it’s even more true today. Many schools are recognizing the need to become more culturally responsive as their student racial demographics shift toward higher numbers of students of color. It also means ensuring the inequitable instructional practices don’t continue to undermine the cognitive development of Black and Brown students as has historically been the case. 

Working to improve instruction and climate to be more culturally responsive requires not just more one-off PD sessions but ongoing collaborative learning among adults. In this keynote, Ms. Hammond will identify the key practices necessary to lead communities of practice to integrate culturally responsive practices in both adult communities in school as well as in the classroom with instructional practices that empower diverse students to accelerate their learning.



Breakout Session: 11:30am – 12:45 pm

Attendees will select one breakout session from the list below.

Session Information

Better Conversations (Recommended for new coaches)

Presented by Ann Hoffman

Effective coaches, leaders, and educators communicate their message clearly, build healthy emotional connections with others, and maneuver through emotionally complex situations in ways that allow them to speak the truth so that will be heard. This workshop introduces 6 beliefs and 10 habits that promote healthy and productive relationships.


» Identify and explore their own beliefs and habits


» New habits that will have an immediate, positive impact on their ability to communicate at work and at home
» A self-coaching strategy they can use to continue improving their communication skills long after they leave the workshop

Instructional Coaching and Teachers’ Professional Growth Plans (PGPs)

Presented by Steve Barkley

Most teachers have an opportunity or a requirement to complete a personal professional growth plan. Too often this process is trivial, consuming teacher and administrator time with little impact on student learning. In this session, we will explore how instructional coaches can support teachers in:

  • Developing meaningful PGPs driven by a desire to impact student outcomes
  • Creating an hypothesis that is the focus of the PGP
  • Designing evidence collecting processes that encourage on-going reflection, modification, and risk-taking
  • Sharing personal learning to build peers’ learning
  • Building coachability into the school culture   

When the Talking Gets Tough: Facilitating Courageous Coaching Conversations

Presented by Tracey Dumas Clark

In the era of heighten DEI (Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity) awareness, our work to become more courageous coaches has never been more critical. In the words of MLK, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Our teachers, our students, our parents, and our communities are depending on us to speak when it matters most. In this session, you will learn practical methods for confronting even the toughest topics while maintaining the integrity of a coaching relationship. Join us in a journey of engaging dialogue that truly makes a difference.

Inviting Connection Through Story and Empathy

Presented by Megan Tschannen-Moran

Evocative coaching is a dynamic dance, choreographed around four steps: Listen – Empathize – Appreciate – Design. The first two steps, Listen and Empathize assist the coach to connect with what’s alive in the person they are coaching. Stories reflect the sense people make of their experiences. They are never the experiences themselves– that is, the map is not the territory; they are rather attempts to understand, value, and shape the experiences in ways that make sense and guide future actions. Because coaching works with the stories coachees tell, both to themselves and to others, it is possible to change everything in the twinkling of an eye. Tell a new story (draw a new map) and get a new experience. Empathy is a respectful understanding and appreciation of someone’s experience. It’s an orientation that fosters radically new change possibilities, by shifting the focus from particular strategies to universal needs. Together, these two practices lead to a beautiful moment we call “the golden sigh,” a signal that the coachee feels heard and is ready to design a new way forward.

Coaching to Support Social Emotional Learning

Presented by Sherry St. Clair

Description coming soon

Breakout Session by Nicole Skeen, Morgan Lee, Angela Adams

Description coming soon

Breakout Session by Tricia McKale Skyles

Description coming soon

Panel 1: Equity & Coaching

Presented by Zaretta Hammond, Floyd Cobb, Alisa Simeral, John Krownapple. Facilitated by Jim Knight

Conference Day One, Afternoon: October 5

Lunch: 12:45pm – 1:45pm

Keynote, CHRISTIAN VAN NIEUWERBURGH: 1:45pm – 2:45pm

Being an Inspiring Leader: Facilitating Courageous Coaching Conversations

In the era of heighten DEI (Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity) awareness, our work to become more courageous coaches has never been more critical. In the words of MLK, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Our teachers, our students, our parents, and our communities are depending on us to speak when it matters most. In this session, you will learn practical methods for confronting even the toughest topics while maintaining the integrity of a coaching relationship. Join us in a journey of engaging dialogue that truly makes a difference.


Breakout Session: 3:00pm – 4:15pm

Attendees will select one breakout session from the list below.

Session Information

Get Your Swivl On

Presented by Vlad Tetelbaum & Rachel Ashworth

Are you a Swivl fan but feel like you’re beyond ready to take your deployment to the next level? Are you new to Swivl and need some inspiration for getting started? Or have you never heard of Swivl but are eager to implement a sustainable video program? No matter your familiarity or comfort with Swivl, this session is for you. We’ll dive into a crash course of how Swivl works and all of the popular and successful use-cases for video in your school or organization. We’ll share REAL video coaching stories both triumphs and outtakes from Swivl users who have already been in your shoes. If you’re serious about video, then it’s time to get serious about Swivl and we’ll get you “swivling” on the right foot in no time!

Amplify Student Voice with Impact Team Student-Led Instructional Rounds

Presented by Paul Bloomberg

Does your system get feedback from students on your learning focus? How is your system empowering learners to take ownership of their learning? In this session you will explore a process that Instructional Leadership Teams use to get feedback from students to ensure quality implementation of the formative assessment process (learning intentions, success criteria, evidence-based feedback, self and peer assessment, goal setting). Learn how Impact Team Schools engage students in student-led rounds to gather critical evidence to inform systemic next steps with a goal of developing a more holistic, learner-centered system.

  • Learn the research that underpins the model
  • Explore critical influences that support high-quality, instructional leadership
  • Amplify student voice to support quality implementation
  • Leverage the five steps for success to launch student-led rounds

Coaching Year One: Myths and Truths

Presented by Crysta Crum

In this session Crysta will share her coaching story moving from classroom teacher to coach, the highs, the lows, and the crazy!

The Keys to Equity Implementation: Belonging and Dignity

Presented by John Krownapple & Floyd Cobb

Too often, equity implementation reinforces a vicious cycle of failure because the keys to success are missing and the purpose of the effort is muddled. This session will bring clarity to what equity is all about so we can address it through specific actions in our teaching, leading, or coaching practices. To that end, participants will acquire a pragmatic framework of dignity and belonging that they can use to guide successful equity implementation. Walk away knowing exactly what it takes to coach, teach, lead, and generally interact with and for dignity.

ICG Coaching Certification (Recommended for new coaches)

Presented by Sharon Thomas

Description coming soon

Coaching Along the Continuum; Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success Through Differentiated Practices 

Presented by Alisa Simeral

What sets apart the mediocre from the excellent? One’s ability to self-reflect. If, according to famed John Dewey, “how we think drives what we do,” then developing and refining strong habits of thought is at the heart of all capacity-building work, and ultimately to both teacher and student success.

In this fast-paced, interactive session, take a deep dive into the popular leadership tool, the Continuum of Self-Reflection. Learn how to define and clarify leadership roles, how to best match coaching strategies to the right situations, how to strengthen PLC’s, and how to speak the right language at the right time to the right person. We can’t be a catalyst for excellence in our schools without the ability to differentiate our approach and honor the thinking that each teacher brings to the table.

Breakout Session by Kathy Perret

Description coming soon

Panel 2: Art & Craft of Coaching

Presented by Christian van Nieuwerburgh, Steve Barkley, Megan Tschannen-Moran, Sherry St. Clair

Conference Day Two, Morning: October 6

Breakfast: 7:30am – 8:30am

Day Two Welcome, ICG TEAM: 8:30am – 9:00am

Keynote, MICHELLE HARRIS: 9:00am – 10:00am

Keynote, IBRAM X. KENDI: 10:15am – 11:15am

How to Be an Antiracist

When the first Black president headed into the White House, Americans were imagining their nation as colorblind and went so far as to call it post-racial. With the arrival of Donald Trump many people are awakening and seeing racial reality for the first time. With opened minds, people are actively trying to understand racism. In this deeply personal and empowering lecture, Kendi shifts the discussion from how not to be racist, to how to be an antiracist. He shares his own racist ideas and how he overcame them. He provides direction to people and institutions who want more than just band-aid programs, but actual antiracist action that builds an antiracist America.


Breakout Session: 11:30am – 12:45pm

Attendees will select one breakout session from the list below.

Session Information

Gathering Data (Recommended for new coaches)

Presented by Ann Hoffman & Michelle Harris

Data gathering is critical to effective instructional coaching because it helps make the invisible visible by providing the capacity to assess the kinds of questions being asked in the classroom, the use of instructional time, and student engagement. Based on the Data Toolkit in The Impact Cycle (2017) and the data-gathering information included in Focus on Teaching (2014) by Jim Knight, this workshop presents the data points needed to help teachers obtain a clear picture of reality, set goals, and monitor progress toward goals. Participants will be guided through several methods of gathering data and learn how to effectively analyze data to determine specific areas for improvement.

How to Coach and Build Relationships with Sincerity and Genuine Intention

Presented by Nathan Lang-Raad

Coaches have a deep passion for not only the teaching practice but more importantly the support of teachers. It is widely accepted that the largest challenge instructional coaches face is the creation, building, and maintaining of relationships. They must be able to work alongside a teacher and win their trust, but do so—consistently—with sincerity and genuine intention. The foundation of building authentic relationships is good communication and sincere intention. In this session, we will focus on communication strategies to help build genuine relationships with teachers.

Leadership Self-Efficacy and The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Presented by Kristin Anderson

A ‘better leader’ is a leader with a high level of leadership self-efficacy (LSE). Research has identified concrete steps to improve LSE. These methods are often mediated by feedback loops that we translate to understand ourselves and our effectiveness. These are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, how we are performing and how we are seen. This session will explore personal storytelling and the influence of narratives upon our work and our identity. We will explore ways to reveal the invisible narratives that hold us back from fulfilling our potential, discovering how to re-author our dominant narrations to take back our ‘storytelling rights’ for ourselves and those we lead.

The Space Between Two People: The Conversation Is the Relationship

Presented by Kim Richardson

When coaches/leaders begin to engage in formal leadership roles, coaching and leadership is practiced and learned on the job. Come learn about the strategies and skills that are developed in the space between people!

Holistic Leadership: Moving Learning Communities from Either/Or to Both/And

Presented by Jane Kise

Leadership—whether you are a teacher leader, an instructional coach, a building administrator, or a district leader–involves ongoing dilemmas. Unfortunately, too often in education we act as if we can solve them once and for all. Think of the reading wars, teacher accountability without adequate support, ongoing struggles with standardizing what is taught—think of the pendulum swings in what educators are asked to do because we over-focus on what seems like a solution only to create more problems! In this session, you’ll:

  • Learn to spot “polarities” — interdependent sets of values that require both/and thinking
  • Work with the “Clarity AND Flexibility” polarity in the context of implementing school initiatives. How do we implement what is best for students and ensure that educators have the autonomy they need to stay motivated?
  • Identify one personal priority for working with the Clarity AND Flexibility polarity

Co-coaching: The Partnership Between District Support and School -based Coaches

Presented by Keysha McIntyre

Who’s coaching the coach?  Effective coaches need partnership development and knowledge of how to guide teachers to make continuous improvement in their teaching practices.  This session will provide a definition for co-coaching and a co-coaching model that can be used by district support, administrators and coaches to set up coaching and student-focused goals.  Participants will be provided tools to collect data and reflect on the co-coaching process.

Session takeaways:

  • A model for co-coaching
  • Tools to collect data
  • Reflection tools for partners

This session is ideal for coaches, administrators, and teachers.

Igniting Professional Learning by Focusing on Strengths and Designing SMARTER Experiments

Presented by Megan Tschannen-Moran

Evocative coaching is a person-centered, no-fault, and strengths-based coaching model. It assists coachees to appreciate the best of what is in order to generate the best of what might be. The strengths-building turn is designed to generate eagerness and translate that eagerness into action by conducting a SOAR analysis, inquiring into coachees’ strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and resources. The point of such inquiries is to elevate the focus, self-efficacy, resourcefulness, and wherewithal of coachees. Coaches then assist coachees to design SMARTER experiments, that is, learning experiments that are not only SMART, they are Evaluated and Refined through an iterative process of trial and correction. By assisting coachees to become confident and optimistic about their ability to conduct learning experiments, coaches become catalysts for growth and change.

Panel 3: Coaching Models

Presented by Joellen Killion, Nancy Love, Aretha Lee, Rachel Lofthouse

Conference Day Two, Afternoon: October 6

Lunch: 12:45pm – 1:45pm

Keynote, MICHAEL BUNGAY STANIER: 1:45pm – 2:45pm

How to Tame Your Advice Monster

You know being curious is a superpower. It makes others smarter, it makes you more effective, and it helps any system thrive. And yet … most of us are advice-giving maniacs. We can’t seem to help it! Someone starts talking, and we feel the strong urge to leap in with ideas, solutions and advice. SO MUCH ADVICE! So what’s going on? It’s our Advice Monster. We keep feeding it, and it’s insatiable! 

In this powerful keynote, participants will:

  • Understand the impact of AGH: the Advice-Giving Habit
  • Learn about the three personas of the Advice Monster
  • Own up to just why they love to give advice
  • Design a strategy to change their behaviour, so they can stay curious a little longer, and rush to action and advice-giving a little more slowly


Breakout Session: 3:00pm – 4:15pm

Attendees will select one breakout session from the list below.

Session Information

Coach Mindsets

Presented by Joellen Killion

Coaches’ words, thoughts, and actions are driven by their mindsets. In this session, participants will examine three predominant coach mindsets, factors that typically influence those mindsets, and the ways those mindsets influence coaches’ decisions and work. In addition, participants will examine multiple ways to shift their current mindset to become more flexible and responsive to the client needs.

Check Yourself

Presented by Aretha Lee

Have you felt stressed or overwhelmed this school year? Is your job constantly evolving as you work in an era of improvement and accountability? Does it seem like your teachers never apply the best practices you share? If you answered yes to any of these questions, self-care may be solution you seek.

In this session, you will check yourself, define your stressors, utilize the room to learn from each other, explore practical ways to maintain your sanity in the midst of chaos, and discover ways to practice self-care and mindfulness while on the job. Participants will walk away with tools and notes of inspiration to remind them that they are greater than the sum of their parts.

Student-Work Analysis That’s All About the Kids!

Presented by Nancy Love

When teachers analyze their students’ work based on clear criteria for success, they make important discoveries about what students understand, where there are gaps, and how to adjust their teaching. Through a data simulation, participants will learn how to apply a protocol for determining to what extent each criterion for success is met in a set of student work. Once teachers identify patterns for the whole class as well as individual students’ need, the conversation shifts to how to provide students with feedback, reteaching, and extension opportunities based on the results.

Unlocking Potential: How to Encourage “Aha!” Moments

Presented by Christian van Nieuwerburgh

What can coaches and leaders do to increase the likelihood of “aha!” moments in the people around them? This interactive workshop provides practical strategies that will allow participants to empower others to come up with their own creative solutions. This session is appropriate for instructional coaches, educators, and administrators.

Re-writing Professional Leadership Narratives; Learning from Coaching Research for Better Practice

Presented by Rachel Lofthouse

Every school leader is unique, and their professional narratives are career-long and intricate, but too often their storylines hold tension. When leaders experience an “erosion of their resilience”, we need to be concerned and we need to find solutions. Coaching isn’t a shiny solution, in fact it can take the gloss off the stories we tell ourselves about our wellbeing and our reality, and show us the raw underbelly, but that can allow us to take positive action.

Recent research in the UK illustrates the power of specialist coaching to allow school leaders to re-frame their past narratives and to re-imagine and re-shape their futures. In this session participants will explore narratives of education leadership and the potential of coaching in creating rich and positive real-life stories.

Leadership & Coaching

Presented by Rowena Shurn

In this interactive session, participants will examine 21st-century coaching through lens diversity, equity, and cultural competency. As a learning community, We will unpack the structures for creating synergy between and among building-level leadership. We will explore the teaching workforce and identify strategies and systems to coach and mentor teachers across the career continuum.

Breakout Session by Bill Sommers

Description coming soon

Panel 4: Coaching for Success

Presented by Michael Bungay Stanier, Kristin Anderson, Jane Kise, Nathan Lang-Raad

Conference Concludes

Please note the conference will conclude on Tuesday, October 6th at 4:15pm.