Coaching & Leadership Development
October 3, 2018

The 3 Disciplines of Great School Leaders

The 3 Disciplines of Great School Leaders


Our schools will always need great leaders. Individuals who possess deep levels of courage, tenacity and integrity and are willing to take on the often very heavy mantle of school leadership.


With a continuing decline in the number of teachers putting themselves forward for leadership roles, we need to take a long hard look at what can be done to maintain the commitment of those who have taken a step up the ladder.


Strategies need to be considered that address the person within the role and “evoke the inner life of activities that cultivate their capacity to lead with greater consciousness, self-awareness and integrity” (Parker J Palmer)


When such strategies are in place, an individuals’ capacity for being ‘great’ is increased are they are able to maintain an upward trajectory towards self-actualisation. This trajectory is maintained through the development of three key disciplines that are integral to the way in which they lead themselves and others.


Discipline 1: They ask questions of themselves


Great school leaders know that it is not enough to ask questions of others in their endeavour to create good and outstanding schools. They know that they must also ask questions of themselves. The questions that they know others would not dare to ask of them, but nevertheless they know that they must dare to ask of themselves.


They know they must ask questions about their hidden fears, their limitations, their biases and their emotional responses to the challenges of the role. They face up to asking these questions because they know that in doing so, they will find answers that will strengthen their leadership and their capacity for growing in the role.


Discipline 2: They take risks


Great school leaders are not afraid of failure. They are not afraid of stepping out into the unknown. They are not fool hardy in their decision making, neither are they unconsciously influenced by the unmet needs of their ego. Instead, they are guided by their strong moral purpose.


The risks that they take are guided by what they believe to be right or wrong and they understand that paradoxically, the right thing to do, is not always the easiest thing to do. As a result, the risks that they take enable them to grow in both character and wisdom. They are leaders that others look up to and trust, because they demonstrate that great leadership is not a popularity contest, but a self-less quest carried out in the service of others.


Discipline 3: They keep connected to their personal vision


Great school leaders know that without a strong and secure sense of who they are and how they wish to be seen, the impact of their leadership can be seriously undermined. They know that amidst the myriad of opinions and voices offering advice and telling them what to do, they need to know when to turn down the volume and listen to their own voice.


They know that the ability to do so, keeps them connected to their personal vision, it keeps them connected to their ‘Why’ and in so doing ensures that any decisions they do make are aligned to who they are and how they wish to be seen.




One of the most essential aspects of sustainable leadership is having regular opportunities to reflect on one’s leadership, re-energise, re-connect with what drives them, and above all, focus on how they are going about to achieve their vision.


That’s why this autumn, Integrity Coaching will be offering a unique chance for you to do just this and connect with like-minded school leaders at one of our wonderful leadership retreats. With a mixture of journaling, discussion, walking and a series of structured discussion, we aim to explore some of the most important questions and themes facing our School Leaders.


Or as one Headteacher who joined us last year’s retreat, put it…

“The retreats offer a safe environment to be honest with yourself about your Leadership journey.  They give you space both physically and mentally to think, reflect, be vulnerable, and replenish your sense of purpose.  The Retreat is flexible enough to fulfil the varying needs of each individual.  I have found the Retreats to have been invaluable to my leadership potential.”


Above all, these two day getaways are set in two stunning countryside locations that lend themselves to talking and walking and are designed so that all those who attend will leave with…


– A clear understanding of how to lead without sacrificing your own well-being

– Tools to help you make leadership more sustainable and joyful

– A way forward for overcoming the challenges of your role and remaining confident in your ability to achieve your goals for yourself and your school.

– An understanding of how to communicate your vision, drive strategic leadership & empower all pupils & staff to flourish.


Learn More

Places are very limited, so to avoid missing out – please register your interest today!






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