What is a PBIS Coach?

Coaches have the knowledge and professional behaviors needed to directly support schools, districts and/or regions build and sustain evidence-based practices.

External Coaches

External coaches are at the district or regional level, and may be responsible for one to many school teams depending upon:

  • Geographic distribution
  • School/district size and enrollment
  • Level of implementation
  • Other specific responsibilities (e.g., school psychologist, social worker, counselor, special education teacher, administrator, grade level teacher).

Internal Coaches

Internal coaches provide direct support within a school.

Coaching for school teams in the process of building and installing the elements of PBIS (e.g., securing staff agreements, conducting self-assessments and data reviews, developing school-wide action plans), is frequent and on-going to ensure accurate, continuous, and effective implementation. At least monthly, coaches:

  • Attend team meetings
  • Make contact (e.g., email, telephone) with team leader and/or administrator
  • Review and report school data
  • Complete and/or check team progress
  • Acknowledge team progress and outcomes
  • Report school progress to district, regional and state leadership teams

Coaching for school teams that are actively implementing PBIS includes many of the same functions of teams in installation, except that the emphasis is on:

  • Monitoring accuracy and consistency of implementation
  • Maximizing targeted outcomes
  • Increasing implementation efficiency
  • Acknowledging progress and outcomes
  • Communicating progress to district, regional and state leadership teams
  • Facilitating review of data and action planning

Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles are considered when building coaching capacity:   

  • Each school team should have access to coaching support
  • Ongoing district support is needed to maintain coaching activities
  • Coaches must have experience with school team implementation and problem-solving
  • Coaches' training and experiences must be linked with school team training and implementation

Source: SW-PBIS Implementation BlueprintSWPBS Implementation Blueprint version September 25, 2010 information will open in a new window.

PBIS Coaches’ Role and Responsibility

PBIS coaches will:

  • Describe and promote practices within, and systems of, PBIS with school, district and community
  • Promote the logic and application of the tiered model of prevention and support
  • Describe the features of proactive school-wide discipline systems
  • Teach strategies for
    • Classroom management
    • Systematic supervision
  • Promote a continuum of behavior support for all students
  • Promote a team-led process
  • Support strategic data-based action planning within the school and district
  • Provide direction in assessing outcomes and fidelity
  • Collect, analyze and use data for decision-making
  • Coordinate with district, regional and state efforts

PBIS Coaches’ Skills and Competencies


  • General school discipline, classroom and individual behavior and
  • instructional management
  • PBIS concepts and features
  • PBIS fidelity benchmarks
  • PBIS sustainability


  • Able to communicate essential features of PBIS
  • Able to promote and adapt PBIS to local school context
  • Able to conduct team meetings and school trainings
  • Able to produce consistent, accurate and effective follow‐through


  • Able to seek, identify and create effective contacts
  • Able to generate enthusiasm
  • Able to develop rapport with entire school and district community
  • Able to listen
  • Has credibility with at least 80% of staff
  • Encourage others to find solutions
  • Support and guide others to develop knowledge, experience and expertise
  • Able to delegate
  • Works well with administration and staff
  • Able to handle ambiguity in role and function and school implementation process