Invaluable insights from leadership coaching

July 11, 2017
Ed Knowles

Ed Knowles

Head of Geography at Abraham Derby Academy

When I joined the Teaching Leaders programme I was a little sceptical about what I could gain from coaching - yet it turned out to be invaluable to my development as a leader.

I was already familiar with coaching when I joined the Teaching Leaders programme, having dabbled with it in my previous career in the finance sector. This experience had left me a little apprehensive.

On top of that, I learned that my assigned coach had a background in music, and feared how relevant her insight and experience would be to my individual development.

How could this coaching help me to achieve my goal of raising attainment in geography?

My doubts disappeared within my first few sessions with my coach, Bernie.

The speed at which my coach was able to understand me and my values was astonishing, meaning that I was able to start taking advantage of learning from my coaching sessions straight away. I realised that the coaching offered by Ambition School Leadership would be much more of an immersive and developmental practice than the coaching I experienced in the finance sector.

Ambition TL7

Through Bernie's questioning, active listening and consistent challenging, she enhanced my development as a leader and helped me navigate my own path to a solution to any given problem. I leave each session with a clear set of actions that are direct, concise and goal-orientated and that feed into my personal project. Bernie also helped me to become more strategic in my leadership, helping my staff to work together to achieve more for our pupils.

Coming to the end of the programme and my coaching with Bernie, I can confidently say I now think more like a leader, rather than a manager. This development has been demonstrated by comments made recently by my colleagues, including a member of the senior leadership team. They have described me as ‘altruistic’, ‘expectant’, ‘adaptable’, ‘democratic’ and ‘collaborative’.

2013.09 Headship Institute - Blessed Thomas Holford futureleaders30-1.jpg

The benefits of coaching don't end there. Thanks to the support I have received from Bernie I feel more confident in my leadership and better equipped to develop my colleagues. I have been entrusted with more leadership responsibilities within the school, allowing my learning and development from the programme to have an even wider impact. I am confident that I am now on the path to a senior leadership role.

For anyone who is thinking about being on the programme but is unsure about the benefits of coaching, my advice, put simply, would be to just go for it. Step out of your comfort zone and prepare to be challenged. I would encourage anyone to embrace this opportunity and see how it impacts you, your leadership and your pupils.


This article originally appeared on the website of the Ambition School Leadership. In March 2019 the Institute for Teaching merged with Ambition School Leadership to form Ambition Institute.

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