Coaching & Leadership Development
How to Keep Your Teachers Happy, Passionate and Motivated

How to Keep Your Teachers Happy, Passionate and Motivated

  Recently, I have been reflecting on this key quote from Headteacher, Chris Dyson’s blog “This is What Teachers Need: Love and Smiles”.    “The biggest resource and the biggest impact on success in any school are the teachers and the TA’s, and so their well-being is paramount.”   I think Chris’ idea that school improvement is a deeply human pursuit really hits the nail on the head. To transform our schools, we must take care of those who show up every day for our children.   Reflecting on Chris’ own leadership practice, it is evident that he brings out the best in his staff by enabling them to feel valued, supported and that they belong.   These are essential needs that we all have in our lives and they are intimately connected with our well-being, our motivation and how well we perform at work. If we want to get the best out of our teachers, like Chris – I believe we have to find ways for these three essential needs to be met.   So, in what other ways (other than those Chris outlines) can school leaders help teachers to feel these three things? 1. Help them to feel valued   Research has shown that when our efforts and achievements are recognised and seen to be valued, we not only feel better about ourselves but our brain functions are also optimised. Therefore, a staff member who feels valued and is operating at their best, is far more likely to go the extra mile.   By rewarding individual effort, for going above and beyond in activities both in and outside...
The 3 Key Lessons of “Education for the Soul” 2017

The 3 Key Lessons of “Education for the Soul” 2017

    As a coach, I trust myself to be able to create the type of 1:1 spaces where it is safe for the soul to be seen.   Spaces where School Leaders can come out from behind their leadership masks and explore what it means to live lives of authenticity and integrity, amidst the challenges and complexities of day to day school life.   However, in hosting the ‘Education for the Soul’ Conference, I faced a new challenge.   Could a ‘conference’ setting replicate a place of safety for the deep work of school leadership and soul to come together and be seen? One rogue ego and my hopes for the conference would have failed.   One misplaced word or comment, then people would have retreated into themselves, and found no solace, comfort or acceptance in the presence of others.   But I needn’t have feared. Everyone present had bought into the message. Everyone present was prepared to take a risk.   Individuals let go of their leadership masks and allowed true humanity, companionship and hope to come together; in service of one another and in service of shared hopes, dreams and ambitions for our children and our schools.   Personally, it was a deeply humbling experience. To be in the presence of so many wonderful individuals who were prepared to:   – Take a risk – Ask of themselves challenging questions – Think about school leadership differently – Go on a deeper learning journey with themselves and others   And perhaps, most importantly, I witnessed  individuals who were prepared to let go of the belief that ‘self-care is a...
How to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs

How to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs

  Our beliefs are assumed truths. They are our inner statements about ourselves in which we are emotionally invested. They have shaped us and probably unbeknown to many of us they have been with us since childhood.   Picked up almost by osmosis from those who have had greatest influence upon us in our formative years. Our beliefs are like a hidden undercurrent that has influenced much of who we are today.   “Our beliefs may not exist in our minds as explicit propositions. They may be so implicit in our thinking that we are hardly aware of them at all; yet they clearly lie behind our actions.”   Self-limiting beliefs are the ones which have the greatest potential for impacting negatively upon you achieving your full potential. We develop limiting beliefs to protect us from future pain.   Usually they develop [in our formative years] in response to painful experiences. From these experiences we create our own, often skewed generalisation about life.   These generalisations become deeply imbedded in our subconscious and then manifest as limiting beliefs that influence much of what we think, say and do…   Example of Limiting Beliefs Limiting Behaviours resulting from belief I am powerless Not standing up for your self Nothing I say is worth being listened to Not speaking up Everything I do has to be perfect Becoming risk averse I am worthless Act defensively I can’t handle conflict Giving into others   When we allow our lives to be shaped by these limiting beliefs, the behaviours that we adopt reinforce our own beliefs and so we become expert in creating...
Why do so many Headteachers suffer from Burn-out?

Why do so many Headteachers suffer from Burn-out?

Your role as a school leader requires an endless amount of energy; energy being what the Oxford English dictionary defines as;   “The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity”.   However, you know that from your own experience as a school leader, the definition should also include “sustained emotional activity.” When you are working in a school, engaging day-to-day with children and their families, teachers, support staff, governors and other adults, you know that in addition to expending great amounts of mental and physical energy, you expend equal if not more amounts of energy meeting the emotional needs of others.   As a result you end up carrying a huge emotional debt and become increasingly emotionally overdrawn, with no readily identifiable means for bringing your emotional account back into credit.   School development is also about emotional development. The ability to meet the emotional needs of others is central to the levels of effectiveness displayed by school leaders. The ability to do so is a requirement that increases during periods of stress, which let’s face it… is virtually all of the time when you are a school leader!   The problem is that as a school leader, you are not trained to understand how to respond to and meet other people’s emotional needs.  Let’s be honest we often have enough trouble understanding our own! Most of us are novices in the field of understanding human emotion, yet your role demands that you become expert at it.   The result is that you give without receiving. And even when the well runs dry, you attempt to...
5 Things People Don’t know about Being a Headteacher

5 Things People Don’t know about Being a Headteacher

  Most people think they know what it’s like to be a Head teacher. After all they been to school, they were a pupil once and simply because of this fact, they believe, based on their own school experience, that they know what the job entails.   It’s just about having a big office, delivering one or two assemblies a week, going home at 4.00 and having long, idyllic summer holidays. Right?  If this were the truth, I doubt we’d be experiencing the current haemorrhaging of Head teachers from the profession.   The truth is, Headship is far different from what most people think it is. Even those that ‘knowingly’ apply for the post, soon find out that it is most unlike what they had first expected.   So, for those who think they know and for those who think they’d genuinely like to know, here are 5 things people don’t know about being a Head teacher; that just might bring greater levels of empathy and understanding to those both in and outside of the profession.   1. Headship is a role that demands huge amounts of self-knowledge   To succeed as a Head teacher, you really have to know who you are; what your drivers and motivators are and how they show up for both good and bad when you are in the role.   If you have a good understanding of your emotional make up, you’re far more likely to experience an overall sense of wellbeing, rather than being taken hostage by feelings and emotions that seemingly spring up from know where, when you are faced with...