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Categories of improvement coaching dilemmas

Improvement coaches encounter common kinds of challenges as they work with teams towards different improvement aims. Four categories of challenges, drawn from interviews with improvement coaches about their practice, can be used to understand the specific needs of an improvement team in order to help that team move forward. Resources include additional questions that can help a coach reflect on their practice.

Improvement coaches work with teams and individuals at every stage of an improvement journey, supporting both their technical improvement practice as well as the social processes that enable learning and knowledge sharing.

Through interviews with improvement coaches, a team at Carnegie identified four categories of improvement coaching challenges that can be used as a tool to identify and understand issues an improvement team may be navigating. These categories, accessible below, can be used by a coach to analyze a situation and inform coaching decisions.

The video clips in this release describe the research from which the categories were identified, elaborate on how challenges in the four categories may present in practice, and offer reflection questions for coaches that can inform a coach’s next steps.

This material was shared in the coaching installment of the Living Improvement blog series.

Dive into the nuances of coaching for improvement with presenters from the Carnegie Foundation to learn how to identify and deeply understand the four most common challenges networks encounter while coaching for continuous improvement. The challenges discussed in this set are, improvement science capability, Improvement as continuous learning, coach and team relational dynamics, and environmental conditions.

These resources were included in the “Coaching for Improvement: Navigating Common Coaching Dilemmas” session at the 2021 Summit.

  • Barbara Shreve, Associate; Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science; Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Benjamin Cooper, Founder and Principal Consultant, Benjamin Cooper Consulting LLC
  • Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Why Focus on Improvement Coaching?

This clip explains why continuous improvement coaching is important and how the Carnegie team conducted their research in order to better understand common coaching practices and challenges.

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(Watch from 2:52–5:30)


The 4 Categories of Improvement Coaching Challenges

In this clip, presenters identify four emergent categories of improvement coaching challenges and provide an overview of how each challenge may appear while coaching for continuous improvement.

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(Watch from 6:09–13:07)


Questions for Reflecting on the Challenge

This clip offer questions for coaches to consider, elaborating on how the 4 categories of improvement coaching challenges can be used to inform coaching decisions.

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(Watch from 16:03–20:42)


Four Categories of Coaching Challenges

In this resource, find detailed descriptions of the four emergent categories of improvement coaching challenges identified during interviews with improvement coaches across the field.

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See the full Living Improvement: Coaching Resources from the 2021 Summit blog post to learn more about other improvement coaching resources.