Coaching & Leadership Development

3 Reasons our School Leaders (Occasionally) Need Space

3 Reasons our School Leaders (Occasionally) Need Space

Today’s Blog comes from an ex-secondary Headteacher, trainee therapist and Integrity Coaching Associate, Tim Small. 


I’ll never forget the face of a dear friend one evening as he arrived for the start of a two-day retreat. 


He was in a leadership role in education.  His week so far had left him looking pale and harrowed, with the crease of a deep frown between his eyes, which were dull.  The light was out.  He looked spent.


Forty-five hours later, he was beaming.  His face was alive again, twinkling with humour and he looked ‘on top of the world’.  It was quite a remarkable transformation.


What had happened in between?


Those two days were like a ‘plunge pool’ of reflection and restoration.  Being in a Circle of Trust had made him feel safe to allow his vulnerability out, so it could be shared, honoured, treated, put into perspective.


Rising above it, like a helicopter, he saw the wood for the trees again.  A walk across fields even imprinted that image on his memory.  Nothing was quite so important as to get the better of him again, as things had started to do.


In quiet dialogue with like-minded fellow professionals, he found answers coming to him.  He had new clarity about the way forward and new energy to get there.  He regained the quiet conviction that comes from remembering the values that underlay his professional calling.


3 Reasons School Leaders occasionally need space


1. Our relationships, at work and home, can get overloaded, mostly with other people’s agendas. It’s crucial we have some precious, calm, reflective space in which we remember who we are and what really matters (and what doesn’t!) that the pace of work in school can starve us of. On top of this, we find a place where can draw on the unconditional trust and regard of our fellow professionals who understand but without any self-interest.


2. Our first responsibility is to be fully present every day, aware, attentive and ‘on form’, with ‘time for people’ and the wisdom to make snap judgements accurately. The energy required to do this on a daily basis is huge and needs regular renewal, which is exactly what we need space for!


3. However strategic we try to be, we can always benefit from renewing our ‘helicopter view’, to gain clarity on the situation we are in, the challenges for what they are and ultimately begin to see the wood for the trees.


I believe that if we model this way of looking after ourselves, so we have that much more to give, our colleagues may get the message, do the same and have that much more to offer the children and young people, whose success is our reason for being leaders.


Reconnect with your original vision, passion and purpose on our Developing Headspace Programme


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 we offer our “Developing Headspace” Programme, consisting of a 2 Day “Transforming Leadership” Residential in Suffolk, Group Nurture Meals, coaching calls and a half day “Review and Reflect” session, all designed to support and enhance Headteachers’ capacity for authentic, inspiring and sustainable leadership.


The programme hopes to offer a space for reflection and active, informed listening, for Heads to renew perspective, think strategically, build lasting networks of support and refresh the vitality of their core purpose.

Spread across three school terms, the programme includes a range of activities designed to provide on-going care, support and encouragement for Heads across the school year.

Above all, it is our aim to ensure that the programme supports school leaders in 5 key areas…


Vision: Central to all aspects of the programme are processes and ways of working individually and collectively that keep individuals anchored to their vision.

Values: Heads are supported to identify ways of being that increase alignment with themselves and their key values.

Resilience: As Heads develop a deeper understanding of how they respond to the stresses of the role, individuals are supported to develop greater degrees of emotional, psychological and vocational resilience.

A Values Network: The programme design facilitates the development of new supportive and collaborative relationships with like-minded peers.

Confidence: As individuals experience a growth in self-awareness and appreciation of their core strengths, they also experience a growth in personal conviction and increased confidence in their own abilities.

If you’d like to find out more about the programme, and how it could help support you in your role, simply follow the link below…

Learn more about the Programme

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