As a Head there are many questions that you are called to answer; questions for which you very often have to justify, defend or give account for your actions and decisions made. These questions are very much bound up in the ‘doing’ of the role, the day to day actions by which much of your role is defined.
There are however, another set of questions, which I believe many Heads are called to answer, when they step into the role. Although the reality is, that the frenetic nature of school leadership means that many never even realise this.
As a result, they trudge through the day to day, not knowing, not realising, that their inner dis-ease is a call to stop, pause and reflect and to pay attention to the deeper questions of the soul/the person in the role.
How do I know this?
When I was a Head teacher, I had constant inner ache. I believed that I had been called to be Head of the school that I was in, yet there was many a time when things just didn’t feel right. When times were tough, I had many questions that I needed to ask of others about the role, about the challenges I faced.
As time progressed, I soon came to realise, that those on hand to ‘support me’ where very skilled in providing answers for what I had to do, but no-one, not a single person, was able to offer support and guidance on who I needed to be.
And so, the inner ache remained. I got used to pushing it down, to attributing the inner dissonance to external factors, not realising that all the time it was a call from within, to answer questions about me, the person in the role and who I needed to be.
Time and experience as a coach, has shown me, that this inner ache, is something that many Heads carry with them. Like me when I was a Head, they too have become accustomed to pushing the feeling down and to attributing it to external factors. I have seen that when Heads stop and reflect and acknowledge the true source of this feeling, their experience of Headship changes.
Why? Because they begin to answer the deeper questions of their soul. They begin to answer the questions that are more to do with who they are as a person and the person they need to be, not just to survive (through doing) but to thrive (though being).
When time and space is given to answer ‘being’ questions, the individual is supported to find answers to questions that help to bring greater degrees of meaning, congruency and integrity to their lives.
The challenges of school leadership do not magically disappear. However, individuals find that they are better equipped for responding to the deep emotional and psychological demands of the role. Through reflection they find that their own roots have been nurtured, watered and supported. As a result, showing up as their authentic self, becomes more and more an act of service to self, as it an act of service to others.
Reflection becomes the vehicle through which the deeper questions of personhood and school leadership are answered. It becomes the mechanism through which individuals remain connected to what matters most.
An opportunity to Reflect and Re-Energise
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.
Places are very limited, so to avoid missing out – please register your interest today!