Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Member

Hans Klar, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Matthew Boyer

Committee Member

Robert Knoeppel

Committee Member

Robin Phelps-Ward


The position of instructional coach has become common in elementary schools, arising from calls for increased student achievement that originate from education policy and changing curriculum standards. Research in regards to the effectiveness of instructional coaches positively impacting classroom teaching is abundant. A key factor in the coach's ability to positively impact classroom instruction is the coach's interpersonal skills and ability to establish relational trust with classroom teachers. This trust is necessary to make changes in teachers' practice, yet little is known about how coaches establish this trust with teachers. Therefore, this study will extend the literature by filling in the gap of much needed information regarding how instructional coaches establish trust with classroom teachers as well as providing practical suggestions for instructional coaches as to best practices for trust development with classroom teachers. In this study, a single site case study with multiple embedded units of analysis was implemented to identify the ways in which instructional coaches build trust with teachers. The qualitative research methods utilized throughout the research process included interviews, observations, and document and artifact analysis. The findings of this study provide practicing instructional coaches strategies they can employ to develop trusting relationships with teachers. The findings also suggest methods school districts and building level principals can utilize to support coaches in the development of trusting relationships. Furthermore, the findings of this study affirm the previously established literature base regarding the development of trust.