Coaching & Leadership Development
What happens when Headteachers drop the Leadership Mask?

What happens when Headteachers drop the Leadership Mask?

If you are head teacher, then I am sure, this image will speak volumes to you! You know exactly what it takes each and every day to step into the role of Head teacher and enter a system that so often forgets that you are human. A system, which despite all the well-intentioned rhetoric, expects you to constantly withstand the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’. And, no matter how fast and furious they might be, requires that you always come out victorious, with an ever-present smile on your face.   However, I am sure you know as a Head, many a time life just isn’t like that. Those slings and arrows, whether from a colleague, an inspector, a parent or a Governor, can hurt. They can pierce the soul and leave you feeling utterly down-spirited and disheartened.   It is because of this fact and working closely as we do, with Head teachers, that we decided to host our first Head Teacher’s Nurture Meal last week. We wanted to do something, that clearly said to Head teachers,    ‘You are of value; you are of worth and you have the right to have your needs met’   We were very clear in our purpose. This was not going to be one of those Head teacher gathering where individuals met with their peers, but still felt the need to be to wear their leadership mask or suit of armour, for fear of being judged or criticised for anything that they might say. This was going to be different.   Different…. But how?   Well … we created a loose...
Our Winter Well-being Blog Calendar

Our Winter Well-being Blog Calendar

What is Our Winter Wellbeing Calendar all about?   Whilst the Christmas period is seen as the time of the year for joy and celebration, what’s often not recognised, is that it can be a particularly tiring and stressful time of the year for school leaders and teachers. The plays and special assemblies are all wonderful cause for celebration. However, the continuous run of late nights, mixed in with the everyday pressures of school life can take their toll! That’s why this year, we thought we’d try to lend a ‘virtual’ helping hand! To help make December just that little bit less stressful and more joyful for you, with our first ever, Winter Wellbeing Advent Calendar.   What can you expect?   The Calendar will involve 24 days of mini-blogs/thoughts for the day designed to offer you encouragement, support and useful advice to help you stay positive right through to Christmas day. These mini-blogs will be provided by inspiring educators, focused around a different theme of Well-being in education. We have enlisted top educational thought-leaders, bloggers, coaches, authors and inspiring school leaders to bring you a fantastic calendar of wellbeing wisdom, thought-provoking questions for reflection, and words of encouragement and inspiration. Here is the list of the next 12 days of blogs for the Calendar:   Our Calendar will also be run in collaboration with #Teacher5aday (Twitter Teacher Wellbeing initiative set up by Martyn Reah) and @Tim_JumpClarke’s Winter challenge calendar, which consists of 24 winter challenges, to help you relax and be more compassionate to yourself and those around you this Christmas. How does it work? The first window will be opened...
Coaching for the Soul – Uncovering the One Thing Missing from the life of School Leaders

Coaching for the Soul – Uncovering the One Thing Missing from the life of School Leaders

  Have you ever wondered, why in your life as a school leader, it can at times feel so hard to connect with all that is within you that still desires to flourish?   If this or similar questions have ever crossed your mind, reflect for a moment or two on the words of American Social activist and educator, Parker J Palmer:   “The soul speaks its truth only under quiet, inviting, and trustworthy conditions.”   His words may provide you with the answer you have been seeking! Your soul, that which is the very best within you, will only step out, will only step forward, when there is no fear of:   – Judgement – Criticism – Ridicule – Hurt – Misunderstanding   Does your day-to-day life as a school leader facilitate this? If it does, Hooray! Hooray, for you and hooray for the children in your school. That’s just how it should be. Schools should be a place where people feel safe, sincere warmth and appreciation are characteristic of all relationships and everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest member of staff flourishes.   Yet… we know, that as much as this is a deep [if sometimes hidden] desire for many school leaders, only a small handful every fully experience the conditions that enable their ‘souls to speak their truth’.   And yet, when we do, when we create, ‘quiet, inviting and trustworthy conditions’ a beauty and magic unfolds! We are perhaps more comfortable using such words when reading fairy tales and stories to our pupils, never becoming fully comfortable with just how applicable they are...
John’s Story – Battling the Harsh Reality of Change

John’s Story – Battling the Harsh Reality of Change

  As I discussed in my earlier blog “What Every School Leader Should be Told about Change”, change presents a significant challenge to school leaders not just practically but also on an emotional level. I explained that School leaders must have a process in place for dealing positively with reluctance to change and the emotional and psychological demands that it places on individuals. As without such structures, the consequences can be damaging for everyone.  Yet often very little, if anything is done to prepare individuals for the emotional and psychological consequences of change. In order to help school leaders better understand why support is needed to address these challenges, I asked one London Headteacher to share his experiences. John who was new to Headship back in 2014, took up his appointment, determined to continue his predecessor’s success and preserve the special nature of the school, whilst trying to bring about improvements that were needed. However, he soon found that change was seriously affecting him, his behaviour and in turn, his health and his ability to lead his school. This is what happened. This is John’s Story.    John’s Story   My name’s John and I’m in my third year in my role as a Head Teacher of a one and a half form entry in north London. We currently have around 330 children with 22 teaching staff and 25 support staff. My predecessor had been here for 19 years and had done a fantastic job. Many of the staff were here even longer than that. My greatest challenge was having to manage the transition of having new leadership. It was...