It may not be the first port of call to consider a culture of coaching within an education environment, but it is a logical one.
It’s the responsibility of schools to make sure students receive the best possible education to meet their needs and prepare them for life in the workforce after graduation. But, as you are well aware, it’s not easy to achieve those targets and educators can feel frustrated or that their efforts are being hampered by situations outside of their control.
Developing the culture
Developing a culture of coaching for staff development can help deal with this frustration at an early stage by giving people tools to not only fully maximise their own potential but to pass on these best practice methods to the pupils they are teaching.
As Sir John Whitmore points out in Coaching for Performance: “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance, it is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”. Whitmore also developed the influential model of the coaching process based on the acronym GROW:
- G – Goal setting for the session as well as for the short and long term
- R – Reality checking to explore the current situation
- O – Options and alternative strategies or courses of action
- W – What is to be done, when, by whom and the will to do it
This model aims to allow trainee to be objective in looking at the problem they face and a coach can facilitate them in achieving their aims by showing them their blind spots and helping them to develop solutions to deal with them.
Finding the motivation
Schools are pragmatic organisations and are motivated to engage with coaching for the benefits that will ensue. Many are preparing to adopt, modify and amend theoretical models of practice to fit their specific needs.
Although Continuing Professional Development (CPD) already exists within the education field, many schools feel that these courses have limitations in terms of their lasting impact (National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services research).
In his ‘Time for Coaching’ case study Neil Suggett, former Research Associate at the National College, focused on six schools across three local authorities, and looked in detail at the key issue of creating the right conditions for coaching. Whilst finding that ‘coaching is a more time-consuming option than a command and control, directive approach’ he concluded that such investment is well balanced against the resultant benefits.
Significant place within professional development
The creation of a culture of coaching continues to occupy a significant place within professional development and school improvement initiatives. Growing out of a business model with a focus on empowering employees to reach ever more aspirational targets, coaching now stands as an important part of collaborative learning strategies within many professional development opportunities in education, ranging from initial teacher training to headship preparation and leadership development which is underpinned by strong evidence that it promotes learning and builds capacity for change within schools.
“Coaching enables individuals and teams to develop and flourish, to take responsibility for their own learning and to achieve their goals.” – Powell, G, Chambers, M & Baxter, G, 2001, Pathways to Coaching, Bristol, The Learning Organisation.
We have been able to support a number of schools and colleges in delivering a coaching culture and in applying those coaching techniques in similar ways as described in this post. If you want to find out more about how our coaching can help your organisation, please contact us for a free consultation or download our case study looking at our work with the Aspire Group.