Coaching in Education

Why should business get all the benefits of coaching?

90% of organisations use coaching.  99% say it has tangible benefits for individuals (CIPD 2008). The commercial world clearly “gets” the benefits of coaching:

  • It makes financial sense to help managers to encourage problem-solving in their colleagues, rather than running themselves ragged trying to do everything themselves
  • The return on investment coaching gives – in one study identified as approximately 5 fold – is dramatic
  • People learn to develop their own strategies for self-management and professional performance.

Why is coaching relevant to teachers?

A study in Australia (Grant et al Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 2010, Vol. 62, No. 3, 151–168) used randomised control testing to investigate the impact of teaching.  They found that the group that received coaching:

  • self-reported higher levels of achievement than the control group
  • used constructive leadership styles more often
  • reduced levels self-reported aggressive/defensive and passive/defensive leadership styles

This work gives quantitative evidence, as well as qualitative evidence of the positive effect of coaching.   The researchers concluded that coaching has a lot to offer teachers and others in terms of well-being and performance.

Ofsted have recommended that schools extend their use of coaching and mentoring (“Good Professional Development in Schools” 2010).

Can kids learn to coach?

Absolutely!  For example, Myton School in Warwickshire is establishing a “coaching culture” in the school for staff and students.   KS5 students of all abilities were trained as coaches and reported really enjoying the process, as well gaining great skills.  In one study secondary school students trained to be coaches reported higher levels of emotional intelligence and those who were coached met or exceeded their academic targets (van Nieuwerburgh, Zacharia, Luckham, Prebble & Browne, 2012).

Can coaching help kids to learn?

The research says: Yes it can!

  • There is evidence to suggest a link between coaching of teachers and the achievement of their students (Ross, 1992, Cornett & Knight, 2008).
  • A research project in the West Midlands has shown that “coaching can contribute to student performance” [meaning examination results] Passmore & Brown, 2009
  • Personal coaching for students led to “significant increases in levels of cognitive hardiness and hope…” (Green, Grant & Rynsaardt, 2007)

How easy is it to achieve a coaching culture?

Coaching should be experienced and practised by school leaders first, so that they become role-models for their staff.  A coaching programme provided by qualified and experienced coaching professionals is a clear starting point.

The key skills of coaching are straightforward to develop; questioning, listening, challenging, giving feedback.  It is important to understand the process of coaching, so that it is used to achieve changes in behaviour, rather than merely being conversational.  Developing coaching style involves the demonstrating the ability to establish rapport, be non-judgemental and curious.  These are the qualities which make coaching transformative.

If you would like to have a no obligations conversation about coaching do get in touch with

Jane Green-Armytage on             07977 932551 or            jane@athenaprofessional.co.uk or

Nicola Jones on                                07799 237479 or            nicola@athenaprofessional.co.uk

360° Feedback: A Vital Tool for the Education Sector

 Evaluating performance can be a challenge.  Identifying the key competencies and behaviours that make a “good teacher” into an “excellent teacher”, or which describe the criteria for promotion to the school’s management team, can be difficult to do from a single perspective.  Performance management of the Head Teacher can be especially challenging.

360° feedback enables you to collect data from a variety of sources to get a more rounded perspective on how an individual is viewed.  This allows for an informed conversation based on current feedback which can create focused outcomes. The tool helps you to identify and develop talented individuals within your school.

In today’s economic climate schools are more discerning than ever about how they spend their training budgets. Development interventions have to deliver measurable results. Using 360° feedback helps you to offer targeted development at an individual and organisational level.

What is 360° Feedback?

360 diagramPeople giving feedback are usually arranged into groups depending on the relationship they have with the individual.  For example, in your school, depending on the level of the individual being given the feedback, the groups could include members of the governing body, line manager, senior colleagues, peers, direct reports and support staff.  This could be extended, if useful, to parents and  pupils.

Thus 360° feedback gives the individual and the organisation a much more rounded picture of their performance.  This is practical way to obtain good information in a complex establishment in which it is difficult for an individual’s contribution to be assessed by one nominated line manager.

Where do we start?

Using our experience of the sector we can design a 360° feedback questionnaire comprising sets of questions relevant to the roles within a school and then tailor it to your particular circumstances. They will tease out both quantitative and qualitive data to help individuals understand what behaviours are successful and which need modifying/developing.

If a number of individuals go through the process simultaneously then themes can be identified which will help inform decision-making regarding group development interventions.

360° Feedback is one of the most popular development tools in the corporate sector and is used increasingly within the education sector.

How do we ensure that we gain real return on our investment?

The way you use 360° feedback makes a real difference to your success. This requires:

  •  All participants understand 360° Feedback and its purpose.
  • Openness and clarity about why  it is being used it within your school and what you intend to do with the outputs
  • An easy to use system to capture and report the feedback
  • 360° feedback questions that are relevant and reflect your organisational need
  • A strategy for how the feedback reports are managed in order to maximise learning and support development
  • A plan to identify and take action on the organisational learning needs.

If you would like to know more about 360° Feedback and how it might be used within your school contact us now.  We would be delighted to talk you through the process.

If you feel that it would be useful to get advice before you approach 360° Feedback in your school, contact us now on:

01926 633086        or                    info@athenaprofessional.co.uk