Published Works for Teachers

3 Ps + C Model of Coaching


Our book, Teachers as Classroom Coaches,  describes in detail ways a teacher can coach her students using the 3Ps + C Model. Here, on our blog, we decided to show an example of how an administrator can use the same strategy with a teacher: The 3Ps + C Model:

  • purpose
  • permission
  • positive suggestion
  • compliment


Every principal, especially if we believe that the buck stops at the principal’s desk, as well as all of the teachers and staff, need to establish academic goals that have a clear purpose. This means determining the mission of what the school should become. However, sometimes those goals get compromised with personal issues.

Here is a scenario of a conversation between a principal and a teacher. The principal, Jennifer, uses the 3P+C Model to help a teacher deal with a personal issue that is affecting her teaching:

Jennifer: You are one of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure to work with over my long career in education (compliment). But for some time now I’ve noticed you seem to have lost your focus, and I am concerned. There has been quite a change in your demeanor and performance (purpose). I’ll admit to curiosity: what has changed?

Amy:  I’m embarrassed that my behavior has become noticeable. I’ve always taken great pride in my abilities as a teacher, and I didn’t think my personal life was interfering with what was taking place in the classroom.

Jennifer: I don’t mean to pry, but I want you to know that I’m available and always here for you. Whatever has been bothering you all this time, you may want to consider sharing it with me (permission). We’ve known each other for close to seventeen years. You’re not alone.

Amy: My closest and dearest friend died. Connie had been sick for months. She suffered a lingering and debilitating sickness, and she wasted away before my eyes. Connie and I grew up together, and we’ve known each other all our lives. This experience pulverized me emotionally and took its toll. I stayed with her as much as I could all the days and weeks and months that she was slipping away. It was a long goodbye.

Jennifer: You’ve suffered a terrible loss and it’s completely understandable the emotional turmoil you are experiencing. It’s heartbreaking when you lose someone who has always been so close to you. How can I help and support you?

Amy: You’ve already helped by letting me talk about it. I tried to hold on to her, but Connie herself knew there was little that could be done. Thankfully, she was medicated and sedated throughout and did not suffer pain. I just wasn’t aware my classroom activities were affected. This is a situation I just have to learn to handle myself.

Jennifer: I have a suggestion, and a strategy, that just might work for you. Would it be okay to share it with you (permission)?

Amy: Please do. Anything will help. Sometimes I feel as if my legs were kicked out from under me, and I can’t cope. I know it’s probably a normal feeling, but I thought I would be able to handle the situation a lot better than I have.

Jennifer: You’ll always have Connie with you as long as you live, and the love and the good memories will never go away. Write down on a piece of paper the ten best things you remember about your friendship with Connie, that gave meaning, sweetness, fun, and relevance to your relationship with your best friend. Take as much time as you need (positive suggestion).

Amy: I have to keep brushing away the tears. I have ten items.

Jennifer: Tell me about one of your favorite times with Connie, something that the both of you did over and over again and bonded the friendship.

Amy: We both loved the summer months. Throughout the year we always waited for the warm days. And we loved the beach. Both of us were like little kids, always, walking along the beach and running in and out of the water. We would walk together for miles, and talk, and share every thought and secret we could think of. In that way, we were almost like twins, inseparable.

Jennifer: Amy, have you shared your loss with your students?

Amy: I haven’t. I questioned the appropriateness of doing that. I know they’re seniors in high school, but they’re kids, and young and vulnerable.

Jennifer: You’ve always maintained a warm and nurturing environment in your classroom (compliment). One of the books on the school’s reading list is James Agee’s A Death in the Family, which, if assigned, may open up a meaningful lesson on relationships and loss. The kids love to read, and the book received a Pulitzer Prize. Have them write their reactions, and though they may be in the full blush of youth they are young adults, and mature. Perhaps this might help you move through a difficult time.

Amy: Oh Jennifer, if it would only lift away the heavy weight I feel pressing down on my heart.

Jennifer: Give it time; that will happen too. In what ways do you think students may have dealt with losses in their own lives?

Amy: I’ve never considered this. I’m certain many have had their share of sadness and loss – grandparents, friends, and relatives – even something tangible they cherished. And they do have their own friendships and relationships.

Jennifer: This may be a good way to purge the sorrow that has taken place in your life. You seem hesitant and tentative, Amy. Share with me what you’re thinking.

Amy: I’m thinking that I’ll share my list with my students. I want to celebrate all the good memories that Connie and I shared. I have so many photographs, and I want everyone to see the person Connie was when she smiled and lit up the whole world around her.

Jennifer: Welcome back, Amy.

To learn about other great coaching strategies, please see their book, Teachers as Classroom Coaches.

Describe in detail other coaching strategies that you have used with teachers or with your students in the classroom. In what ways have the coaching strategies empowered your students? If you used the 3Ps +C Model, please share your experience with us (To reply, please click on the comment link next to the title or scroll down.)

(c) 2006 Andi Stix, Ed.D. and PCC and Frank Hrbek

Andi Stix is an educational consultant & coach who specializes in differentiation, interactive learning, writing across the curriculum, classroom coaching, and gifted education. For further information on her specialties or social media, please email her on the Contact page.