Cognitive CoachingSM

Art Costa & Robert Garmston


The mission of Cognitive Coaching is to produce self-directed persons with the cognitive capacity for excellence both independently and as members of a community. 

School Building


Research indicates that teaching is a complex intellectual activity and that teachers who think at higher levels produce students who are higher achieving, more cooperative, and better problem solvers. It is the invisible skills of teaching, the thinking processes that underlie instructional decisions, which produce superior instruction. Cognitive Coaching is a research-based model that capitalizes upon and enhances teachers’ cognitive processes.

Cognitive Coaching Seminars® are an eight-day training generally conducted over an 18–24 month period of time. It can be delivered in flexible formats depending on the needs of the agency. Agendas for Days 1–4 include the Planning Conversation Map and the Reflecting Conversation Map as well as the tools of Cognitive CoachingSM. Days 5–8 provide for skill refinement and understanding of the Problem-Resolving Map.


Some configurations for scheduling include but are not limited to the following:

Configuration 1:

  • Days 1 and 2 consecutively, Days 3 and 4 consecutively spaced over one school year

  • Days 5 and 6 consecutively, Days 7 and 8 consecutively spaced over a second school year

Configuration 2:

  • Days 1 through 8 presented consecutively in two-day blocks in one school year.

Configuration 3:

  • Days 1–3 (sometimes offered as a summer institute)

  • Days 4 and 5

  • Days 6–8

Other configurations are possible. 


In the eight-day Seminars, participants learn how to:

  • develop trust and rapport

  • develop an identity as a mediator of thinking

  • utilize conversation structures for planning, reflecting and problem resolving

  • develop teachers’ autonomy and sense of community

  • develop higher levels of efficacy, consciousness, craftsmanship, flexibility and interdependence

  • apply four support functions: coaching, evaluating, consulting, collaborating

  • utilize the coaching tools of pausing, paraphrasing, and posing questions

  • distinguish among the five forms of feedback

  • use data to mediate thinking


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