Coaching In Education

The Principles of Coaching in Education

The principles of coaching in education are at the very heart of what makes an outstanding school or college. Coaching can significantly improve performance, build reflective and proactive teams and be the catalyst for effective change and renewal. Headteachers, senior, middle and subject leaders, teachers and support staff benefit greatly from understanding the principles of coaching.

Learning how to listen actively to make people feel valued and want to think more about their learning is a life-changing coaching skill. Questioning is an essential coaching skill and is also vital for effective teamworking, pedagogy in the classroom and for assessment of learning. Understanding how to communicate effectively with colleagues, learners and other stakeholders such as parents is enhanced by a sound understanding of the principles of coaching. Creating opportunities to allow others to find their own solutions, develop resilience in the face of adversity and share their strengths and what works well within their role are all enhanced through coaching.

A good starting point is reading Christian Van Nieuwerburgh’s book, An Introduction to Coaching Skills. A coaching guru with a wealth of understanding of coaching in education.

What is coaching in an education setting?

Coaching in education is not something to add on to what is already positive in terms of structure and existing systems. Coaching enhances the capacity that already exists within every school or college. The development of a coaching culture encourages professional conversations about curriculum and how to plan and deliver high quality learning; it is about focusing on pedagogy and creating opportunities for teachers to work together to celebrate what works well, reflect on the impact their teaching has on learning and be innovative and creative with their practice.

    • Learning to listen acitvely fosters trust and a deep understanding of an individual’s strengths, needs and aspirations
    • Learning how to use questioning in a really positive way encourages reflection, a shared perception and purposeful action
    • Developing incisive feedback strategies motivates, challenges and leads to positive and highly effective change
    • Encouraging goal setting and prioritising actions encourages positive team building and a collective approach to high quality outcomes for all staff and pupils

Developing a coaching approach is all about creating a culture of positivity where there is a tacit belief that everyone within the organisation has the capacity to grow in their role. Failure is seen as a jewel that shines like a diamond and provides the opportunity to learn from mistakes or misunderstandings. The obvious truth here is not that failure is tolerated but that everyone understands that they may not immediately succeed and will learn to find solutions and answers to problems over time and with the trust and support of others.

Why adopt a coaching culture in your school or college?

The skills associated with coaching are fundamentally the same as those that are found in any learning organisation. Coaching is the most powerful way to create sustainable CPD for teachers and all other educational professionals. Schools and college leaders have to work with their teams to empower them to achieve the vision and goal for continuous school improvement. Middle and subject leaders have to interpret the vision for the curriculum, for the well-being of all staff and pupils and for the smooth running of the day to day management of a school or college system.

Learners, who are the fundamental customer have diverse needs and by using coaching skills and techniques teachers and others with a pupil facing role can motivate, encourage and feedback in a way that creates positive self-belief and a desire to be successful in their endeavours.

Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.

Whitmore, J. Coaching for People and Performance

What we want as educators is to create a learning culture where everyone works in synergy to create the right conditions for all staff and pupils to have the opportunity to continuously develop, to reflect on their achievements and to build on their learning over time. Coaching provides the structure and the tools and techniques to foster strong partnerships, highly effective teams and positive structures that are solid foundations for continuing professional development and learning. It is a journey towards excellence, once you start along the pathway towards a coaching culture you will not look back.

Start your coaching journey with Learning Cultures

Everyone within our exceptional team of coaches has been a successful senior leader in education. We understand the difference coaching can make to individuals, teams and the whole organisation and know how to develop the potential of individuals, teams and leaders.

    • Sign up for a suite of one-to-one coaching sessions with one of our executive coaches and have a critical friend support you as you plan and realise your vision for whole school or college improvement, curriculum excellence and high quality pedagogy and learning
    • Arrange an INSET for a whole or part of a day and use our intensive and highly innovative training approaches with your teams. Give us a call on 01746 765076 or email to talk to someone who will help you plan your next steps.

CPD for teachers and all other educational professionals is essential!

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