Coaching is a structured professional dialogue. Never has it been more important to reaffirm why coaching in education is important.
I have many years of experience working as an educational coach. However, the value of coaching and what it can bring is sometimes harder to convey if you have never had coaching before, I need to reassure the professional I am working with to trust a process we are about to begin.
Coaching is an important improvement tool for raising the quality of teaching and learning and has been a process tool in the educational scenario for many years now. The main goal of it is to provide education professionals (governors, headteachers, teachers and other school professionals) with tools that will help them to increase their own self-awareness, reflect on their work critically, identifying problems and challenges, which consequently, enables them to improve their own performance. And it is the ownership of that which is the important part.
But, why is coaching important in education after all?
More than creating awareness and incentivising professionals to reflect on their practices, independent, external coaching has a much more significant impact on education. Since it is rooted in the present and future, coaching allows school staff to envision the best professional version of themselves. And no, it is not wishful thinking, a miracle or magic dust. The structured environment provided by coaching – where professionals can talk openly and confidentially about their challenges and count on someone to discuss frustrations, possible solutions and more – allows valuable dialogues to take place. And those are at the centre of quality coaching. The reason why coaching is so vital is because we have reached new heights of personalisation within education. Everybody’s situation, learning and circumstances are unique and personalised. Coaching provides a necessary structure to maintain and sustain this personalisation.
So, why is coaching important in education more relevant than ever, you ask me? Because it values the school professional by believing in their capability of improving. The competences, skills and knowledge are all there, coaching only reassures them of that, or can create useful and personal insight, providing tools that gives them confidence to be and do better. Our current educational system often encourages us as professionals to conceal difficulties. And that is why the external and independent coach plays such an important part in this. So critical for depth: not superficial goal-oriented target setting.