Coaching & Leadership Development
What is Values-Based Leadership – Expert Interview

What is Values-Based Leadership – Expert Interview

This expert interview comes from Executive Coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Pat Joseph.   What is Values-Based Leadership?   Values based leadership is when leaders draw on both their own core values and the negotiated and defined values of the work organisation for guidance and motivation.   Values-based school leaders are transparent about sharing and communicating their values and in helping their staff and pupils to connect to their own core values and those of the community they serve and learn within.   Values-based leadership is described by Richard Barrett, author of Building a Values-Driven Organisation, as “…a way of making authentic decisions that builds trust and commitment.”   Research tells us that values-based leadership is most effective when these values are ‘truly lived’ by the leadership team who model these values in their everyday attitude, approach, behaviours and decision-making.   This demonstrates their inherent commitment to their values in a real and observable way and encourages the whole of the organisation to make choices to internalise and act out of these values. As a consequence, these values become the “moral compass “that puts people before processes; helps our problem solving and guides our decision making about what is the right thing to do even when it might not be the easiest thing to do.   What role has values-based leadership played in your career?   Values are at the heart of our identity – they guide and enable us to show up as our best selves and they help us to know when things are not in alignment with our own integrity.   As a black woman, who started her career...
Knowing Oneself – 3 Tips to Effective Self-Reflection

Knowing Oneself – 3 Tips to Effective Self-Reflection

  This expert thinkpiece comes from Executive Coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Mark Bisson.   It is part of the human condition to be introspective and to have a desire to gain a better understanding of ourselves.   Indeed, as many great thinkers throughout history have noted, it is precisely our self-consciousness and our ability to know ourselves, that sets us apart from other species on the planet.   As a professional coach, I have seen how it can be one of the most powerful tools for personal development for my clients.   As British psychotherapist Alison Rickard puts it, our reflective thinking can be “the combined voice of the best teacher and supervisor we ever had”.   On a personal level, it has been an essential component of my continuous learning journey. It has provided me with some valuable insights about myself and has enhanced my understanding of others both in my professional life and in my personal relationships.   As I have developed my reflective practice throughout the last few decades, I have learnt three key secrets to effective self-reflection…   1) Open up and be willing to take action   Effective self- reflection has at its core a willingness to be open with oneself, provide yourself the freedom to explore what’s going on for you and allow yourself to dig deeper underneath the surface.   This openness creates a space for messages to come forward, whether these are words, images, colours or emotions, and can allow you to build a deeper understanding of yourself and your unconscious mind.   However, as Twentieth century Brazilian educator and philosopher...
Breaking the Cycle – How to Address Racism in Schools

Breaking the Cycle – How to Address Racism in Schools

  This blog comes from the Founder and Leader of Oasis Charitable Trust, Steve Chalke   The death of George Floyd, along with the events and debate that have filled the months since, have highlighted again the ongoing and deep-rooted structural racism, injustice and inequality that plague our society.   The toppling of effigies erected to men who grew rich through the trafficking of black human beings has delighted some and horrified others.   However, as historian David Olusoga commented, after the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was torn from its city centre plinth in Bristol and thrown into the harbour: “This was not an attack on history. This is history.”   The symbolic must become systemic   You may believe that a statue to a man who traded in human flesh being pulled from the pedestal on which a previous generation had placed it was a criminal attack.   You may believe that it was an act of liberation. In my view, it was probably both in exactly the same moment. However, what is clear is that lasting change has to be more than symbolic; it must become systemic.   Therefore, the real question, is how do we turn this moment into a movement? A movement that serves as the harbinger of genuine transformation?   Racism is the complex system of privilege and legacy, advantage and disadvantage, power and poverty. It is explicit and implicit. It is conscious and unconscious. It is the air that we breathe.   It impacts us all from birth. As Layla Saad puts it in her book Me and White Supremacy, “White supremacy is a system [we all]...
The “R Word” – What Schools must Learn about Race

The “R Word” – What Schools must Learn about Race

  This blog is from the co-founder of Teaching While White and the Associate Director for Mid-West Educational Collaborative, Elizabeth Denev.   A few years ago, I was sitting in a parent-teacher conference. A black mum sat across the table from me as we discussed her son.   By this time, I had been through a master’s program and had been asked to join a diversity committee. I considered myself a “good” white person, now “thinking” about racism (it was still an intellectual exercise for me).   I was particularly troubled by this young black boy who “was not living up to his potential.” I felt that he could do more, but he was not. I expressed my oh-so condescending concern as, “Look at all I’m doing. Why won’t your son meet me halfway?” — a sentiment I have felt and heard in schools more times than I can count.   This mum looked at me and said in a calm voice, “I think you’re being racist toward my son.”   And what did I do?   I doubled-downed. I proceeded to explain to this mum all the ways that I certainly was not racist, how much I had worked with her son, given him extra time. I had not written him off as so many other teachers had done, telling me that I shouldn’t waste my time with him.   Couldn’t she see how “good” I was? I defended myself, and my whiteness, just as I had been taught to do by centuries of white superiority and white silence on this topic.   Years later, I shudder when...
Talking about Race – 10 Steps to Progress

Talking about Race – 10 Steps to Progress

  This blog comes from teacher and the co-founder of the Anti-Racist Educator, Mélina Valdelièvre (@AntiRacistEd)     Many of us will have experienced the explosive nature of conversations about race. So much so that we become afraid of even mentioning the ‘r-words’ – ‘race,’ ‘racism’ and, the most explosive of all, ‘racist’.   Pointing out the racism behind someone’s actions often places us in precarious situations, especially if you are a person of colour. As a teacher of colour in Scotland, I have encountered numerous difficulties when speaking about race with colleagues, pupils, friends and my biracial family.   There is often a fear of offending, of being offended and many misunderstandings, making race a practically ‘taboo’ topic. And, unless we communicate clearly in this area, racial violence – be it discursive, physical or systemic – has a dangerous potential to grow even more.   There is a misconception that talking about race only makes matters worse and increases racism. However, there is a wide range of evidence suggesting that productive conversations about race can lead to:   – An expansion of critical consciousness – An increased ability to dispel stereotypes and misinformation about other groups – Less intimidation and fear of differences – Increased compassion for others – A broadening of horizons – Increased appreciation of people of all colours and cultures – Greater sense of belonging and connectedness with all groups    It was with the intention of exploring the importance of communication around race that I went on a research trip to the country with innumerable experts on race – the United States of America. On...
Race Equality: “Why we need Uncomfortable Conversations”

Race Equality: “Why we need Uncomfortable Conversations”

  “The national data in England confirms that Black Caribbean underachievement in education is real and persistent and they are consistently the lowest performing group in the country, and the difference between their educational performance and others is larger than for any other ethnic group “ (Demi and Mclean 2017)   This is a national picture that has remained unchanged for generations of children of Black Caribbean descent. Over the years there have been numerous enquiries followed by legislation and policy and yet… very little has changed.   If you were to look back on education initiatives designed to address racial inequality you might find a clue as to why our education system persistently fails to effectively challenge racial inequality in our schools.   Looking back (and I can say this with confidence, because over the past 30 years, I have been involved in various local and national race equality initiatives) you won’t find any work that specifically addresses conversations about white identity and white privilege. An unwillingness to have these conversations has meant that generations of black families have been let down by our education system. The real, the uncomfortable and yet potentially transformational conversations have not been had.   Addressing racism is not just a cognitive exercise   Addressing racism is not just a cognitive exercise. Past initiatives have treated it as such. Avoiding the uncomfortable white identity conversation. Instead there has been a heavy emphasis on analysing data, sharing the figures, delivering training and writing anti-racist policies. All important actions in themselves, but the sad truth is these actions have had minimal impact. We have to...