When Carlisle City Council built a new internal culture, other public sector organisations became interested, too. With the help of Barefoot Coaching, the Cumbria Coach Academy was born. Darren Crossley reports Senior managers at Carlisle City Council have been working with a dedicated team of staff from across all our services to consult with all employees and determine the best way forward for establishing and embedding a new set of principles for the Council. The outcome of this work has been a focus on three new Cs: Clarity – of purpose and of what customers want Commitment – to delivering […]

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In the final part of our special report into coaching in education, we look at the evidence for coaching in education and suggest next steps. Margaret Barr reports Fourteen-year-old Mary (not her real name)had a chaotic home life and found it difficult to converse or make eye contact.  Today, at our school fair, she was selling strawberry plants she had grown in the school garden. A visitor was asking about care instructions for the plants. I held my breath. With a big smile, Mary advised confidently: “Just stick them in the ground and water them!” Phew. We had turned a […]

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In part one of our special report into coaching in education, Christian van Nieuwerburgh, John Campbell and Jim Knight present a revised framework for coaching in schools, embracing best practice from around the world

The past decade has seen a welcome growth in interest in the use of coaching in educational settings in the UK, US and Australia. Schools have been experimenting with various coaching interventions and approaches and there are indications that these can have a positive effect on student and teacher wellbeing, the emotional intelligence of students, effective teaching practice and examination performance.

Towards a global framework

As a way of capitalising on current interest and in order to build on existing good practice, we are proposing the concept of ‘coaching portals’ to provide a global framework for educators interested in adopting coaching approaches, interventions and cultures. In our work (primarily in the UK, US and Australia), we have found that the introduction of this concept is a helpful means of explaining the different ways in which coaching can support schools to create the best possible learning environments for their students.

School leaders have reported that this framework has allowed them to see how coaching can have an impact in a range of conversational contexts.

Ultimately, we believe that a strategic approach to the use of coaching and positive psychology in schools can contribute to better learning outcomes for students as well as enhanced wellbeing for students and school staff.

In the following, we bring together our thinking and experiences about the various ways in which coaching is having a positive impact in educational settings.

What we propose here is a practitioners’ framework for coaching in education. It is meant to support educators, school leaders and researchers and is a ‘work in progress’.

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When I’m outdoors, I’m at my best – and clients benefit as a result. From a young age, I have spent as much time as possible outdoors (walking, cycling, riding), enjoying how alive and happy it makes me feel. Clients pick up on this.

There is a growing body of research (see further information) highlighting the benefits of nature on our wellbeing, confirming what we have always known. One growing area of research is ecopsychology. Professor Stephen Palmer, at the Institute of Work Based Learning, Middlesex University says:

“Ecopsychology research can directly inform evidence-based coaching practice, especially if the coaching goals include improving physical and psychological wellbeing, as this gives permission to the coach to provide relevant information. For example, just a five-minute walk with nature can enhance self-esteem. Therefore having your lunch sitting on a park bench is preferable to eating your sandwich in the office in front of a computer screen looking at an Excel sheet!”

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Academic, active researcher, chartered occupational psychologist, coach and coaching supervisor, Tatiana Bachkirova has a packed professional life. Yet, 20 years ago she arrived in the UK, a shy teacher with very little English. She tells Liz Hall how she finally found her voice

Tatiana Bachkirova is one of the foremost academics and researchers in the coaching profession, unafraid to speak up for what she believes and to challenge where she feels challenge is due. But she hasn’t always been so outspoken.

Before she had cancer, for which she was given the all clear last autumn, her shyness had held her back:

“I am officially a cancer survivor. It was a milestone. Strangely enough, before it I was shy and nervous and hesitant about speaking out and speaking up and being out there, but after that, I lost the fears and thought it’s OK to say what is important for me. The nature of coaching is that you take the hard things and make them into something that could be helpful.”

Bachkirova, Reader in Coaching Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, in the UK, teaching and supervising on its MA and Doctoral programmes in Coaching and Mentoring, believes that the willingness to critique is inherent in the role of the academic.

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Staff at an ambitious new ad agency are looking forward to exciting times ahead, but they face challenges too. Youth and talent are on their side, but they lack experience in sales and development – essential for future success. Can coaching help? A new, medium-sized advertising agency has big ambitions, wanting to grow into a well-known, successful brand, with a reputation for providing high-quality, creative and insightful campaigns. The company has 40 staff, several of whom have worked together before. But the managers are young and have limited experience of managing others. Only a few of the employees regard sales […]

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Maren Donata Urschel While we are busy teaching our children how to grow, they are quietly reminding us how to live and work When I was pregnant with our first child, Aaron, I took a year’s break from my CPD. I assumed I would not get round to it. Little did I know that I had signed up for a series of master classes held by my son. They would have a deep impact on my work. Here are a few insights from the past 18 months: Failure and repetition are integral to learning When Aaron wanted to feed himself […]

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A series of columns on our role in tackling the complicated economic, environmental and social challenges we face. It is a place to question, offer, share, explore, challenge, dissent, celebrate, reflect, learn and enjoy Terry Pratchett recently passed on. As a writer, his works contain some wonderful quotes. Here’s a little dialogue: “And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.” “It’s a lot more complicated than that—” “No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the […]

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Liz Dimmock Liz Dimmock, founder of Women Ahead, shares lessons for mentoring and coaching from the sports world. This year she is leading a team of women cyclists around the globe Sir Martin Sorrell was recently profiled in the Financial Times as one of the world’s “most connected CEOs”. It’s telling that the verb they used to describe the advertising titan referred explicitly to the scale, reach and quality of his network. And a 2014 report from Women of Influence sponsored by Thomson Reuters highlighted a deficiency in ‘strategic networking’ as a specific challenge facing women as they advanced in […]

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Lindsay Wittenberg Coaching, counselling or therapy? Supervision can yield new and valuable learning about where the coaching contract goes next From time to time I find myself working near the boundary between coaching and counselling or therapy. The reasons are various: sometimes the client brings patterns, attitudes, beliefs or history, which mean that something is in the way of the coaching succeeding, sometimes they just don’t seem to be emotionally or psychologically fit enough for coaching and sometimes the story they have created is a kind of drama that might look like extreme anxiety, extreme defences or pathology. The reflection […]

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