Community College Research Initiatives

Why Equity Matters to Coaching for Change

Coaching for Change (C4C) focuses on helping community colleges engage in systemic, transformative change to improve student success. Utilizing a critical friend methodology, C4C integrates an equity lens into all aspects of the coaching process. Our theory of change distills the WHAT, WHY and HOW of change to support Student Success Centers (SSCs)* in developing, implementing and evolving equity-minded coaching programs.

How to integrate equity into coaching programs is a central focus of our work with SSCs, ensuring guided pathways and other student-success frameworks center racial equity in vital improvement work. We support SSCs in designing strategic coaching plans that embed equity and equity-mindedness practices throughout, utilizing applied research, technical assistance, professional development, and communities of practice to improve student success and close equity gaps.

In addition to describing the CCRI’s coaching projects in partnership with Jobs for the Future, this page provides tools and resources developed by our CCRI team for anyone interested in designing and implementing equity-minded coaching. It is our goal to share lessons from the field about emerging and more mature coaching models that cover a variety of state and institutional contexts.

*  Student Success Centers are state-level organizations charged with managing and facilitating student success initiatives to accelerate efforts that improve persistence and completion within their respective state community college system.

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Thank you for your interest in our tools and resources!

Equity-Minded Coaching
Engaging colleges in utilizing coaches
Designing a coaching program
Lessons learned about engaging in coaching programs
Coaching Models

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Assessing Your College’s Commitment To Equity
Coaching for More Equitable Student Outcomes
Coaching Model Summaries – coming soon!
College Engagement (presentation)
Webinar slide deck for colleges using coaches for institutional change and the coaches. Provides do’s and don’ts around coaching-for-change and mock schedules for site visits.
College Engagement in and Readiness For Coaching
Discussion Protocol, Practices, and Resources
Enacting Equity in Guided Pathways
Equity-Minded Change Leadership
There are many ways to think about change leadership and many theories to describe how it should work. Many promote the notion that leaders who readily adapt to new circumstances are most successful in changing their organizations, but this is only part of the necessary skill set. This brief discusses equity-minded change leadership that identifies institutional and systemic causes of inequities in student outcomes to bring about real change.
Equity-Minded Coaching DOs and DON’Ts
Equity Tool Guide 
A Guide for Tools and Resources that Support Integrating Equity into Guided Pathways
Evidence-based Coaching for Change Brief
This brief provides theories, perspectives, and insights into evidence-based coaching for 2-year colleges to implement, continuously improve and sustain coaching that focuses on improving performance and results in more equitable outcomes for students.
Getting Started
Getting Started: Slides from a webinar on how coaches can facilitate institutional change. Provides sample action plans, tips, and emphasizes the need for evidence to determine if change is happening.
Glossary of Terms for Equity-Minded Coaching
Integrating Racial Equity into Guided Pathways
Lessons Learned from the SSCN Coaching Pilot Program
CCRI presents lessons learned from the Assessment, Research, and Coaching Pilot for the Student Success Center Network on what the Centers are doing with coaching to support guided pathways implementation.
Planning Tool for SSC Led Coaching Programs
Reflection on Initial Lessons from Early Stage of a Coaching Program
Initial Lessons: Slides from a webinar providing space and techniques for individual and group reflection on coaching efforts.
Reflective Questions Tools
Reflective questions for coaches and community colleges on Evidence-based coaching for change.
Rubric of Equity-minded Coaching Domains and Practices
SSCN Guided Pathways Coaching Pilot
Slides from a webinar on coaching pilot and CCRI findings with a focus on three Student Success Centers.
Strategic Coaching Design Profile: North Carolina Student Success Center created Networked Improvement Communities (NICs) to accelerate learning and advance student success reforms, increase statewide capacity, and sustain improvements. Their pilot audience included 17 of the state’s 58 community colleges.
Strategic Coaching Design Profile: New Jersey Center for Student Success was developed to support the state’s 19 community colleges with advancing their guided pathways and college readiness work. Seven coaches and 12 colleges were selected to be part of the pilot, resulting in 9 key strategies for coaching design.
Strategic Coaching Design Profile: New York State Student Success Center adopted a coaching model with two national (lead) coaches training five state coaches in supporting their colleges and building in-state capacity.
Strategic Coaching Design Profile: Oregon Student Success Center led the development of an overarching transformational goal for all Oregon community colleges to optimize student success via a coaching model implemented over three cohorts.


Since 2017, CCRI has partnered with Jobs for the Future’s (JFF) Student Success Center Network (SSCN) as strategy consultants to the Student Success Center’s (SSC) in support of developing and operationalizing their state-designed coaching plans for guided pathways implementation (at scale) among other reform efforts. These coaching plans improve student success by strategically utilizing applied research, technical assistance, professional development, and various collaborative knowledge-sharing strategies. As a national partner of JFF for the SSCN, the Coaching for Change (C4C) project supports collaboration with Student Success Center (SSC) executive and assistant directors nationwide to advance statewide coaching initiatives.

SSCN Assessment, Research, and Coaching Pilot

This coaching pilot program laid the foundation for SSCs to begin designing or enhancing coaching programs to engage colleges in the implementation of guided pathways. CCRI, as strategy consultants, offered technical assistance and customized supports to the 10 participating SSCs. Documents were generated to include descriptions of the SSCs pilot projects, webinars to help those just getting started with coaching programs and research briefs on topics such as equity-mindedness and evidence-based organizational change.

SSCN Coaching Program

Building on lessons learned from the pilot, JFF refined the program goals to support institutional coaching and launched the SSCN Coaching Program in 2018. Five Centers were selected to participate in the SSCN Coaching Program’s two-year coaching grant to facilitate reform throughout the community colleges in their states: Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. CCRI continues in the role of strategy consultants to support the five SCC executive directors. Implementation of this program is taking place in parallel with Achieving the Dream (ATD) training of institutional coaches for all 16 SSCs, to increase coaching capacity within the SSCN.