Distributed leadership is espoused as an integral part of pedagogical reform in the ongoing debate in primary schools between traditional and progressive teaching practice. This study highlights salient issues related to the interplay of practice, inquiry and pedagogical leadership during a period of imposed curriculum change in two NSW schools. This paper critically examines the way that leadership is distributed amongst middle leaders or coaches. Grounded in the data, this constructivist grounded theory paper explores the claim from middle leaders that 'we're spies in a good James Bond sort of way.' It explores problems with hero leadership and the politics of loyalty and trust. It interprets the politics of collaborating or 'licensed trouble shooting', and empowerment or 'interrogation' in every day pedagogical leadership practice, including staff meetings, lesson observations, 'work sampling' and 'learning walks'. Using the Theory of Practice Architectures this paper explores how current leadership and professional learning practice in two primary school contexts enables or constrains pedagogical change, building toward a theory of pedagogical change.