Coaching & Leadership Development
4 Major Types of Educational Leadership

4 Major Types of Educational Leadership

  This blog comes from writer of the @AdvocateforEd, activist and former Dean of the School of Education, Psychology, & Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Union University, Dr. Matthew Lynch.   There are four major styles of leadership which apply well in the educational setting.   While each of these styles has its good points, there is a wide berth of variation, and in fact, transformational leadership is truly an amalgamation of the best attributes of the other three. So let’s explore how servant leadership, transactional leadership, and emotional leadership compare to transformational leadership… 1.   Servant Leadership   Servant Leadership takes the focus from the end goal to the people who are being led. There is no sense of self-interest on the part of the leader, who steps back and supports only the interests of the followers. Guidance, empowerment and a culture of trust are hallmarks of this style of leadership. A servant leader puts complete trust in the process and in his or her followers, assuming that those within the organisation will align with its goal.   The primary issue with servant leadership is that it’s not viable on an organisational level, in large part because it does not keep its eye on the prize. With the focus being so entirely upon the needs of the people within the organisation, the goal of the organisation is nearly completely lost and therefore not attained.   Education happens in the real world, where unfortunately people have shortcomings and quite often need guidance in order to get things going in the right direction. Transformational Leadership offers that same focus on the individual, while...
3 Things every Headteacher must Learn

3 Things every Headteacher must Learn

  I have witnessed many a Headteacher brim with pride on appointment to their post; whether it be a first headship, second or third, there is always a sense of something great having been achieved.   This pride often stems from an acknowledgment of the personal journey many have travelled to arrive at that place. It also stems from a hope and optimism about what they can achieve for the children and young people they have chosen to serve.   Something that I have also witnessed is how ill-prepared our system is for properly equipping Heads, with the skills and knowledge for understanding the personal growth process that accompanies Headship. Scant attention is given to the psychological and emotional terrain that all will have to cross in order to successfully navigate the many challenges of the role.   Lessons which should be shared with all Headteachers are often ignored and many Heads are left none the wiser, until crisis hits and they are forced by circumstance to ask;   “What else do I need to learn, so that I can engage with this role in a way that sustains my sense of purpose and who I am as a person?”   Through coaching Headteachers, I have identified three key lessons that are essential for Heads searching to find an answer to this question…   1. Headship cannot be survived by staying on the surface of things   My observation is that Headship takes you to places inside yourself that you have never been to before. Heads have to get used to experiencing Headship from the inside out; instead of...
The 3 Responsibilities of Every Headteacher

The 3 Responsibilities of Every Headteacher

  When I became a Head, the weight of responsibility often weighed heavy on my shoulders. More often than not, this was due to the fact that any responsibility towards the meeting of my own needs, I unconsciously placed second.   Not realising that doing so only added to the pressures that I felt.  It was only after many a dark night of the soul and more than a few tears, that I came to realise that true, authentic success was very much going to be dependent on the degree to which I took responsibility for how I engaged with the pressures of the role and the commitments/promises that I was prepared to make to myself.   Every school leader that I have had the privilege to work with has travelled a similar path. As I have journeyed with them, I have come to see that much like myself, in my early days of Headship, their path towards success has deepened when they have learned to accept three key responsibilities about the role.   Many of these responsibilities were in fact commitments; promises that they made to themselves to help ensure that they stayed true to their own leadership path and were not unduly swayed by the inevitable challenges that so often arise.   Here’s what these 3 key commitments were…   1. Commitment to their own Self-Care   This first commitment should come as no surprise, to those who are familiar with many a blog that I have written. We cannot ignore our own emotional, mental and vocational needs. These are the wells from which our passion springs....
3 Coaching Skills you need as a School Leader

3 Coaching Skills you need as a School Leader

    Good coaches and indeed good school leaders are able to communicate a belief in people’s potential and an expectation that they can do their best. Their tacit message is…   I believe in you. I’m investing in you, and I expect your best efforts. As a result, people sense that a leader cares, so they feel motivated to uphold their own standards for performance, and they feel accountable for how well they do. (Daniel Goleman)   For those that line manage others, it is essential that they have the skills that will have a strong, direct, positive impact on staff levels of motivation, and improve standards for all. Many of the skills required for this type of impact stem from coaching.   Coaching is a broad term for a process that is concerned with bringing out the best in others. There are a wide spectrum of skills that coaches develop over time to assist both the personal and professional growth process.   For school leaders seeking to develop both their coaching competence and confidence there are three key coaching skills that are the foundations for success when working with others…   1. Asking High Level Questions   Questions have the power to change both the content and direction of a conversation. They can play a key role in shaping the structure of a meeting and the quality of both the discussion and related outcomes.   In a variety of school settings ‘high level’ questions (i.e. ones that enable an individual to think deeply about their intention and motivation to succeed) can be used to enable both the...
What really is Authentic Leadership?

What really is Authentic Leadership?

  “To thine own self be true”   We often talk about being true to ourselves, but which self are we referring to? The ego or the unconditioned/true self?   The ego is what psychologists refer to as our conditioned or learned self. It is that part of us that when we were younger, helped to give us our sense of identity. As we grew older our ego helped us to navigate the world of both inter and intra-personal relationships. We took external cues from others to help determine what was acceptable and what was not.   In doing so, we often made unconscious adaptations to our behaviours. When in the company of others, these adaptations often served to help us feel safe and ultimately feel accepted.   The tragedy is however, in our later years we often stumble and fall; unaware that these adaptations that were once winning formulas for success, are now acting as blockers to our own self-understanding and are inhibiting our own authentic growth.   The path towards authenticity   From what I have experienced in the education sector our understanding of this and the path towards integrity and authentic leadership is limited.   We talk about helping school leaders to own their moral purpose, to learn from their mistakes and to walk the talk, but a big piece of the conversation is missing.  Because we are so accustomed to focusing on the developmental stages of children and young people, rarely do we consider adult stages of development.   As a result, when it comes to supporting the work of school leaders there is a...
The 4 Skills of Authentic Leadership

The 4 Skills of Authentic Leadership

This blog comes from executive coach, mindfulness expert and “Education for the Soul” Conference workshop host, Judi Stewart “The only way to learn who we are is to sit down and listen to our minds.” Dr Tracey Stors, Professor of Behaviour and Systems Neuroscience, Rutgers University   In leadership, we often talk about the need to be authentic, but what does this mean?    At its root,  authenticity involves being true to yourself and the essence of who you are as a person. Likewise, on a leadership level, it means making daily choices and actions that are aligned to your vision, values and your sense of vocation.   Working with School Leaders, I have seen that when they lead with authenticity, integrity self-regulation and personal nourishment are hallmarks of their personal leadership style.   The challenge is that in order for leaders to learn to lead authentically, they must first understand themselves.   Because if we don’t know who we are, then how do we know when we are being authentic? Who is this person in this school leadership role and what is the basis of their decision making and relationship with others?   To answer these important questions and help leaders develop the strong self-understanding that is essential for Authentic leadership, I believe there are 4 skills they must work on:   1. Learning to pay attention 2. Clarifying and re-clarifying 3. Being able to objectively describe our direct experience 4. Working with our attitudes   1. Learning to pay attention   If we can’t focus because we are deep in worry, in our ‘to do’ lists or...