In a school of excellent teachers, the best resource we have is each other. A coaching initiative is well underway, with the aim of taking an innovative and whole-school approach to growing the social and professional capital of our teachers in order for them to lead the pursuit of excellence in the context of a mutually supportive and collaborative community of learners (teachers, students and parents).
By embracing and strategically incorporating coaching into the fabric of our language of interaction and reflection opportunities, we are moving beyond superficial performance management structures and tokenistic professional development. By placing the spotlight on our individual and collective responsibility towards each other as learners and team members, and providing the means to actuate this through professional growth and accountability structures grounded in trust, reflection, self-directed goals and collaboration, relationships have been transformed and professional growth and team accountability have been accelerated.
By investing heavily in coaching training for our teachers - and increasingly so for parents and students - and building a coaching philosophy across our school, we are now shifting our cultural outlook, enhancing collegiality and resilience. This has led to further innovation in the classroom and pastorally, particularly in the areas of assessment, feedback and restorative conversations, and greater cohesion in our school community.
This commitment to coaching affirmed to teachers our care for the ‘whole’ person when it comes to teacher growth and belonging. In an international school context, strengthening relational wellbeing and community sets the tone for the cultural climate. In effect, coaching is providing us with a language for how we are with each other.
Teachers have begun to use coaching with students and our staff survey overwhelmingly demonstrated the cultural impact of this strategic shift - with all categories relating to staff wellbeing, professional growth and community belonging seeing dramatic upturns. The sustainability of the initiative has been built into the ongoing training and support provided for trainee and trained coaches.
Having introduced parents and students to coaching through basic workshops, our next step is to design tailor-made coaching courses to extend and enrich this community-wide endeavour.