We’ve Forgotten How to Help, Part Two

Learning the basics so we can
choose our approach wisely

Though there is great intelligence in the Forms of Help Spectrum, it becomes even more interesting when combined with the Connection Hierarchy.

The Connection Hierarchy is based on the most up-to-date research. It ranges from Disconnected to Connected and contains four levels: pity, sympathy, empathy and compassion.

Starting at the bottom of the Connection Hierarchy, pity is the most disconnected form of connection. Think about how many of us feel when we pass a homeless person on the street. We might feel sorry for them and offer money. We might feel superior and look down on them. Or, we might just ignore them completely. When we feel pity, we judge others and create separation.

Sympathy moves us towards greater connection and is one step up from pity.  Imagine a teenager going through their first ever breakup. We might respond by saying something like, ‘Don’t worry, this is normal. Most firsts don’t last anyway – you will be fine!’ When we sympathise, we create a sense of separation and inequality. Sympathy involves feeling for the other.

One step up the hierarchy, we find empathy, a highly connected emotion. Empathy is the capacity to step into another person’s shoes and feel with them. In the case of the heart-broken teenager, we might respond by looking back at own experiences and recall them, leading us to say something like, ‘I understand how you feel. It’s really painful to break up with someone. I know that when I was your age, it took me a while to get over my first love.’

At the top of the Connection Hierarchy is compassion. Defined as ‘felt thought’, when we’re compassionate, we’re ‘being with’ another person. We are not judging, trying to fix, relying on our own personal experiences or imagining what we would do if we were them. We approach another with equality and a willingness to be with them with acceptance and presence, whether we have been in their situation or not. In the case of the heart-broken teenager, a compassionate response might look like simply sitting with them as they express their sadness or asking them how we could support them.

As a way of connecting, compassion has been seen to increase resilience whereas empathy has been shown to lead to burn out. People who empathise are inclined to take on and carry another person’s emotional challenges as their own. For this reason, we promote compassion as a useful way of connecting in the coaching context, and beyond.

Once you are clear about your chosen form of help, you can then choose the type of connection you want to have. For example, an Empathetic Consultant will be dramatically different from a Pitying Consultant, and a Compassionate Coach will be radically different from a Sympathetic one.

We invite you to consider which combinations you exhibit when speaking to a young person, attending meetings, at home with your family, or spending time with a friend.

When it comes to communication with others, it’s important to consciously choose how to help. Just because a tactic has worked previously, doesn’t mean it will always work.

We shared this in our last article on this topic, and we want to remind you of it again:

Being coach-like and taking a coaching approach requires that you choose in each moment how you intend to communicate. With this intentional approach, you are much more likely to successfully partner with your coachee through the reflection, learning and growth required for them to achieve their goals.


We’ve Forgotten How to Help, Part One

Learning the basics so we can
choose our approach wisely

When was the last time someone asked for your help? Last week? Yesterday? An hour ago? Asking for help is common, but what’s less common? Providing exceptional help to those who ask.

Of course, we want to help the student crying in the hallway, a friend through relationship difficulties, or our significant other with work issues. We want to help – full stop.

The challenge is not whether we help, but how.

Over the last seven years of partnering with educators, we’ve learned that choosing how best to help another does not always come easy. With too little time and so much to do, help can often look like a one-size-fits-all approach consisting of advising and telling.

And yet, it’s important to consider that the wrong kind of help can be as ineffective as none at all.

At Graydin, our dream is for people to actively choose how they help others (and themselves) in a mindful, positive and high-impact manner. We do this by first raising people’s awareness and then training them in The Forms of Help Spectrum.

The Forms of Help Spectrum is a foundational concept delivered during our first coaching course, The Anatomy. It challenges popular ideas of helping by looking at the concept along a spectrum from Non-Directive to Directive.


As you can see, the forms of help are Coach, Mentor, Teacher, Counsellor and Consultant.

The most directive form of help is the Consultant, who is generally hired to fix a problem. They often gather information and then advise those who have asked for their leadership.

Then there’s the Counsellor who provides less directive help backed by knowledge and expertise about human psychology. Their approach is generally to look closely at the past and, whilst they may be non-directive at times, the uneven balance of the expert/novice relationship lends itself to be more directive than other forms of help.

This takes us to the Teacher, which is a form of help difficult to depict because it highly depends on the individual. We place Teacher in the middle of the spectrum simply because at any given time, the teacher may play more than one role. They must use multiple forms of help in order to draw out the best results from their students, both inside and outside the classroom. That said, teachers in a classroom setting have desired learning objectives. They have a clear destination that they must work towards.

Whilst the Mentor role has a similar ‘it depends’ factor, there are some clear differences to the other forms of help. A Mentor has had personal or professional experiences that they are ready and willing to share with their mentee. They can use that experience to give advice, tell a story or share an insight. This is non-directive in nature because the Mentor generally has little personal stake in the mentee’s outcome. Their role is to share, motivate and inspire. The ultimate change in the mentee is beyond the scope of their responsibility.

The most non-directive and equal relationship belongs to the Coach and coachee – unless we have a strategic and directive sports coach. Most sports coaches function like the offspring of a Consultant and a Mentor. By contrast, the coaching we offer at Graydin is more human-centered and the process is question-based. The role of the Coach is to both draw the coachee out and lead them inwards for the purpose of spurring action. Help from a Coach takes the form of a partnership and, therefore, no subject expertise is involved, though coaching skill does require development.

A skilled Coach is a catalyst for reflection, learning and growth. Their role is to help a coachee develop self-awareness, curiosity, connection to their purpose, a path toward fulfillment, effectiveness in navigating that path, and accountability to themselves and others. Coaches create opportunities for others to learn the concepts and skills that improve communication, confidence and success in reaching goals. These outcomes are achieved through non-directive conversations and guided practice.

As you can see, we have much more choice in helping others than we may realise. Yet, there’s more to consider when learning how to choose our approach wisely. We cover this in Part Two when we introduce The Connection Hierarchy. 


being coach-like and taking a coaching approach requires that you choose in each moment how you intend to communicate. With this intentional approach, you are much more likely to successfully partner with your coachee through the reflection, learning and growth required for them to achieve their goals.

Overcoming the Small Stuff

Every school, organisation and individual experiences challenges when they learn and embed coaching. One of the biggest challenges we recently identified is focusing on the small stuff.

Ever read the series of books Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff? If so, you’ll know how powerful its message is. And if not, we highly recommend reading it!

What we notice about people who learn coaching or who bring it into their organisation is that they can get bogged down by the little things. During our courses, we often hear statements like, ‘this feels unnatural’ or ‘it’s hard to stop giving advice’ or ‘I forget to focus on the person and instead get lost in the problem’.

If you worry about the little stuff, you ultimately miss the big picture. Or, as the inspirational and influential late Stephen Hawking once said,  ‘Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.’

We get it — we understand all those concerns — but that’s the little stuff. It’s easy to get lost in the details and minutia, so we want to offer a few pointers for how to refocus yourself and start seeing the bigger picture.

Practice: There’s simply no replacement for actually coaching and helping people make decisions. So do it — a lot. Get into pairs or trios and coach. No excuses!

Get feedback and mark progress: It’s likely going better than you think, so find a way to evaluate the progress. Ask for feedback, find markers of success and share them with the right people.

Focus on what and who you can change: Find the low hanging fruit and the easy wins. Forget people who don’t get it or potential obstacles and start to look for opportunities. Shift your lens and see what you need to see, not what you are currently seeing.

Be a role model: It’s easy to forget the impact you can make by just being a coach and role modelling positive behaviours. Reconnect with yourself and what you love about coaching. Then, go out there and be the best coach you can. Spread the power of coaching to everyone and anyone you connect with.

So when you find yourself sweating the small stuff, remember to look at the stars. Remember your job is not just a job. You are an influence. You have more power to affect change in yourself and others than you give yourself credit for. How do we know this? Because you have been trained to coach.

Perhaps coaching isn’t exactly fairy dust or magic potion, but the short term connection and lasting impact it makes can be life changing for many people… very, very many.

So, stop reading this right now and go do the work — keep coaching.

A Tribute to Our Friend, Sir John Whitmore


Sir John Whitmore was born on October 16, 1937 and passed just a few weeks ago on April 28, 2017 at the age of 79. He is the one of the founders of the coaching industry and the GROW model and is also known for his racecar driving.

Sir John Whitmore was our friend, our very dear friend. We smile at the irony of him starting this talk by saying, ‘I am not here to make friends this morning.’

He was everyone’s friend.

For those of you who may be hearing his name for the first time, take a moment to look him up. This man played a major role in founding an industry that is still in its infancy but has the capacity to transform the world. He was a pioneer in coaching, co-created the famous GROW model and advanced the idea that the answers are truly within us. Time and again, he reminded those who would listen that the role of the coach is to ask, not tell, and that when we increase awareness, we are able to generate responsibility.

His was a pioneer.

John spent most of his career focused on developing human potential. He believed in empowering young people with choice and allowing them to learn from the experiences those choices generated. He supported experiential learning – what he liked to call ‘natural learning’. In education, the problem he saw most was our systematic focus on teaching knowledge instead of wisdom. We fail young people in taking away their sense of responsibility, and thus the biggest gift to children is encouraging self-responsibility at an early age. For John, that gift can single-handedly change the world.

He championed choice and responsibility.

If you knew John well, you probably heard many, many stories. One in particular is the story of a little boy who loved his orange shorts so much he begged his mum everyday to wear them to school. Over and over, he pleaded with her, and over and over she said, ‘You will be too cold, put on your jeans’. That is, until the day she let him do as he pleased. He proudly wore his orange shorts and sure enough, he wound up freezing in the schoolyard and never asked to wear his beloved shorts again.

He was a storyteller.

Whether on a TEDx stage or making awesome digital copies of VHS golf videos, John was a rock star. People followed him. People learned from him. Perhaps, a generation will be changed because of him. So, as we move forward and treasure memories of Sir John Whitmore, we will remember that his role in this world was to provoke thinking and push the boundaries. And that, he did – and will continue to do in our hearts. He will remain a beacon of hope and of what is possible for as long as we live.

He will always be remembered.

Thank you, John, for teaching us how to consciously connect and befriend. Thank you for telling inspiring stories, pioneering a beautiful industry and living a life of service. You will be remembered in our hearts, minds and work for the rest of time.

Why join the #WomenEd debate?

In this blog, WomenEd co-founder Hannah Wilson, a Vice Principal in a South London Academy and an aspiring Headteacher, tells us why she connected with other female leaders via social media to launch a grassroots movement to promote equality, diversity and inclusive school leaders.

The Context

I have been a teacher for 13 years and I have had responsibility and been a TLR holder since my second year of teaching. My leadership journey started at my third school in my fifth year when I became a Middle Leader. It was at this point that I stepped back and looked up the hierarchy - all I could see above me on the ladder were white men. 

This frustrated me as the preferred leadership template did not reflect the staff body, nor the student body. I challenged the status quo and quickly became the only female Senior Middle Leader within a term of joining the academy. Two years later, I affected change by breaking through the glass ceiling and joining the Senior Leadership Team as the second female leader, and as one of the youngest team members. 

The support I received when my promotion was announced, from male and female colleagues, was overwhelming; there was a sense of the tide changing and different leadership styles being recognised. A few years later I was approached to become the Vice Principal on an all-male SLT at our sister academy.

This academic year, the issues behind WomenEd have been embodied for me in my journey to Headship. Applying for both sideways Deputy Headteacher roles to relocate, and opportunities to step up to lead my own school, I was shortlisted for my first Headship interview. 

Of 20+ candidates, only 3 were female. I found myself at interview as the only female candidate, the youngest by far, competing against 5 white men. We were assessed by white, middle aged men. I very much felt like the token female. Even my host at the hotel told me that my face did not fit and that I did not have a chance!

This is not just a personal story. The systemic barriers inhibiting leadership opportunities for female are complex. Preferred leadership characteristics, career parents juggling childcare and career development, career gaps, unconscious bias and lack of part-time leadership opportunities are some of the issues cited by our community.

The Statistics

Women in secondary headships nationally:

  • 2012 61.0% of teachers, 37.0% of heads

  • 2013 63.6% of teachers, 36.4% of heads

  • 2014 63.9% of teachers, 37.1% of heads

Women in primary headships nationally:

  • 2012 86.0% of teachers, 70.7% of heads

  • 2013 87.4% of teachers, 71.8% of heads

  • 2014 87.0% of teachers, 72.3% of heads

Building a Movement: the Development of WomenEd

April 2015 saw a flurry of heated debate on Twitter, over some of the published articles exploring why there is such a discrepancy in the education sector between the number of female teachers and the number of female leaders. I volunteered to host a #SLTchat in July 2015 to unpick some of the barriers and identify some of the solutions to closing the gap in leadership opportunities for women.

The Twitter debate spilled into blogging forums and StaffRm came to light with a lot of new edu-bloggers and emerging, predominantly female, voices. If you search #WomenEd on StaffRm there are in excess of 150 posts on different gender issues from work-life balance, to leadership styles to the imposter syndrome. 

Helena Marsh, one of the other co-founders, hosted a #digimeet #slowchat to continue the discussions - the comments and dialogue threads are as enriching as the posts themselves.

Out of all this, emerged seven female leaders who connected with the aim of collaboratively leading the movement and develop WomenEd - thus the WomenEd Steering Group was born. 

We coordinated and collated the offers of help to create a grassroots movement and a launch event. The tweets and blogs caught the attention of the Microsoft Education team who came on board to support us. They offered technological support and to host our launch event at their London headquarters.

The Unconference, London

3 October 2015 celebrated the culmination of 6 months of virtual discussions. 220 aspiring and existing female leaders (among them several Teach First alumni) came together to collaborate and share their experiences face-to-face. 60 delegates volunteered to facilitate professional learning dialogues, lead sessions and deliver key notes. Our themes for this event included: Confident Leaders, Diverse Leaders, Wider Leadership and Juggling Leadership and Life.

The Virtual Community

To sustain the impact of the Unconference and to grow the #WomenEd community Microsoft have commissioned an independent Yammer network for us to use as a platform for networking. The inclusive leadership community is rapidly expanding - join us for one of our monthly #YamJams. It is a brilliant platform for networking with other aspiring and exisiting leaders, nationwide and beyond as we gain international attention.

Moving the Movement Forward – Mission and Principles

WomenEd is very much a collaborative network so our values have evolved as the community has connected. We have concretised our mission: to empower more women in education to take their next leadership step. We have also identified our principles as The 7 C’s: to clarify the issues; to communicate the solutions; to connect existing and aspiring leaders; to create an inclusive and interactive community; to collaborate and share experiences; to challenge the systemic barriers; to affect change by collating evidence of the impact of developing inclusive/ diverse leadership models.

Throughout the spring term our volunteer Regional Leaders will be connecting and collaborating at their Orientation Days where they will identify regional priorities and plan regional activities. The 12 regions each have their own group within the WomenEd community to share ideas, resources and opportunities.

The Residential, Wiltshire

Our ‘Next Step’ is our residential career development event in February. Hosted by Wellington Academy, this event is happening in the peak of application season. We want to support you in preparing to take the next step on the leadership ladder. 

Our themes for this event are applying, preparing, conducting and reflecting on taking your next steps in your career progression. There will also be Women in Leadership key notes. By the end of the residential you will be ready to apply for your next role - you will have an updated CV, a LinkedIn Profile, improved letter/ application writing skills. 

You will have had listened to the assessors, practised assessment tasks and role-played the interview questions. You will have listened to our inspirational key note speakers and participated in our hands-on practical sessions. You will also have networked, listened and shared experiences with the #womened community who you will connect and collaborate with.

Following this we have an event in Bristol in April, together with presentations at NetworkEd, Northern Rocks and Ed Fest, leading up to our Unconference on 8 October 2016.

Hannah blogs on StaffRm as MissWilsey and tweets as @Miss_Wilsey

You can find out more about WomenEd by visiting the website.

You can join the Yammer community.

You can find out more about the Residential.

What we learnt from our ‘connected economy’ in 2015

At Graydin, we value a ‘connected economy’. And by this we mean the connection created between humansthat was difficult or impossible before the web. 

This is a concept created by our wonderful friend Seth Godin and one that is incredibly relevant today.

And as we launch into 2016, we took a moment to reflect on the important messages and themes we saw through our connected economy, primarily from our engaged and enthusiastic Twitter audience.

So what did we see?

1. Teachers are more connected and collaborative

Before recent times, it has been challenging for teachers to step out of their classroom siloes. The design of a school naturally requests teachers to operate independently of one another within their own classrooms. This is increasingly no longer the case.

We have seen an inspiring surge of teachers tweeting, writing blogs, attending networking events and much more. There has been a significant shift towards sharing best practice and utilising technology to ensure experiences and wisdom are shared globally.

Teachers are increasingly coming together to discuss issues they feel are important. A prime example is the emergence of WomenEd, a grassroots movement connecting inspiring female leaders in education. Their first “Unconference” was attended by more than 250 women; eager to learn, debate and share both their challenges and successes.

You can read more about their work from an insightful blog written by Hannah Wilson, a member of their steering group.

We believe connection and collaboration is key to making progress and creating change. Long may this trend continue.

2. Happiness and wellbeing are at the forefront

We saw a large number of posts and articles contemplating what contributes to our happiness and wellbeing, and ways to ‘hack’ these attributes.

For example, Mindfulness has created a significant buzz in education. Schools are reporting its positive impact, particularly for students with behavioural challenges. For the past 12 years, Goldie Hawn has worked with a team of educators, neuroscientists and psychologists to develop and deliver Mind Up. This programme, designed to help children learn to focus and control themselves, teaches children neuroscience (in a kid-friendly way) and incorporates meditation into their daily lives.

3. Technology has a pivotal role in the classroom

The debate about the benefits of iPads and other new technology continues. The most useful insight is that technology (on it’s own) is simply not enough. It is critical that educators have a clear outcome in mind before choosing which technology to best ultilise.

We loved reading this insightful article about useful apps approved by teachers themselves.

4. Coaching in education is taking off

We are very excited to report that coaching is now becoming a movement in education. Still in its infancy, we know it will only continue to grow. School leaders are recognising the power of coaching and the widespread benefits of teaching staff and senior leaders taking a coach-approach. Research is now underway to support the effects of coaching in education and the heart-warming case studies we have collected from the schools we work with exemplify this.

Graydin’s Progress Report for 2015 shares these case studies, which makes for a moving and inspiring read.

5. Being inspired is key

Without passion, motivation and purpose, we all know it’s challenging to focus and thrive.

We see countless educators injecting inspiration into their daily lives, whether it be by watching TED-Ed videos, hanging up Growth Mindset posters, or having conversations about what is most important. Inspiration surrounds us; how wonderful that is!

At Graydin, we live by our ethos of ‘Start With Heart’. This is to first engage with our values and passions (Heart), and then consider our options and next steps.  This supports us, and all those who Start With Heart, to be most effective and fulfilled. Our unique Start With Heart coaching model, designed specifically for education (and supported by neuroscience) encourages just that.

With all this in mind, our question for both ourselves and for you is the following…

“What are the key themes we envision for 2016? And more importantly, “What part do we want to play in their creation?”

Top 10 questions to ask when helping a student faced with disappointing exam results

This month, thousands of students across the country will take their next significant step in education when they receive their exam results.  For many, this will be a time of triumph, jubilation and congratulations. However, those who have not been as successful as their peers will turn to people around them for support, reassurance and help with moving forward.

As teachers, parents and friends, such a situation provides the opportunity to encourage resiliency and the adoption of a growth mind-set in the young person.  By taking on the role of a coach and using the skill of effective questioning, you will encourage the student to reflect for themselves about how they feel, what the results mean, and what they want to do next.

Here are 10 questions which will be most useful to ask when a student is faced with disappointing exam results.

1. What is most important to you right now?

It’s critical when coaching to ‘Start with Heart’. This question focuses attention away from the exam results (where the problem resides) and towards the young person (where the solution resides).

2. How do you feel right now?

Instead of telling the young person how to feel about their exam results, asking them how they feel, will help them focus their attention on and not run away from, their feelings. The less likely they are to ‘bottle up’ their emotions, the more likely they are to move past them and learn from the experience.

3. What are your thoughts telling you?

Similarly, asking what their thoughts are is key.  If they say they think they are “stupid”, or they think their future is “ruined”, resist the urge to tell them that they are overreacting or wrong. Instead, you might want to ask them another question like the one below…

4. If your friend received these results, what would you say to him or her?

Helping the young person to step outside of themselves for a moment and think about how they would treat another in a similar situation, will help to give them perspective on the situation.

5. What do you want to appreciate about yourself?

This is another brilliant question to help a student shift their lens (i.e. perspective) and look at the situation from a more positive viewpoint. Instead of being dragged down the rabbit hole of “I am not good enough!”, this question focuses the student’s attention on what is good about him or her.  It’s imperative to help the student shift their lens if they are to come up with solutions for their future on their own.

6. What lessons have you learned from this experience and how will you use these going forward?

A growth-mindset is one that is willing to learn from challenges and develop as a result from them.  This is a unique, albeit disappointing time, and an opportunity for the young person to learn how to deal with expectation, setbacks, pressure and stress.

7. So, what do you ultimately want?

This question, when placed anywhere in the conversation, focuses the student’s attention on what is truly important – i.e. what the student really wants. It is not intended that the student answers this question with “I want better results!” This question intends to place the students’ attention on their future and the life they want to live.

8. Imagine yourself in a year from now. What decisions would you make now, know­ing what you will know a year from now?

This is a favourite question of students.  Try this one out and see what happens!

9. What steps will you take in order to achieve what you want?

Focusing on practicalities of “next steps” are imperative, and not to be rushed. The more clam, clear-minded, and engaged in a growth mindset the young person is at this stage of the discussion, the more their ability to answer this question from a lens of possibility and not from a lens of fear is possible.

10. What will you do, by when and how will I or someone else close to you know?

The ability for a young person to commit to and follow through with action is imperative to their success in life. Encourage the student to be specific and choose someone they will be held accountable to.

A Letter to Parents from a Headteacher about Coaching

Dear Parents,

Last Friday I was at Hethrop College just behind what was Barkers on High Street Kensington attending a workshop on coaching (and feeling a little nostalgic as I used to live and work around there).

I have written before about coaching after attending Wellington College’s seminar last term. Following this, Mr Iain Henderson (one of their Assistant Heads and i/c Coaching) came out to Barrow Hills to discuss further with me what they have done and are doing to bring this skill to Wellington, the whole process and benefits. Wellington is helped by a professional team, Graydin, and it was a training day by Graydin that took me to London.

I know that in some areas of business, coaching is an accepted tool and common practice. In teaching it is not. Teachers often wear many hats – teacher, consultant, counsellor, mentor – and coaching offers another skill that I believe will be increasingly relevant to the profession.

As we know, education is changing and in the dynamic of Teaching and Learning, increasingly the emphasis will shift more towards learning. Already in my physics classes, children’s research and study will often bring in very interesting content they have discovered reading round and researching topics. This brings the need as a teacher to at times become the model learner - to be prepared to think, question and explore. I will happily admit I love these times (this week one boy had found some amazing video on You Tube about experiments with tuning forks (!?! – perhaps only ‘amazing’ if you enjoy physics…) and it very much added to our discussions and understanding of sound waves and energy which led to us watching the footage of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge failing under resonance. Not just because perhaps a prerequisite of any science teacher is the ability at any time on any point to digress but also because the learning is sparking off enough for them to, in their own time, find out more and from that bring it back and share. 

Socrates, ‘I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only make them think.’

Sir John Whitmore, ‘Coaches hold back their knowledge for the sake of others’

This is our challenge both as teachers and as parents to be both inspired by the realistic challenge of Socrates and become more like the coach described by Sir John. How often we just do/fix or solve something, or just give the answer rather than help the child discover they had the answer within themselves?

What did I learn last Friday? Quite a lot actually. Much was ‘common sense’ and practice I already followed…but not all. For those not familiar with coaching, here’s a starter – when someone wants your help, try to only ask ‘what’ questions. You are not allowed to ask ‘why’ and never allowed to tell them what you would do.

As ever, I appreciate any thoughts, comments or feedback to the Friday letter, and any on coaching would be interesting and helpful. 

Here’s to a good weekend,
Matthew Unsworth

2nd Annual Coaching in Education Conference

Last Thursday December 4th, we had the pleasure of co-hosting our 2nd Annual Coaching in Education Conference at Wellington College in Berkshire. Those working or involved in education were invited to attend to explore how coaching unlocks potential and transforms learning. “The coaching conference last week was brilliant. The Graydin team have been inspirational, and have transformed Wellington with coaching” expressed The Master of Wellington College, Dr. Anthony Seldon.

An inspiring keynote was given by Simon P Walker of Footprints Programme for Schools on the topic of metacognition and coaching. Additionally, talks from Russell Buckley a UK Government Advisor and Angela Tomlinson of Latymer Upper School discussed education’s future with technology, and culture change within schools.

All of the attendees enjoyed opportunities for brainstorming and networking, and received insights from our panel of coaching schools.  

Véronique Kelk, Head of French, Shrewsbury House School said: “The conference really motivated me and answered a lot of questions as well. I am totally convinced of the use of coaching in schools.”

Ed Venables, Housemaster of The Stanley, Wellington College, added, “The conference was superb! There was such a constructive and passionate atmosphere in the room.”

Nathan Boller, Deputy Head of Community and Welfare from Thomas’s Clapham, also added, "In such a busy world, the importance of coaching was confirmed in my thoughts. Having a genuine and meaningful process to follow when supporting someone makes such sense. Their is no gimmick, you can feel the passion and belief from those presenting and sharing their knowledge.”

Christine Brett, a Retired Acting Principal Educational Psychologist from Nottinghamshire, expressed, “It was a joy to be part of the collective enthusiasm to use the coaching process to support both the professional development of staff and the personal development of children and young people.” 

Catch a couple of snapshots of the event on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to hear about other upcoming events.

The Definition of Coaching

There are hundreds of definitions of coaching. We choose to define coaching as:

  • set of tools and skills
  • a form of communication and;
  • a way of being. 

For a new coach, coaching is simply a bunch of tools and skills that can be easily implemented. We often hear from teachers that coaching adds a few new tools to their ‘teaching toolkit’. 

As coaching is frequently used, it becomes a form of communication, an approach and a way of being. It becomes more about who you are, than something you 'do’.