Date of Award



© 2022 Kathleen A. Provost

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Gizelle Luevano

Second Advisor

William (Grinell) Smith

Third Advisor

Marco Rodrigues


Instructional coaching continues to be a professional development model that many districts utilize to foster professional growth among their teaching staff. Although instructional coaches are usually content area and pedagogical specialists hired as experts, there is a high level of teacher resistance to instructional coaching due to lack of trust reported between coaches and teachers in the kindergarten through 12th grade setting. Although previous research has signified the need for instructional coaches to build trust with their teaching colleagues, few studies captured the lived experiences of instructional coaches in how they build relational trust. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of instructional coaches as they describe key conditions that need to be in place to build relational trust and diminish resistance to coaching, and to explore the structure of their trust building experiences with their teaching colleagues. Two research questions guided this study: (1) What human or environmental conditions do instructional coaches identify as key to establishing and building relational trust with the teachers they serve? (2) What are the perceptions of instructional coaches about how these key conditions mediate relational trust in the coaching context? Semi structured interviews were conducted with seven instructional coaches with six or more years of coaching experience. Data analysis followed Moustakas’s (1994) Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) protocol to identify themes, patterns, and trends using a structured method developed by Moustakas (1994) for IPA qualitative data analysis. Six themes emerged: (1) Many Hats, (2) Coaching Needs, (3) Resistance to Coaching, (4) Care Ethics, (5) Active Listening, and (6) Adult Learners. Results revealed that these expert coaches viewed their experiences building relational trust as mostly positive, with a minimal amount of resistance to instructional coaching. Each participant discussed ways in which they created space for their teaching colleagues to be vulnerable and take more risks as adult learners by building trust through caring relationships. Findings also showed that the advantages of instructional coaching as an in-house professional development model are abundant if established with care and critical understanding of the needs of adult learners. Educational organizations and administrators can increase the effectiveness of in-house instructional coaching models by implementing policies and procedures that minimize resistance and promote relational trust.


Ed.D. Dissertation