So what is coaching? I had a funny experience in a school a while back when I was talking to a teacher and told her I’d been studying coaching for a number of years. She asked with a confused look, “What kind of coaching? Basketball?”
This amused me as I’m 5”1′ and let’s just say I don’t have an athletic figure. The question brought to my attention that while most (if not all) people know what sports coaching is, there can be a gap in people’s understanding of what mindset, success, career and leadership coaching are. Furthermore, there can also be a gap in the understanding of how powerful, useful and, quite honestly, essential coaching techniques are in education.
Coaching is a conversation like no other. It’s usually between two people however, group coaching can also be very useful for teams. The focus of coaching is developing people’s potential. Coaching works on the belief that people have the answers to their challenges already inside them so while coaches will share insights into thinking, strategies and human behaviour the main goal of the coach is to support the client to develop their own conclusions and commit to actions that will move them toward in achieving their desired outcome.
As coaching has evolved over the past decade it’s also taken on many aspects of positive psychology (where again the focus is on realising people’s potential rather than “fixing” what’s wrong). There has also been a rapid expansion in the number and effectiveness of coaching models enabling clients to make lasting changes more rapidly than ever before.
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Why Has Coaching in Education Become so Popular?
In recent years coaching has become recognised as a powerful tool to support the development of educators and school leaders leading to improved outcomes for all. When the leadership team thrives, they are in a better position to support and develop their team. When school leaders and the education team thrives, students reap the benefits.
“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell
Simply put, coaching and consulting supports school leaders and their teams to be their best and deliver their best for their students, improving outcomes for all. As this meets the priorities of all education departments across Australia as well as the leadership standards set by the AITSL it is easy to see why more and more school leaders are choosing to invest in coaching for their own development as well as the development of their team.
Coaching is not an overnight fix, there is no magic pill!
School culture transformation can and should begin immediately as it will take time for the whole team to come on board and for the effects to be reflected in student results. Our services are not for leaders who are looking for a quick fix or a Band-Aid solution. Our services are for school leaders who know that true and lasting change takes time and consistent effort, who are prepared to do the work and hold themselves and their team accountable over the long term.
That said, there will be some immediate benefits of coaching such as improved communication between team members, reduced stress and overwhelm, an improved sense of wellbeing and an improved sense of cohesiveness within the team. These benefits will only last for the long term if you commit to making lasting and long-term changes.