Coaching & Leadership Development
Are School Leaders being Ignored?

Are School Leaders being Ignored?

  We’ve all been there. I know I have. That moment when you realise that the person you are talking to is not listening. They are pretending and the moment you become aware of this, you begin an inward retreat, silently vowing to only reveal the bare minimum of yourself, whenever you are in their company again.   The reason for this is because our souls long to be heard. The very essence of who we are and what makes us special needs a safe space to be nurtured and encouraged, so that we can shine and become the very best version of ourselves.   Quite simply, we all need to be listened to.   Following one of our recent ‘Coaching for the Soul’ workshops, one participant commented, after being involved in a deep listening exercise, that she felt guilty. When asked her reasons as to why she felt this way, she said it was because the exercise made her realise, she rarely listened at a deep level.   This is not unusual. The demands of school life, often invite types of behaviour/ listening that are not fully aligned with the development of self and others.   Which types of listening behaviour do you recognise?     Have a look at the types of listening below. These are the types of listening that because of the constrains of pressure and time, have for many become the norm in our schools. As you look through the list simply ask yourself;   “When have I been on the receiving end of this type of listening and how did it make me...
Sustaining Resilience in School Leadership – Expert Interview

Sustaining Resilience in School Leadership – Expert Interview

This expert interview is with Executive Coach, Resilience expert and Integrity Coaching Associate, Mary Evans. 1) How do you define Resilience – and how has this become a particular area of interest for you?   Resilience can be described as the ability to overcome setbacks and to absorb learning from those setbacks. It includes the capacity to remain adaptive under strain, to deal well with change and to sustain energy when under pressure.   My work in Local Authorities, particularly as a Deputy Director of Children’s Services, involved dealing with a variety of pressures. I started to reflect on how I had survived the cumulative effect of these alongside major life events, including bereavement and prolonged family illness. When I did my initial training as a Coach with Integrity Coaching and later my Coaching Practitioner Diploma with The Academy of Executive Coaching, I was encouraged to reflect more on my default reactions and how I could better manage them. I became more aware of what depleted me or threw me off balance and what made me feel positive and energised. Undertaking “The Resilience Accreditation Programme” from The Resilience Engine has given me models and insights, backed up by a decade of research with resilient leaders. I apply these regularly in my coaching with senior leaders in education and local government. 2) What are the challenges School Leaders face when trying to sustain their resilience?   The biggest challenge school leaders face is safeguarding their own resilience and preventing it from being eroded by the dysfunctions present in our school system. I know a number of the senior staff in schools who I coach can be pulled...
Mindfulness in Schools – Expert Interview

Mindfulness in Schools – Expert Interview

This expert interview is with executive coach, mindfulness expert and Integrity Coaching associate, Judi Stewart       1) What does mindfulness mean to you – and how has it become a particular area of interest?   Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment, to things as they are, alongside an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and others.  Kindness here implies a gentle approach to learning and living, allowing the critical voice to dissolve and instead being discerning about how we treat ourselves and others.  The way we treat ourselves has a direct effect on the way we treat others.   Mindfulness started to become a particular interest to me when I was studying for my MA in psychological coaching.  I had heard about it and began to come across the concept when reading and talking to other coaches.  My moment of commitment was spontaneous.  I was queuing to pay for books at Waterstones when I saw Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book, ‘Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’ on a stand in front of me; I bought it.  The book is broken into eight weeks of learning through reading, short practices and exercises and it all grew from there.   2) What do you see as some of the benefits of practicing Mindfulness?   I can speak from my own experience and my experience of teaching mindfulness.  I cannot imagine living without my daily practice.  It sets me up for the day so I am calmer, I respond rather than react to unwelcome situations and I’m a lot more effective.  Those I teach experience something...
Developing a Professional Presence – Expert Interview

Developing a Professional Presence – Expert Interview

This expert interview is with executive coach, professional presence expert and former Integrity Coaching Associate, Justine Ballard.   1. What is “Professional Presence” – and how did it come to interest you?   For me, Professional Presence means being really present in the moment, physically, mentally and emotionally and showing that presence non verbally as well as verbally.  It’s also about showing the best of yourself.  People make decisions about others in the first few seconds of meeting them and that first impression becomes the positive or negative lens through which everything else that you do is seen.   This subject became a particular interest of mine because I have often worked with intelligent, dedicated and lovely people who had real talents, but I noticed that they weren’t showing the world the best of what was inside.  I wanted to help people create a positive impression that reflects their particular skills and traits and helps their messages really land.   2. What are the Key components of a Professional Presence?   Professional Presence is personal, it’s about being aware of your strengths, the traits and the skills that make you special and really demonstrating them.  However, there are certain traits that research has shown are critical.   The impact Compass (Dimitrius and Mozzerello) shows that people are impressed by four things:   1) Knowing that they can trust you and that you are trustworthy   2) Seeing that you are capable – that you can do what you say you can do   3) Knowing that you care – about yourself, others and the situation   4) Knowing that you are...
How to Support New Headteachers – Expert Interview

How to Support New Headteachers – Expert Interview

This Expert Interview is with coach, transactional analysis expert and Integrity Coaching Associate, Giles Barrow. 1) What are the challenges of being a new Headteacher?   Over the last few years, what I’ve noticed is that being a good practitioner, demonstrating many of the qualities of effective leadership is often the basis on which individuals get promoted into headship and sometimes quite early on.   One of the thresholds that needs to be understood and crossed is that there is a difference between being a good practitioner and holding leadership. A question often unasked is why would others want to be led by you? This demands of us that we understand psychological leadership.   This is where we want to be led by someone, as opposed to having to be led by them. So, some newer heads can be extremely bright and right about their vision, but soon stumble around because others are not coming with them. Being bright and right is sometimes not the point for the leader – it’s the relationship that counts.   In my experience, this can contribute to some of the common challenges that School leaders face today (particularly those new to the profession) namely…   – Isolation – Difficulties communicating and operating across teams and across the school – Issues resulting from a lack of emotional intelligence – Trying to leading from a place of influence rather than authority – Struggles in managing change effectively – Difficulties seeing the big picture and think systematically – Issues caused by a lack of honest feedback 2) How can we support New Headteachers better?   I wrote a paper on the theme of “eldership” a while ago which was subsequently published...