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Coaching – A Catalyst for School Improvement

Coaching – A Catalyst for School Improvement

Coaching and goal setting

Coaching - A Catalyst for School Improvement
Create visible goals so that you can lead and achieve success.

The first principle of coaching is the setting of clearly defined and achievable goals that become the essential component of the professional conversations that take place between a coach and coachee.

The principle of goal setting is essential for those with a leadership role in a school or college. Clarity as to the goal for curriculum intent, for high quality pedagogy and learning, for behaviour and for the well-being of all staff and pupils must be an essential part of effective leadership. Having someone to share that goal with and to challenge the commitment to it is the role of the coach and will help leaders and their teams to focus on their priorities to realise the vision for change and challenge.

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Coaching to bring about positive change

Leadership is about empowerment, planning and communicating a strategic direction and bringing the teams together who can tread the road that will bring about positive change and continuous school improvement. Developing a learning culture that puts coaching at its heart will create the positive communication channels that will build the evidence that teams, departments, year groups and phases are working in synergy to achieve the same carefully crafted goals.

Coaching conversations for positive change

A coach challenges the individuals they work with to share their rationale, their goals and their beliefs. A coach will question assumptions, procrastination and self-doubt. Where goals and targets are missed, a coach will want to know the reasons and probe for the reality that means priorities other than those defined as important have taken their place.

A coach will never criticise or judge but will use powerful questioning and incisive listening skills to help with the process of renewed goal setting and reflection on what needs to change in order that the goal and the priorities are realised and celebrated.

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Coaching and Quality

Quality is a relative term; something can be poor-quality or high-quality or somewhere in between. It is a concept and can be difficult to define. It is, however, an important element of OFSTED’s inspection handbook and therefore requires all of us to take notice of it. Creating a culture where building high quality education outcomes for all is an essential first step and understanding the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM) can create a framework within which leaders and their teams can build successful strategies for leadership, curriculum, teaching and learning and well-being that lead to deeply embedded and powerful school improvement outcomes.

What does quality mean in your organisation?

A coach can be invaluable in supporting those with responsibility for building high-quality systems. Their ability to probe deeply for meaning and clarity in ensuring decisions and actions will have an impact. Their steadfastness in ensuring a non-judgemental and objective focus means individuals can work towards achieving their stated intent. This is an invaluable asset in trying to achieve incremental steps towards the quest for high-quality education for all. Creating a coaching culture is where professional dialogue binds together teams, fosters innovation and carefully managed risk-taking as well as encouraging opportunities for reflection and a celebration of good and outstanding practice.

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Coaching and Teaching and Learning

Coaching is a proven catalyst for school improvement and there is no better evidence of this than looking at how teachers can benefit from learning how to use coaching techniques to improve their own pedagogy through the introduction of professional learning communities. This is where teachers can share their practice, learn from others and build the confidence and self-esteem to try out the new and take some risks with their teaching.

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A coach can also create a much more positive attitude to observation. If line managers or subject leaders learn how to use coaching techniques as part of feedback following observation the teachers and the coach work in synergy to focus on the positive, the learning and the incremental steps that will lead to improved performance and sustained changes in practice.

A third benefit for creating a coaching culture is the power of coaching as a pedagogy in the classroom. Where teachers learn how to ask deeply incisive questions, how to listen actively and feedback positively the benefits for pupils and their learning is astonishing.

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Coaching for well-being and pastoral care

Where a coach is an integral part of the pastoral team and supports issues relating to behaviour, poor self-esteem or disaffected attitudes to learning there is a significant improvement in the potential for change in attitudes and the motivation to learn and feel more confident. The opportunity for those with responsibility for year groups, key stage pastoral care or for behaviour in schools and colleges to learn to coach has the potential to create a whole school panacea for good behaviour and positive mindset.

Where individuals with the responsibility for pastoral care know the power that their skills as a coach can bring to a much more non-directive and non-judgemental approach. Asking the right questions that ensure the pupil takes responsibility for their actions, building positive relationships with parents, finding out what is troubling for a learner or what they need in terms of help are all enhanced through the ability ask the right questions, listen deeply and incisively and show empathy and care in a crisis.

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Creating a culture where individuals within the organisation learn to coach and use their skills to create a culture of excellence and continuous improvement there are long-term, positive and beneficial changes for all those involved in the process. Give me a call on 01746 765076 or 07974 754241 or email me glynis@learningcultures.org. You will not find higher quality CPD anywhere, we know from the amazing testimonials and accolades we receive for what we do.

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