How do leaders and managers foster an ethos where influential professional learning conversations lead to positive and highly visible change? The answer is to create a coaching culture where each individual knows the part he or she can play in achieving the vision, intent and rationale for curriculum innovation and pedagogical improvement.
“Coaching is empowering people by facilitating self-directed learning, personal growth and improved performance”
Coaching is about building trust where staff can use their imagination, channel their energies and share ideas. The coaching conversation provides an opportunity for two or more individuals to work together to find solutions and build strategies that lead to positive change. Coaching is non-judgemental and non-directive so that all staff are able feel empowered in taking the initiative and the responsibility for achieving their own clearly articulated goals and targets.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”
When individuals learn how to coach, they change their approach to professional interaction with others and begin to have much more control over the outcomes and impact of the strategies that are planned and implemented. This is so powerful in education. Individual staff are emboldened to want to find the solution and not to dwell on the problem.
“Telling or asking a closed question saves people from having to think. Asking open questions causes them to think for themselves”
The power lies in the learning. Learning how to listen actively and incisively. Learning how to ask open and deeply rich questions linked to what is being said or inferred. Learning how to be patient and sometimes silent in the quest for collective ownership and the successful solving and resolving of issues and problems. Learning how to challenge but be objective and fair. Learning how to focus on the positives and find strengths in self and others.
“If I give you my advice and it fails, you will blame me. I have traded my advice for your responsibility and that is seldom a good deal”
Developing a coaching approach builds a learning culture where collaboration ultimately leads to the sharing and cascading of ideas, of good practice and of innovation and achievement. All staff are able to communicate through motivational dialogue the part they play in achieving the stated vision. They articulate and celebrate their successes and don’t dwell on when things go wrong but focus on how they can learn from the situation and move forward. Every school or college has a wealth of potential to achieve great things. Untap the talent that is within every individual that has chosen to belong to an education community by giving them a chance to learn how to be a coach.
The coaching courses Learning Cultures offer are designed as a CPD journey. For leaders to plan a strategy, for middle leaders to implement a coaching culture, for teachers who can learn together and use coaching as a powerful pedagogy in the classroom; for Teaching Assistants and support staff who can learn how to nurture and challenge using coaching; for Cover Supervisors to help them have the presence to be more confident when the teacher is not present.
Quotes are attributable to John Whitmore and Bresser and Wilson. All our courses are built on extensive sector led research. We have created an approach that ensures those who attend can take all the resources back to their colleagues to share and cascade their learning.