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What is Data? Really.

Another Instructional Coach recently asked me, “What do you use for data?” See the thing is, a lot of coaches right now are spending more time building relationships than actually focusing on instruction. The social, emotional need of teachers is incredibly high right now! So, how do you impact others at work if your calendar isn’t booked full of coaching sessions?

Well, that brings me to the question of: What is data? Does data have to be numbers? No. Can it? Yes. But real-life data is everywhere, in the hallway, in the office, in your emails. Consider some of the data points below, and reflect on how these components could directly relate to your impact on your staff. 

  • The number of smiles you receive walking down the hallway
  • The amount of times teachers pop in your office
  • The number of teachers willing to work with you
  • The tone of conversations
  • The number of positive notes you’ve left teachers
  • The amount of “extra work” teachers are completing
  • The focus of conversations
  • The number of emails vs. the number of meetings
  • The instructional tools and/or resources you’ve created
  • The number of questions you get following a meeting
  • The time you spend preparing for… 
  • Nonverbal body language during …


All of these data points relate directly to these 3 questions:

  1. Do you have strong, established relationships?
  2. Are you being purposeful in your work?
  3. Are you effective in your implementation?

Relationships are a must to move people forward! Without them, you can’t improve instruction. Relationships are strong when you have effective communication, explicit direction, and clarity in your message. If your message isn’t clear, then there is confusion which leads to more work and frustration by the teachers. Know your audience, know your message, and simplify it as much as possible. 

To keep yourself sane and produce the best results, you have to time manage well. Time management and efficiency makes our work streamlined and achievable. If we don’t implement our tasks within a timely manner, then again, we give ourselves more work and more stress. Streamline your process, prioritize necessity, and do away with the unnecessary to meet the needs of you, your staff, and your purpose. 

I challenge you to reflect on these areas and determine what your data shows right now. 

The littlest decisions, the tiniest adjustments, the smallest moments…Can have the BIGGEST impact.


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