Reflexive Peer Coaching: An ‘All In’ Perspective

My peer Helen Gong recently shared a statement that gets to the heart of reflection vs. reflexivity when she shared “Reflection leads to insight about something; reflexivity is finding strategies to question our attitudes, and actions to strive to understand our complex roles in relation to others which process can deepen our thought on how to impact our coachee positively to achieve successful coaching”, Sometimes all it takes is someone else articulating what you have been trying to share for clarity to occur, Helen recently did this for me and demonstrated how peer coaching happens every day within multiple work settings.

reflection of woman s eye on broken mirror
Photo by Ismael Sanchez on

We want our pre-service teachers to be “All In” as observers, and student teachers, why are we not meeting where they are and facilitating the learning through reflexive inquiry?

I have done a fair amount of work on the theory of reflexivity over the past year as I look at what motivates and propels the instructional practice happening within learning environments. ISTE C 6.c states that coaches “Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning experiences”. This gets to the heart of reflexivity as the theory and practice moves the educator and professional beyond the basics of reflection.

 Reflexivity requires that we look past ourselves to see how our actions words and suggestions impact others.  Therefore it seems logical to state that reflexivity is at the heart of a successful peer coaching relationship.

This week we were asked to reflect on our overall experience within our peer coaching relationship. When I look back at the reflection questions the one question that stands out beyond the rest is “Were you successful in building trust? Why or why not”? I feel that if I had not been a reflexive thinker I would not have successfully built the trust needed to impact my coachee’s goals. As a reflexive educator, I focused on my peers’ needs first and foremost every day. “Reflexivity is making aspects of the self strange: focusing close attention upon one’s own actions, thoughts, feelings, values, identity, and their effect upon others, situations, and professional and social structures” (Bolton, pp. 14, 2014).

So why do we not focus on reflexive inquiry within peer coaching relationships before our educators become teachers? Why do we take these ‘best practices’ and save them in the vault of professional development for after a preservice teacher has earned a credential? Would it not make more sense to train educators to be reflexive inquirers from the beginning of their training?

Bowers, K (2017) extends the importance of peer coaching for pre-service teachers (PST) in, The impact of peer coaching on peer relationships and the distribution of knowledge in pre-service teachers.

Bowers states “The PSTs found the relationship to allow them to be reflexive as well as relieve stress within the experience. Data also showed that peer coaching positively impacted the pre-service teacher’s professional development, providing students with strategies to improve their practice. Overall, the student teachers valued the support of their peer coach and saw it as an asset to their teaching practice”. Peer coaching coupled with intentional self-actualized practice requires us to be ‘All In’ without sacrificing our reputations. Within a reflexive peer coaching relationship, all parties take ownership of actions and the perceptions of others in order to get better at the instruction of content and education of others. 

If we want our future educators to be 21st-century minded facilitators we need to provide them with the skills needed to connect with others and see how their actions supported or hindered the success of others. Reflexive peer coaching accomplishes this important goal while building respect. Pre-service teachers, instructional coaches, principals, teachers, and all 21st-century professionals will benefit from a Reflexive: All In perspective that can and should be trained from day one of the educator’s journey.



Bolton, G. E. J. (2014). Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development (Fourth). UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Bowers, Kelsey J., The impact of peer coaching on peer relationships and the distribution of knowledge in pre-service teachers (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 428.

Hara, B. (2010, January 28). Pardon Our Interruption. Retrieved December 8, 2019, from

IGI Global. (n.d.). What is Reflexive Inquiry | IGI Global. Retrieved December 9, 2019,  from

ISTE. (n.d.-b). ISTE Standards for Coaches | ISTE. Retrieved November 25, 2019, from

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