I've previously blogged about my interest in coaching as a method for promoting improvements in the instructional practices of educators in general and principals in particular. The entire October issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership is dedicated to "Coaching: the New Leadership Skill." Many of the articles are now available online in full text here, though some require ASCD membership (which I highly recommend for all practicing and aspiring school leaders).
I especially recommend articles by Jim Knight on "What Good Coaches Do," Gabrielle Nudis and Maya Sadder on "The Principal as Formative Coach," and Elena Aguilar, Davina Goldwasser, and Kristina Tank-Crestetto, "Support Principals, Transform Schools." There's also a great article on instructional rounds by rounds guru Elizabeth City.
At the heart of both coaching in general and instructional rounds in particular, writes EL editor Marge Scherer in her issue introduction, is reflective practice:
The aim of coaching is to get educators to reflect and improve on their theory and practice—to ponder, as [Richard] Elmore's [new] book title suggests, what they used to do and think, and to be open to changing their minds. By helping educators learn for themselves and from one another, our authors argue, coaching can boost teacher effectiveness, enhance student learning, deepen subject area expertise, and improve staff relationships.
And as I frequently argue in classes (quoting York-Barr and colleagues) such reflective practices also build our capacity for the much-needed professional values of wisdom, curiosity, presence, and open-minded/open-hearted-ness.