Mary-Jo Hill

18 Jul 2017
How can you take it from a straightforward transactional target setting meeting to something more profound?

Whose agenda is coaching in schools? What happens when your coach isn’t actually sure what their goal is or indeed what the purpose of this coaching lark is all about?

Watching Desmond McCarthy on Normal for Norfolk last evening on BBC2, there was a wonderfully profound moment when Desmond mused openly:

“Yes! …(pregnant pause to camera)..what is the end goal?”

Without delving too deep into an existential crisis, it is in fact, the one question that brings about the most fear in teachers or leaders who have been presented with the task of coaching some of their peers.

Whose agenda is coaching in schools?

What happens when your coach isn’t actually sure what their goal is or indeed what the purpose of this coaching lark is all about? What happens with those 3rd party agendas. How can you take it from a straightforward transactional target setting meeting, veiled as coaching in schools, to something more profound; worth the time and money, and more importantly deeper lasting?

In our data-driven, social media-saturated world, we have trouble identifying and paying attention to what really matters. We become busy doers, as Lara (year 4 teacher)  informed me in February “it’s very easy to go through the week, the term, the year, just ploughing through in a robotic fashion without discussing any aspects of what you want to achieve”. So we become stuck on autopilot, somewhere between where we should be and where we actually are. Feeling immobile from fear of habit, failure, conflict or a desire to please others.

So, how to find and articulate the things that are inside or outside of us that focuses our attention: that excites and motivates us? What is our figure of interest? Allowing the coachee free rein to then, in turn, identify the goal, the purpose and for the coachee’s agenda to lead the professional dialogue.