This is the second of two post sharing extracts from my ILM Unit Coaching and Mentoring Unit 500 submission. Section 1.3 requires candidates to present “the business rationale for either coaching or mentoring.” With Performance Management deadlines looming, I was hoping that this section response may stimulate conversation on alternatives to failing practice on performance management practice.
The business rationale for coaching or mentoring (eg for professional development, strategic goals, personal development, problem solving, improving individual or organisational performance, etc.)Assessment Criteria 1.3
The benefits to businesses and schools are very clear; increased staff and student retention and attainment (both student outcomes and leadership capacity). At an individual school leader or teacher level, coaching has been shown to promote teacher collective efficacy, which has been shown to positively affect student outcomes.
Schools are facing a critical shortage of qualified teachers at a time when pupils numbers are rising. Over the next decade, we are expecting a 19% increase in pupil numbers, at a time when teacher recruitment consistently falls short of it’s target and teacher retention rates are falling steeply between 2011 and 2017.
“The current situation represents a serious threat to educational standards, particularly in schools in areas of high disadvantage where it is often most difficult to recruit teachers,”(Tes, 2018)
Coaching and mentoring builds rapport, trust and confidence thus promoting retention as shown at both Wells Cathedral School and Wellington College. Furthermore, teachers in supportive environments improve more, it is this “sense of success” that can increase the likelihood they remain at their schools (Johnson and Birkeland, 2003, p 581). Second, coaching helps build leadership capacity in the school, helps resolve the complex issues, and has the potential to unlock the potential in others. Arguably, coaching is a cost effective approach to get more from the staff you have, as well as keeping them.
A good example is Ambition School Leadership (presently merging with Institute for Teaching) reporting that their Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders programmes participants, consistent scored Coaching as the highest-scoring element of their programmes. 97% of participants either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that coaching was building their confidence and capacity as leaders (Ambition School Leadership, 2017). Their success leading to recent DfE training awards.
To be clear, the benefits of coaching in education, are no different to that of any organisation, increased productivity, performance and retention, as well as bringing “fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness and increased confidence.” ICF reports.
At an individual school leader or teacher level, Chris Munro, (2016) adds that for teachers, the “best coaching conversations are empowering, respectful and professionalising – they increase teachers’ sense of self-efficacy and, over time, begin to positively influence the nature of conversations across the school” (Munro, 2016, ejournal, page numbers available). With these individual teacher benefits contributing cumulatively to the organisation. Simply, developing and empowering teachers, impacts on student outcomes.
‘Instructional coaching’ in particular is a sub-category of coaching that has emerged as a promising alternative to traditional models of professional development. Kraft et al’s (2018) meta analysis affirmed the potential of coaching as a development tool, reporting a positive impact on both teachers’ instructional practice and students’ academic achievement. Devine, et al (2013, p 1129) also reporting the benefits of coaching in ensuring that “teaching practices are realized with fidelity, ensuring systematic, high-quality implementation” and also in “sustained way.” Thus, improved student outcomes, a Key Performance Indicator for staff performance reviews, leads to pay enhancement, professional kudos and potential promotion candidacy.
Performance Related Pay has come under significant professional challenge in Education, with Professor Rachel Lofthouse making a strong case to suggest that coaching and mentoring is better suited to supporting school leaders with the “authentic challenges, professional interests and dilemmas experienced in complex educational settings,” what is more, she goes onto to suggest it may also act as a “counterweight to some of the consequences of performativity” and provide “a valuable means to deploy the expertise of experienced professionals to support an education system exposed to problems of retention of both teachers and school leaders.” Notwithstanding the introduction of the Early Careers Framework for Teachers, coaching and mentoring may also better support teachers at the outset of their careers.
DfE: School leadership in England 2010 to 2016: characteristics and trends (Revised July 2018). (2018). [online] Department for Education. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-leadership-2010-to-2016-characteristics-and-trends [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
Department for Education (2017). Teachers’ pay reform: evaluation – report. [online] Available at: Are teacher pay reforms having an impact on schools? [Accessed 29 Feb. 2019].
Devine, Mary & Meyers, Raymond & Houssemand, Claude. (2013). How can Coaching Make a Positive Impact Within Educational Settings?. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. 93. 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.10.048.
Tes. (2018). Drop in teachers ‘a threat to education’. [online] Available at: https://www.tes.com/news/drop-teachers-threat-education [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
Munro, C. (2016). Coaching in education: an introduction. e-leading Management Strategies for School Leaders, (27).
Institute, E. (2019). Analysis: Could phased bursaries solve the teacher retention crisis? – Education Policy Institute.
Education Policy Institute. Available at: https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/phased-bursaries-teacher-retention/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
Johnson, S., & Birkeland, S. (2003). Pursuing a “Sense of Success”: New Teachers Explain Their Career Decisions. American Educational Research Journal, 40, 581-617.
Kraft MA, Papay JP. Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience. Educational Effectiveness and Policy Analysis [Internet]. 2014;36 (4) :476-500.
Kraft MA, Blazar D, Hogan D. The Effect of Teacher Coaching on Instruction and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence. Review of Educational Research [Internet]. 2018;88 (4) :547-588.
Lofthouse, R. (2019). CollectivED: Making sense of coaching for professional development in education – Leeds Beckett University Blogs. [online] Leedsbeckett.ac.uk. Available at: https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/blogs/carnegie-education/2018/10/collectivedmaking-sense-of-coaching-for-professional-development-in-education/ [Accessed 29 Feb. 2019].
Lofthouse, R. and Leat, D. (2013). An activity theory perspective on peer coaching. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 2(1).
Lofthouse, R., Leat, D., and Towler, C., 2010. Improving teacher coaching in schools; a practical guide. CfBT Education Trust.
Norris, G. (2019). Visit to Wells Cathedral School.
The Independent. (2019). School governors call on government to increase funding in ‘unprecedented’ action. [online] Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/school-governors-funding-cuts-government-pupils-action-mps-parliament-lobby-a8798101.html [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].
Rachel Lofthouse (2018): Coaching in education: a professional development process in formation, Professional Development in Education, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2018.1529611
Maintained schools and academies inspections and outcomes as at 31 March 2017, page 6. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/622914/Maintained_schools _and_academies_inspections_and_outcomes_as_at_31_March_2017.pdf 6
Ambition School Leadership. (2017). Why does Ambition School Leadership offer coaching?. [online] Available at: https://www.ambitionschoolleadership.org.uk/blog/why-does-ambition-school-leadership-offer-coaching/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2019].