Coaching in Education: Getting Better Results for Students, Educators, and Parents

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Coaching in Education: Getting Better Results for Students, Educators and Parents will support educational organisations in learning more about the current interest in coaching approaches within schools, colleges and universities. With chapters on coaching in primary schools and secondary schools, with students, staff and parents, this book provides a sound basis for introducing coaching into any educational setting. This book brings together the latest national and international academic research with real case studies and a focus on practice that makes a difference for learners. Starting with a review of the existing literature and research into the area of coaching in education, the book goes on to consider the role of coaching educational leaders, coaching within the primary school setting and then secondary school settings.The notion of "mental toughness" and its relationship to coaching is also explored. The US and Australian perspectives on coaching in education are discussed in two chapters written by leading experts - instructional coaching in the US and the integration of positive and coaching psychology in Australia. This is followed by a chapter that focuses on coaching for parents, which is a growing area of interest. Finally, the book concludes with a practical consideration of creating "Coaching Cultures for Learning", proposing a number of models and next steps.Interesting case studies relating to coaching in primary schools, secondary schools and universities are also shared. Written by academics and expert educational practitioners, Coaching in Education is set to become the standard text for anyone interested in studying the subject. Even more importantly, it can be used to support educators who would like to develop coaching cultures for learning for their own students.

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CHAPTER ONE: Coaching in education: an overview

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Christian van Nieuwerburgh

Coaching is already having an enormous impact on education. From the UK to the USA and Australia, the use of coaching is increasingly being seen as a useful intervention to support students, teachers, and administrators. In this book, we recognise and celebrate the ways in which coaching is already making a difference in educational organisations and offer ways in which schools, colleges, and universities throughout the world can further exploit the potential of coaching and mentoring.

For students, mentoring and coaching opportunities include providing peer support to fellow students to enhance examination results and improve academic skills. This type of coaching can also reduce stress whilst improving social and emotional skills. For teachers, educational leaders, and administrators, coaching and mentoring can help with transitions into new roles. Coaching is also used effectively to enhance teaching skills and drive up performance in educational organisations. The aim of this book is to support you to implement and embed effective coaching approaches and programmes into your educational organisation. To do this, we will consider coaching approaches and experiences from the UK, the USA, and Australia.

 

CHAPTER TWO. Coaching and mentoring for educational leadership

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Christian van Nieuwerburgh

Introduction

Educational leadership is uniquely challenging and can be particularly rewarding. It combines leadership of people, learning, and complex organisations. Many in educational leadership positions have been attracted to the role by a desire to make a real difference to people’s lives. Often, they have successful track records as outstanding educators, almost always with direct experience of teaching or lecturing in the classroom. This chapter considers how coaching and mentoring can support educational leaders and their organisations to flourish.

Educational leadership

Leadership is a concept that has fascinated us as a human race throughout our history. In our attempts to define it, we have made reference to a broad range of models, variously alluding to historical figures, military heroes, dramatic characters, poets, philosophers, architects, and strategic planners. We have grappled with the nuanced differences between leadership and management, at times narrowed, and at other times broadened, the scope of leadership to include the very few at the top or the vast majority of people within an organisation. Recently, we have begun to wonder how leadership relates to “followership”, and whether the leader should lead from the front, the middle, or the rear.

 

CHAPTER THREE. Coaching in primary or elementary schools

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Mary Briggs and Christian van Nieuwerburgh

Introduction

As educational organisations embrace coaching as an approach and integrate it into their daily practice, there has been a tendency to focus on secondary and further education. In these contexts, the idea of equipping staff and students with coaching skills and providing one-to-one support for career planning is well received. It is also used as an intervention strategy for both students and staff as can be seen in other chapters in this book. What about coaching in primary and elementary schools? This chapter explores the possible advantages of coaching in this sector. We consider some of the existing research before sharing some of the emerging practice in primary and elementary schools.

Many of the perceived advantages of coaching approaches apply equally to primary and secondary schools. This is particularly true for staff, with strategies such as instructional coaching for teachers working across the age phases (see Chapter Six). One significant difference is in the staffrooms. The primary or elementary school staffroom will always be smaller than those in secondary schools, due to the fact that the average primary or elementary school will necessarily have fewer staff than the average secondary school. This situation has advantages and disadvantages. Many primary or elementary schools flourish as a result of their smaller organisational settings, while others fail to capitalise on this advantage.

 

CHAPTER FOUR. Coaching in secondary or high schools

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Christian van Nieuwerburgh and Jonathan Passmore

Introduction

This chapter focuses on how coaching can have a positive impact on secondary schools, 11–18 year old students, and staff. The chapter is divided into three sections. The first section will focus on coaching for enhanced examination performance. Specifically, it looks at recent work undertaken by us to research the impact of a number of different coaching pilot programmes designed to support students and enhance educational attainment. The second section briefly explores the issue of resilience and schools, and how coaching can be used as a tool in secondary schools to address the problem of bullying and stress. The third section of the chapter considers how secondary schools could use coaching with staff to build a learning culture within their school, and explores its wider impact on social skills such as self-awareness, taking greater personal responsibility, and personal confidence.

Coaching for enhanced examination performance

 

CHAPTER FIVE. Mental toughness and its role in the development of young people

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Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk

Introduction

This chapter focuses on the concept of mental toughness and the mental toughness questionnaire, MTQ48. This concept and approach have emerged from work carried out by one of us (Clough) and Dr Keith Earle at the University of Hull.

Until recently, it can be argued that mental toughness has been widely accepted as a concept but poorly defined. Ongoing development, particularly with the support of coaches and practitioners in a wide range of applications has enabled one of us (Clough) to articulate the concept in a very accessible way. Moreover, the development of MTQ48 has provided a valid and reliable tool to support coaches to achieve better diagnosis of mental toughness (and the potential for evaluation of interventions).

In turn, this had led to identifying interventions that seem to work in developing mental toughness in some sense. A distinct advantage is that many of the interventions are already known to most coaches, tutors, and mentors.

 

CHAPTER SIX. Coaching to improve teaching: using the instructional coaching model

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Jim Knight

Introduction

In the past decade, interest in coaching has exploded in the USA. Coaching is recognised as one way to significantly improve teaching practices and many states, districts, and schools are hiring coaches to deliver professional learning in their schools. However, in their enthusiastic efforts to obtain professional development that makes a difference, some leaders have hired coaches without considering the principles, actions, and contextual factors that have been found to increase coaching success. This chapter provides an overview of each of these topics, with a major focus on instructional coaching (Knight, 2007). At the same time, issues that are relevant to any coaching designed to improve the way teachers teach and the way students learn is considered.

Growing interest in coaching

Coaching in schools has sparked growing interest for many reasons, two of which are especially relevant: (a) a growing recognition that teacher quality is a critical factor in student success, and (b) an equally growing recognition that traditional forms of professional development are ineffective.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN. Positive education programmes: integrating coaching and positive psychology in schools

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Lisa Suzanne Green, Lindsay Gregory Oades, and Paula Lesley Robinson

Introduction

This chapter examines the application of positive psychology and coaching psychology in schools. We provide an overview of these fields and research conducted to date. Further, we outline the potential of the combined use of these complementary approaches in the development of larger scale positive education programmes in schools. Positive psychology interventions (PPIs) are described as a practice drawn from the science of positive psychology. Evidence-based coaching, which is based on the theory and research of coaching psychology, is also described, and research supporting its use provided. Suggestions for the integration of positive psychology and coaching psychology are made with a specific focus on applications in the school setting. We argue for a strategic approach to applications of positive psychology and coaching psychology to create positive education programmes that facilitate student, staff, and whole school wellbeing.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT. Coaching for parents: empowering parents to create positive relationships with their children

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Agnes Bamford, Nicole Mackew, and Anna Golawski

Introduction

Coaching for parents has increased in popularity over recent years in recognition of the huge impact that coaching has had in the sports and business sectors. Coaching courses for parents have been successfully delivered in both the corporate world and within schools.

Coaching for parents differs from other traditional parenting interventions in that the coaches are not claiming to be parenting experts, telling parents they are doing something wrong or that they must follow a certain script. The coaching approach focuses on the use of powerful questions to enable parents to understand themselves and their children better; a total belief in parents’ ability to succeed; asking instead of telling; the idea that people have the solutions to their problems within them, and that by owning their own solution they will be more likely to implement it.

We share the view advocated by Guldberg (2009) that parents can often feel undermined by media stories and our safety-obsessed culture. Guldberg encourages parents to trust themselves and each other, while believing they can benefit from insights into how they can deal with common challenges of being parents and discover how fulfilling and enjoyable parenting can be.

 

CHAPTER NINE. Creating coaching cultures for learning

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Christian van Nieuwerburgh and Jonathan Passmore

Introduction

As we have shown throughout this book, coaching has a unique contribution to make in educational settings and allows powerful learning to occur in carefully constructed environments. This chapter considers how to re-create, in schools and other learning organisations, the conditions in which coaching can be effective. In other words, how can we create “coaching cultures for learning”?

As the focal point of the communities of which they are a part, schools are the ideal context in which to grow coaching cultures for learning. As we have shown already, there is a considerable and growing body of evidence that coaching improves results for individuals and organisations. More specifically, the UK’s National College for School Leadership (NCSL) concludes that “there is strong evidence that coaching promotes learning and builds capacity for change in schools” (Creasy & Paterson, 2005). It follows, therefore, that successful implementation of coaching cultures within schools (based on proven coaching principles) can lead to improved environments for learning. This, in turn, will mean better results for students, staff, and the wider community.

 

CHAPTER TEN. Coaching in primary schools: a case study

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Neil Suggett

Introduction

Hayes Park is a West London primary school of 730 children and 100 staff and has become known as the “coaching school”. The school has been judged as “outstanding” in the Ofsted Inspections in 2003 and 2007. In this chapter, I explain how coaching has become a fundamental part of how we do things and its impact on learning and leading. I also summarise how coaching is being used on a day-to-day basis and share some insights on the introduction of a coaching approach.

People have many different understandings of the term “coaching”. Our working definition of coaching has been developed over the past eight years and reflects our collective learning about a coaching approach. The key elements are:

•  coaching is a process that unlocks a person’s potential in order to maximise performance, whether that be a child or an adult;

•  coaching enables the individual to learn, rather than being the recipient of teaching;

•  coaching takes an optimistic view of future possibilities and is not focused upon deficits or past failures;

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN. Coaching students in a secondary school: a case study

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Christian van Nieuwerburgh, Chris Zacharia, Elaine Luckham, Glenn Prebble, and Lucy Browne

Introduction

Acollaborative research pilot project between Sittingbourne Community College, educational psychologists within Kent, and the University of East London (UEL) took place in the academic year 2010–2011. Sittingbourne Community College is a large secondary school with over 1,000 students on roll, and nearly half of these students are deemed to experience barriers to learning for a variety of reasons.

The educational psychologists recognised the school’s needs and responded with a project proposal for raising attainment using coaching in secondary schools, in line with recent research by Passmore and Brown (2009). Links were then established with the school, and the educational psychologists delivered coaching training to post-sixteen students, supported their interim reflective practice coaching sessions, and helped with the evaluation of the project.

Sittingbourne Community College volunteered to participate in this pilot project, which was consistent with the school’s general ethos that considers student voice, leadership, and responsibility as fundamental aspects of a student’s education. As such, students of all ages become involved in a variety of ways in working with, and supporting, other students. The College was a leading school in taking forward the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) strategy so that emotional intelligence is embedded within the curriculum and in interactions between members of the College community.

 

CHAPTER TWELVE. Coaching staff in a secondary school: a case study

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Loic Menzies

Introduction

This chapter looks at a case study based within a London secondary school, which undertook a pilot programme to investigate how coaching techniques could contribute to staff development. The school is relatively small, with about 600 students aged between 11–16 years. The school caters for a wide range of abilities.

The pilot

The pilot scheme involved the use of an external coach, who was asked to deliver an hour of coaching to four members of staff at different stages of their career (from newly qualified teacher to experienced manager). In setting up the agreements for each coaching session, the contract on outcomes was left open for the individual to identify their needs, rather than these needs being imposed by the head of department or head teacher.

The feedback from this first set of sessions was positive. The pilot provided some useful insights to what coaching might offer, but it was recognised that for real value to be gleaned from coaching, a wider, whole-school approach was needed.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN. Coaching in higher education: a case study

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Bob Thomson

In this chapter, I shall describe a number of ways in which coaching is used at the University of Warwick, and highlight some issues which arise that might be of interest to those seeking to utilise coaching within educational organisations.

In the league tables of British universities that are published regularly, the University of Warwick invariably comes comfortably within the top ten. This is an impressive performance, given that Warwick University was only established in 1964 and, thus, is one of the UK’s newer universities. Its strategic vision is to be one of the top fifty universities in the world.

Warwick is a research-intensive university. This is highly significant in shaping how the university is run and has practical implications for both management development and for coaching initiatives. In a research-intensive university, the success of an academic depends largely on the quality of their research publications. The ability to carry out administrative and management duties efficiently, therefore, has a lower priority in their career progression. In some other universities, becoming head of an academic department is seen as a promotion and a step forward in career terms. At Warwick, heads of academic departments are appointed for a fixed term of between three and five years, after which they often return to their former academic role. Heads of academic departments might come to the role at a mid to late stage in their career, with limited prior leadership experience. Being head of department imposes considerable administrative and management responsibilities, all of which take time away from research. The financial recompense for being head of department is modest, and for research-active academics, the vital currency is time rather than money. Hence, becoming head of department can be a burden which people shoulder from a mix of motives, many of which can be rooted in an altruistic desire to “take one’s turn” in leading the department.

 

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