Date of Award

Fall 12-21-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Philip Pendley

Second Advisor

Martinrex Kedziora

Third Advisor

Emily Shaw


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to discover and describe how exemplary National Blue Ribbon elementary school principals improve student learning through effective coaching conversations with their teachers. A second purpose was to explore the barriers they encountered to holding these conversations and the actions to overcome these barriers.

Methodology: This study utilized a phenomenological design. The primary source of data collection was a standardized open-ended interviews. Using inductive analysis, the data were coded and themes were identified that aligned to the research questions.

Findings: Data analysis revealed that exemplary National Blue Ribbon elementary school principals used coaching conversations to improve student learning. Participants identified using powerful questioning, building trusting relationships, being close to teaching and learning, listening, providing specific feedback that promotes action and assuming the teacher is a professional as ways they develop coaching conversations with teachers. Four barriers to holding coaching conversations were identified. Additionally, the following were identified as actions to overcome the barriers: honesty, increasing support, positive reinforcement, scheduling time on calendar to engage in coaching conversations, and peer pressure.

Conclusions: The researcher concluded that effective coaching conversations improve student learning as they experience better relationships with their teachers that can serve as a catalyst to transform a school culture focused on growth for all stakeholders. Principals who were able to identify and address barriers to coaching conversations improved the overall teaching quality at their schools.

Recommendations: Seven areas of further research were recommended to increase the body of knowledge related to these variables.