In recent months it has been a pleasure to have conversations with teachers and leaders, about how coaching is being approached in their schools, and how they are planning to develop this aspect of their work, to more greatly benefit staff and students.
Driven by the Early Careers Framework, schools are increasingly introducing Instructional Coaching to support those new to the profession gradually improve practice in their classrooms. This approach draws on the six steps to effective feedback model, developed by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo in Leverage Leadership (2012).
Where coaching is becoming more embedded, consideration is being given to how coaching knowledge, practices and skills can be strengthened across the school. Giving teachers and leaders at all stages in their careers access to effective coaching positively affects individuals and organisations. The most experienced coaches make use of a range of models of coaching or indeed no particular model at all to engage coachees in non-directive conversations that enable them to have those aha moments as they find solutions for themselves.
Whatever phase you are working in, if you are talking to colleagues about extending the scope of coaching, you may find it helpful to reflect on and discuss these 10 ways in which coaching can help us in our schools.
10 ways coaching can help us in our schools
The following are some of the areas in which coaching can positively impact our schools. Coaching enables leaders at all levels to explore strengths, challenges and goals and empowers them as they identify and implement steps to realise these goals.
1. Developing the vision
Effective leaders create and articulate a clear vision for their part of the organisation, drawing people towards it and creating ‘buy in’. Coaching helps leaders explore what that future looks like.
2. Leadership development
Schools are complex organisations requiring skilled leadership at all levels. The issues faced by school leaders are diverse. The process of coaching is flexible enough to allow any issue to be tackled.
3. Coaching the leadership of change
Successfully introducing change requires both an understanding of the change and emotional intelligence. Coaching can develop both.
4. Conflict resolution
Conflict at work costs UK organisations thousands of working days a year through long-term absence and millions of pounds through expensive tribunals and settlements. Schools are not immune. Identifying and dealing with problems effectively and early can pay dividends.
5. Improving performance
Research shows coaching improves performance across organisations including that of senior and executive leaders. Coaching helps people reach their full potential. Having difficult conversations and holding others to account can be addressed through coaching however this approach is so much more than a way to tackle underperformance it is as way to achieve high performance.
6. Team building
Recognising the importance of clarity of vision and purpose, understanding team dynamics, motivating and inspiring, setting expectations and monitoring performance, maximising team talent and much more is within the realms of coaching.
7. Career development
Coaching enables individuals to consider their next steps which in turn benefits your school and your efforts to build capacity, succession plan, recruit and retain staff.
8. Confidence building
Tackling lack or loss of confidence, often underpinned by limiting beliefs is something coaching will help with. The confidentiality of coaching can give the coachee the ‘space’ to make sense of situations and barriers likely to be stopping them from achieving their goals.
9. Strengthen resilience
School leaders work in dynamic, constantly changing settings. The need to constantly react and adapt to what is happening around them presents a challenge that can be addressed through coaching. Coaching will give individuals and teams the resilience they need to approach challenges with greater energy, motivation and purpose.
10. Support staff wellbeing and morale
Investing in confidential, non-judgmental coaching for leaders is a way to ensure that they feel heard and valued. Coaching conversations provide a safe space for individuals to find positive ways try to better manage situations that could cause stress as well as to balance their personal and professional lives.
Leaders at all stages on their professional journey and in all phases can benefit from coaching.
Find out how SSAT can support you to develop coaching in your school.
Join us for online training on the following dates:
Or, contact us if you’d like more information, bespoke support or group training.