Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Early Years (2022)



Copyright © 2022 TACTYC; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Coaching is increasingly being used as a mechanism to improve the quality of early childhood education. Yet, for coaching outside of researcher-controlled interventions, limited information details coaches’ reports of their practices’ professional learning needs. We addressed this gap via an exploratory study utilizing online questionnaires of 91 coaches working with educators in a Midwestern US state across 12 coaching initiatives. Most participants had less than 5 years of experience working as an early childhood coach. Almost a third coached for multiple initiatives. Coaching occurred via multiple formats and often addressed behavior management and social emotional development regardless of the coaching initiative. Coaches identified challenges regarding scheduling and working with difficult learners and reported that peer support and being coached themselves were the most beneficial learning experiences. Findings suggest that the perspective of the coach is important in informing training and professional learning for both coaches and educators.