Term of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Devon Jensen

Committee Member 1

Kymberly Harris

Committee Member 2

Dan Calhoun


This qualitative phenomenological study examined the phenomenon of coaching development through Critical Friends Group training. Purposive sampling was used to choose the participants. The 14 participants were instructional coaches who were currently employed as instructional coaches in an elementary, middle, or high school and had also received the week-long Critical Friends Group training. The coaches participated in face-to-face semi-structured phenomenological interviews. To further understand interviewees’ responses, I used Hycner’s (1999) five-step process of explicitation. Data analysis revealed six themes that characterize how coaches make sense of their coaching roles through CFG training: reflection, shared accountability, critical feedback, collaborative inquiry, experimentation, and collaboration. This study has shown CFG training can be useful to other groups and in other contexts—with coaches, especially. CFG can address a variety of coaching needs. Still, a continued examination of the benefits of CFG training as professional development for instructional coaches is needed. Future training and development for coaches should include opportunities for reflection, emphasis on shared accountability and critical feedback, opportunities to experiment with new ideas, collaborative inquiry, collaboration or CFG training itself.