I can’t tell you how much coaching has impacted and transformed my life. It’s definitely not just about work, coaching has given me a truly strong foundation for all elements and plays a crucial part in the projects I’m involved with supporting and nurturing sustainable people and workplaces. This quick start guide is aimed to help you get coaching off the ground in your school and develop a culture of shared human experience for relaxed and resilient staff.
Perceived Barriers to Coaching
- Threatening: it creates a hierarchy and culture of inferiority.
- Trouble-shooting: there must be a problem or a weakness to be addressed.
- Increased Workload: when to fit it in and which model to use.
Taking down the barriers: Here’s how to get going.
Coaching can be side stepped because of a fear of structure and of process. Timing is also in the negatives column. Coaching conversations can run into 3 or 4 hours of amazingly powerful engagements. And naturally, that would be unrealistic. The truth is there can be mountains moved and eyes opened in 15-30 minutes. So my suggestion here is not to get hung up on time. Far better to have some shorter conversations that do actually happen, than the fear factor putting a stop to the whole thing before you’re even out of the blocks. Here’s an informal approach to developing a coaching culture this week.
Start with Heart
Coaching pairs don’t have to be subject colleagues or in the same team. In fact there’s strength and perspective to be found in mixing it up a little. They do have to be professional and open to sharing in confidence and these are important guidelines to agree at the beginning. A small scale coaching trial is a great way to invite volunteers to take part. There’s no pressure or finger pointing. Setting up a short get together enables the volunteers to meet and find their coach. Shared values* are a great starting point, making for a really grounded discussion and invitation to find commonality.
Cheer not Fear
Invite your volunteers to focus on all that is positive and pleasing in their life right now. Tapping into feelings is so much easier when they are rosy ones! This time shared, exploring them and celebrating them, is a powerful tool to reset and support wellbeing. It’s where we find the energy and adaptability to tackle challenges and respond to change. The words EXPLORE and OBSERVE are vital in capturing the present without creating judgement and unproductive self talk. Notice motivation and empowerment rising as the partners meet briefly, every week. Why not try this for a month to start with.
Moving on Up
It’s not about trouble-shooting or improvement. These are courageous conversations that absolutely fly when they start from a blank canvass, with no agenda. Here’s where a coach opens the coachee up to what really matters to them. In this place you feel things that make your heart sing and this will energise you from the inside out. The place where you access your own innate tools to tackle the mundane as well as the more tricky parts to life. These are the challenges or changes that don’t naturally align for us but can be navigated with the empowered feeling of being reconnected to what matters and drives us. Recall that change is the biggest monster of all when it comes to fear and internalised resistance. Which itself, induces anxiety, productivity paralysis and feelings of being inadequate and lacking confidence.
Coaching can so easily prevent this and make it easy for individuals and their teams to thrive and strive together. Simply by creating a culture of empathy and non-judgemental observation can be the change, very quickly. There is so much that connects us after all and coaching is the perfect way to nurture this value and look after our education professionals from the inside out. As one of my mentors once said, “If only we weren’t afraid of our own experience, that itself would change everything”.
For further information about coaching and creating a sustainable workforce in education, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.