LeapEd’s flagship is the Trust Schools Programme (TSP), a whole-school transformation initiative that involves working with School Leaders, Middle Leaders, teachers, students, parents, and the wider community.
TSP has been in operation since 2010. During this time, we have learnt that the key to lasting and sustainable change, is our work with schools’ Middle Leaders. Middle Leaders are the doers. The implementers. The drivers of change. They are uniquely positioned between Senior Leaders and teachers. It has become increasingly clear to us that when Middle Leaders can build the trust of both Senior Leaders and teachers, and develop a culture of school improvement, the pace of change is not only increased, but continues even after the Middle Leader leaves for a new post. This is sustainable change.
One key ingredient to creating change that lasts - is an intentional focus on trust. At the heart of our work with Middle Leaders is the development of skills that will allow them to grow their trust, professional confidence, and influence within their school.
- Establishing trust
- Professional presence
- Active listening
- Powerful questioning
- Direct communication
- Creating deeper awareness
- Designing actions
- Planning and goal setting
The above skills and steps are directly aligned to the International Coaching Federation’s Core Competencies. And it is through the development of these skills in Middle Leaders that sustainable change occurs.
A Culture of Coaching
Like all different forms of coaching, at the heart of instructional or educational coaching is the wisdom that we each have within us - the power to resolve our own issues and challenges.
The traditional approach to professional development in education is based around workshops and professional learning communities (both excellent to achieve specific skill-based development needs). However, coaching takes a more personal and empowering approach.
In the traditional approach, answers to teachers’ classroom-based challenges would come from a workshop or from a more senior, experienced teacher. Conversations you might hear in this scenario are ‘have you tried to do this?’, or ‘use this and that will happen.’
Using a coaching approach, answers to teachers’ challenges lie within the teachers themselves. It is the role of the Middle Leader to encourage teachers to experiment so they can find their own solutions for their own unique context. Empowering teachers to be creative problem solvers has proven time and again to have a powerful effect on school culture, collective teacher efficacy (teachers working together and feeling good about it), and therefore student outcomes.
This is why we can confidently say that coaching has been the foundation of our Trust Schools Programme’s success and is why we are advocates for coaching in education, within our organisation, and within the corporate world.
Do you want to see how attuned you are to the key coaching skills? Take our quiz to find out.