Head Teacher’s issue
‘I’m finding it difficult to create a coaching culture’
The following is a summary of a recent conversation with a head teacher. It captures some of the frustrations and ideas that schools have in trying to implement a coaching culture. The format of the conversation has been written using the G.R.O.W coaching model which is a simple way of exploring a positive way forward.
Coach: Well the first question to ask is why do you want a coaching culture and what might it look like when you have developed one?
Head Teacher: I want a school where we have openness and curiosity around learning. I want teachers and pupils to continually deepen their thinking by asking challenging questions and listening to each other. I would like our children to become co-dependent learners where they are more engaged in their learning and take more individual initiative.
Coach: I would like you to share with me what is happening at the moment?
Head Teacher: Some of our issues include; pupils being disengaged, too much emphasis on the teacher providing the answers, a lack of pupil ownership for their learning, some staff who don’t help others and want to be spoon fed themselves, some middle leaders who find it difficult to motivate staff.
Coach: What have you tried so far to implement a coaching culture?
Head Teacher: We have sent some of our senior and middle leaders on coaching courses, we have encouraged teachers to use questioning to engage pupils in their lessons, we have introduced pupil learning coaches and have given pupils more say through student voice.
Coach: What has been the result of what you have tried so far?
Head Teacher: Some of our teachers are using more of an involving approach but it isn’t consistent across the school. Students have developed better questioning skills but don’t always apply it in the classroom; pupil voice is still limited with the more able children running the show.
Coach: What ideas do you have to help your school move forward?
Head teacher: I would like to create a whole school coaching strategy to begin the journey. I also want to train teachers in coaching techniques as a way of teaching in every classroom and I would like to train all children to question, listen and give feedback more effectively.
Coach: May I share with you some ideas on how to develop your coaching culture. It is helpful to follow a process to ensure that you cover all the bases. Let’s take a look at the 5 steps.
The 5 Steps to Building a Coaching Culture/Community
Step 1: Goal ‘Scope the Opportunity’
This revolves around all the staff understanding ‘Why’ a coaching culture can help the school make progress particularly in teaching and learning. Without it you will not get the buy-in you need from across the school.
Step 2: Reality ‘Prepare the Ground’.
Once you have understood your why, it’s helpful to analyse your own reality and decide on the type of culture you wish to create and the outcomes you want to achieve. Then present the findings to all your stakeholders to get buy-in.
Step 3: Options ‘Create a Plan’
All achievements start with a clear plan as without one schools often fail to successfully create the culture they want. This will include creating a steering group, designing an implementation programme and agreeing measures of success.
Step 4: Will ‘Take Action’
Nothing is ever achieved without coordinated and consistent action. Many people talk about what they will do and never get around to doing it. You can start by communicating the plan, involving key change agents, agreeing your first training intervention and then rolling out across the school in planned stages .
Step 5: Monitor & Evaluate ‘Consolidate and Sustain’
If you want to ensure you achieve your vision, then measure outcomes, continually review learning, celebrate success and consolidate progress.
Coach: From our discussion on options, what might be your next step?
Head Teacher: Thanks for the explanation of the five steps. I think that it would be helpful to look at the process in more detail to engage and motivate my staff.
If you would like to know more about the 5 steps to enable you to plan your school’s coaching journey then one option is to purchase a workbook online from Focus. It also comes with a set of work sheets, hints and tips on how to get started and an introduction to some essential coaching skills.
Wishing you every success with your journey.
Les Duggan (Leadership Coach)
Developing Potential Ltd
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For more information on coaching find Les from Developing Potential on Twitter @lesduggan
Les is available for inset days in your school. Contact Linda on 01457 821 811 for more information or to book. You can also find out more information here.
Les is a highly experienced one-to-one executive coach, facilitator and leader. He is one of the founding Directors of Developing Potential Ltd, a not for profit company set up with Olympian Dr David Hemery CBE to focus on high performance in Business, Education and Sport.