Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Will Wells

Second Advisor

Dr. Grant Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Winn Wheeler


The study uses a phenomenological case method to explore the lived experience of the mentor-coach coaching phenomenon and examines the case of the Literacy Center (university partnership) in providing professional development to build instructional capacity in elementary reading coaches through a coaching model in order to improve reading achievement in students (kindergarten through third grade). The study is guided through the theoretical frameworks of Social Learning Theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and the Capacity-Building Model for Teacher Development (Cooter, 2004). It is focused on two research questions: 1) How does the mentor and coach experience change over time? and 2) What facilitates effective coaching conditions? The six central themes that emerged are the significance of relationships, collaborative culture, professional growth of coaches, school leadership, established school processes for teaching and learning, and a clearly defined coaching role. The study concludes with a discussion centered on clarity of the coaching role, factors for effective coaching conditions, and professional development for coaches explicated through analysis of the findings. This discussion is followed by implications for practices and recommendations for future research.