Tips for Leaders: 12. Developing a Coaching Culture 

Mar 5, 2024 | Blogs

Tips for Leaders: 12. Developing a Coaching Culture 

Mar 5, 2024 | Blogs

Teachers’ learning and development underpins school improvement and provides a vehicle for raising achievement and attainment. When teachers’ learning is based on their genuine assessment and understanding of pupils’ learning they can start to make adaptations to their practice which can lead to real differences in outcomes. (Coaching for teaching and learning: a practical guide for schools, 2010)

Coaching in schools takes various forms but is commonly utilised as a means of providing personalised professional support to teachers through discussion about their practice.  

Educators are predisposed to want to help people achieve their best – it goes with the territory. However, as leaders we need to consider how often we try to provide colleagues with all of the answers or solve problems for them which in turn will not necessarily provide them with the tools to succeed.  

Coaching is about listening, asking questions and getting someone to reflect on situations or decisions. Coaching always focuses on strengths. Coaching is not passive – it is not ‘done to’ someone, but with them. 

‘In order to plan development of coaching it is useful to review the current context for coaching and the nature of existing coaching activity in school. It is worth making a decision about who undertakes the review. It may be valuable to set up a small working group, perhaps including staff working at different levels in the school, and possibly a member of the governing body.’ (Coaching for teaching and learning: a practical guide for schools, 2010) 

There are clear benefits to replacing annual appraisals with ongoing coaching reviews and feedback: 

  • Improved engagement: One of the biggest benefits of creating a culture of continuous feedback through using a coaching approach for appraisals is increased engagement. Staff want to feel valued and continuous coaching and feedback can assist in fulfilling this desire.  
  • Increased productivity: When staff constantly receive feedback on their work, they are more likely to seek out new ways to improve. Feedback also lets staff know senior leaders are paying attention to the work they are doing and are invested in helping them to progress. 
  • Decreases attrition: as staff are more likely to seek out new opportunities elsewhere if they do not receive sufficient constructive feedback. 
  • Provides an accurate account of performance: Documented continuous feedback can show a clear trajectory of performance. It provides a representation of work over a longer period of time – which is more accurate as it is more frequent than the traditional performance appraisal. 

Obviously, there are time constraints to implementing a coaching approach to appraisal as the process is longer than more traditional appraisal meetings, as such schools needs to be truly invested in implementing a coaching approach and coaching culture. 

In developing a coaching culture across a school leaders move away from providing advice or modelling their own way of doing things and instead they listen, understand and encourage teachers to find their own solutions. They become the facilitator through listening to find out what the issue truly is, enable teachers to develop their own strengths. 

When a coaching culture is embedded in a school them coaching conversations run naturally and are a part of everyday life. It creates an environment where both teachers and pupils thrive, inspires breakthroughs in teacher performance and transformations in self-coaching where teachers ask themselves challenging questions.  

‘For coaching to be anything other than a minority affair demands vision, joined-up strategic thinking and effective leadership. Our research indicates that those schools in which coaching has become embedded create a leadership and management structure focused on enabling access to coaching for those who want it and providing effective training and support for coaches.’ (Coaching for teaching and learning: a practical guide for schools, 2010). 

Did you know Schoolaspect provides model coaching monitoring forms, which can also be customised to your school’s requirements? 

This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer. 

Have you read our other blogs in this series?

Click here to read them.

Getting help – get in touch

If you have any questions or would like to speak to us, we’d love to hear from you – click to book a free online session.

Learn More About Our Product

Schoolaspect is designed to make your life easier. With our intuitive interface, you can save time and effort. Find out more about how our software can help you get the job done faster, better, and smarter!