Unleash Your Leadership Superpowers: The 5 Coaching Skills Every SLT Needs

Imagine having the power to create a school culture where everyone is genuinely motivated to make things better and self-improvement thrives organically. That’s the magic of coaching! As an SLT member, you can unlock this potential and drive positive change within your school with these coaching skills.

1. Asking High-Level Questions:

Let’s talk about high-level questions! They have this incredible ability to shape conversations and outcomes. In your performance management meetings, try asking questions that spark deep thinking. You’ll see your team members light up with a commitment to the school’s goals and newfound confidence to achieve them.

For example, in performance management meetings, that will encourage colleagues to reflect on their:

  • Commitment to the bigger picture and targets/goals
  • Levels of confidence and belief in their ability to succeed
  • Resilience and ability to persist in the pursuit of targets and goals even in difficult situations

Through questioning, staff are supported to reflect at a deeper level; you can help ensure that staff are not simply showing compliance in meetings, but commit to the school’s bigger picture and their values and reasons for being in the profession.

2. Challenging Staff to Step Out of Comfort Zones:

Picture this: your team members fearlessly breaking free from their comfort zones and taking on new challenges. You can make it happen! As an SLT member, you have the power to help your staff face their fears and discover untapped potential. Encourage them to embrace change and watch them soar to new heights.

As a Senior Leader, you can develop your ability to do this by identifying the various ways in which individuals either behave or use language to keep them stuck. Once these defence mechanisms are brought out into the open, you can help individuals create new paradigms that will enable them to stretch and move beyond the confines of the familiar.

3. Listening for Meaning:

Time to put on your super-ears! Deep listening is like a magical connection that goes beyond words. When you truly hear what others say and understand their emotions, it creates a safe and nurturing space for growth.

Only when we truly master the art of listening can we hear and learn to understand what is being conveyed in the words, gestures, body language – and the ‘silences’ – of others.

When we can read non-verbal communication and understand the emotion behind a word, sentence, or message conveyed in a look to the side or a folded arm, we can enter into conversations with others with far greater potential for development and growth.

4. Being Comfortable with a Wide Range of Emotions:

Ah, the challenges of handling emotions! We’ve all been there. But fear not! You’ll confidently navigate through emotions with coaching superpowers, even with underperforming staff.

Underperforming staff can often be angry, defensive, withdrawn and uncooperative. We probably all have a degree of expertise in dealing with these behaviours in our pupils. Still, when it comes to managing these behaviours in other adults, it is seriously hard work.

Line managers themselves tend to adopt a range of coping strategies, e.g. avoidance, only giving positive, upbeat messages, or finding someone more senior to hold the other person to account. None of these approaches are satisfactory, as they neither move the line manager’s or staff member’s development forward. Both are weakened by an inability to face challenging emotions head-on.

SLT staff grow when, through coaching, they develop the skills to ‘hold’ uncomfortable emotions and still have the conversation that will move both themselves and the other forward.

5. Managing Your Own Emotions:

You’re like the Captain of Emotions! How tuned in are you to yourself? Your feelings impact your thoughts and behaviours and how much they ripple through 1:1 situations.

It’s not always easy for an SLT member to remain emotionally grounded, particularly because school relationships take up so much of your own emotional resources. However, very often, your levels of effectiveness are determined by your own ability to remain centred when others around you are not.

Coaching enables you to do just this. It is a process through which physiologically, as you learn to be still in the presence of another, your responses to stress and the heightened emotions of others change. A change in ‘being’ that you can then carry over to other aspects of your life as a School Leader and show greater calmness amongst the daily stresses of school life.

Developing Your Coaching Skills

In my years of working with School Leaders, I’ve learned that one of the most important skills any School Leader can have is the ability to manage and nurture personalities and relationships within their school effectively – quite simply, when school relationships are positive, the outcomes are often more likely to be positive too.

Our Essential Coaching Skills programme is your secret weapon. It’s designed for Senior School Leaders ready to unleash their coaching superpowers. Our programme will help you to master difficult conversations, maximise staff performance, and create a coaching culture that transforms your school.


  • Day 1: Monday 26th February 2024
  • Day 2: Tuesday 27th February 2024
  • Day 3: Thursday 25th April 2024
  • Day 4: Thursday 20th June 2024

To register and find out more, click here.

Ready to Unleash Your Coaching Superpowers?

Take our coaching skills assessment and discover your unique strengths and growth areas. Embrace your coaching potential, and let’s embark on a journey of transformation together.


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