Coaching & Leadership Development
Building a Values-Based School Culture – Expert Interview

Building a Values-Based School Culture – Expert Interview

This interview is with executive coach and Integrity Coaching associate, Kirstie McLachlan   1. What do you understand “values” to mean – and how has this topic become of interest to you?     The UK Values Alliance describes values as “the deeply held principles that guide our choices and behaviours and influence our emotions. They help define who we are, what we believe and how we live.”   When I reflected on my career across Social Work and NHS management as well as academic work and coaching, I realised not only that the work I enjoy the most is that most closely aligned to my own personal values, but also that I am at my most fulfilled when I succeed in aligning my behaviour to my values. This led me to learn more about values and to become alert to the part values play in successful leadership.   2. Why should values be important for School Leaders?   When working with school leaders I have observed that a source of stress is a disconnect with values causing the demands of the job to feel like an endless to do list with little purpose.   I have also observed that reconnecting with personal values rejuvenates and enables focus on the alignment between values and behaviour. This, I believe, is at the heart of professional satisfaction in leadership roles; it also inspires purpose and motivation in others.     3. What are the challenges of building a values-based school culture?   Building a values-based school culture can be challenging given the pressures leaders are under and given that sometimes there can be lack of a united...
Transforming Relationships & Behaviours in your School

Transforming Relationships & Behaviours in your School

This interview is with behaviour support expert, Executive Coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Steve Russell. 1. What is “Functional Fluency” and how has this become a particular area of interest for you?   Functional Fluency is a model for understanding how people behave, and a practical framework to help them ‘respond’ more and ‘react’ less. This model was developed by transactional analyst, Susannah Temple as part of her PhD, and this model later expanded into the TIFF profiling tool, which can be accessed via an online questionnaire and followed up with coaching-based feedback.   Both Functional Fluency and the TIFF have become one of my main ‘go-tos’ when working either with individual staff or teams in schools. I first came across it about 7 years ago and was immediately drawn to the way in which Functional Fluency offered an easily accessible framework to help colleagues take a step back and reflect upon their own behaviour.   At the time, a lot of my school based work was coming off the back of leaders wanting some training for their staff on ‘behaviour management’ as a result of challenging behaviours pupils were presenting with. Functional Fluency offered a very interesting and powerful alternative take on this by switching the focus onto the adults’ behaviours.   2. What are the underlying principles of the TIFF model?   Generally speaking, Functional Fluency is understood to be underpinned by the following principles:   – The principle that we always have choices as to whether we respond or react to situations and people. We might feel at times that we’ve been made to feel or act in certain ways, but functional fluency is all...
3 Ways School Leaders Create a Culture of Excellence in their Schools

3 Ways School Leaders Create a Culture of Excellence in their Schools

  It is a bit of an understatement to say that being a school leader isn’t an easy task. The multi-layered complexity of the role brings with it a myriad of challenges. One of the biggest challenges, particularly for Heads, is how to create a culture of excellence in which everyone flourishes.   The writing of a School Improvement Plan, the analysis of data, curriculum innovation, can only take a school so far. True school improvement and the development of cultures of excellence, takes place through people, their behaviours and attitudes and the quality of relationships that exist. And this is where the real challenge lies.   Cultures of excellence are created, when alongside strategy and pedagogical advances, schools have systems in place that support an understanding of human process issues, that encourage people to develop a deep understanding of themselves and others.   As a coach, working with school leaders, I have identified 3 key things that successful school leaders do to create such cultures. They are outlined below.   As you read through them, you might find it helpful to ask yourself these two questions”    ‘Where am I now? ‘Where is my school now?’   And have a scale like the one below, either in your head or on a piece of paper, and simply score yourself/your school from 1-10   1 [very limited] —————————————————————————— [very secure] 10   3 Key Ways to Create a Culture of Excellence – Where are you now?   1. School Leaders commit to developing their own Emotional Intelligence.   School leaders that I have worked with know that change begins...
7 Things Every School Leadership Team Needs to Thrive

7 Things Every School Leadership Team Needs to Thrive

Today’s Blog comes from an ex-secondary Headteacher, trainee therapist and Integrity Coaching Associate, Tim Small. Having spent thirteen years in Leadership Teams in three different comprehensive schools, I’ve enjoyed the joy and companionship that comes with close teamwork. I’ve seen how this collegiality and camaraderie creates an environment where individuals are motivated to work for each other and can thrive. However, I’ve also observed how tensions have the ability to frustrate our attempts to collaborate productively and harmoniously.  Having been in both scenarios, I’ve noticed that there are 7 things which school leadership teams can seriously benefit from having, when they are trying to build collaboration and fulfil their school’s vision. 1. Team Ground Rules   Every team needs a clear set of established ground rules for working together and building collaboration.  As a team, it’s important to take opportunities (particularly at the start of a term) to reflect personally and share answers to this question: ‘How do I need this team to operate if I am to thrive in it and do my best?’  (It works well with a new class, too.) This works best if the outcomes are published and committed to.   2. Regular opportunity to re-visit the ‘Why?’ question!   Why are we here?  What is our purpose?  It applies to the team’s existence, as to each project, task or problem to solve.  Our senses of direction and fulfilment derive from our purpose.   It can get lost in operational detail, which sometimes makes ‘getting things done’ seem more important than the big picture.  It never is!  More time is wasted by losing purpose than by revisiting it.   3....
Why our Headteachers are being let down! – Podcast

Why our Headteachers are being let down! – Podcast

  Ensuring that our Head teachers are given the proper support to thrive in their roles is central to the work of Integrity Coaching.   That’s why everyday we work with school leaders to ensure that this is the case and we’re always striving to find new ways to help us encourage, embolden and empower those who lead our schools.   So it gives me great pleasure to share our latest offering in this mission – Our School Leadership podcasts.    This first short podcast has been designed for you to listen to at your own convenience; whether on your way to school in the morning, leaving work in the evening or when you’re tucked up at home with a hot drink. It’s the first of it’s kind and I hope the first of many.   And what better way to christen our new podcasts by exploring what support for school leaders should look like and why it is needed, as is a central theme within many of our blogs.   In this special podcast, I explore:   – The types of questions Heads need to be asked to support their own emotional health and well-being – Why we need to support Heads to ‘step up’ to the role in a new way – How Heads can learn to take greater control of their emotional responses to stress   Hopefully, when you listen to it, you’ll understand why I believe we are letting our Heads down!   Supporting yourself in the role…   When you are working in a school, engaging day-to-day with children and their families, teachers, support staff, governors and other adults, you...