When you need a friend

I like to think of working with you as slow coaching.

That is an engagement where you and I work together over time to develop a courageous approach to your work. Where you start from a world view in which everything is possible and then work back to reality. So often we get caught up in self imposed limitations. Boundaries which experience has taught us to regard as impenetrable. What if you imagined going through them? Or imagined they weren’t there at all? What might be possible? It takes courage to cross those lines but sometimes that’s just what you need to do.

It takes time to come to that position of strength so I always propose to meet twice a month* for at least a year with 24/7 phone access. We will work together to look for those moments when you decide you are ready to discover and challenge the next boundary.

Of course each engagement is tailored to your situation and requirements.

*Once face to face and once remotely.

Telling the truth

One of the most complex and difficult situations any of us ever face is “the team meeting.

Working as a team is vital to the success of our endeavour. But it is also wickedly difficult.

When we come together as a team we bring a whole range of personalities and backgrounds. It would be foolish to believe we come together to achieve exactly the same goals. We each see the situation we are in from a different perspective. How do we get our point of view across without appearing to be disruptive? Is it just better to let the rest of the team decide because I feel I’m the only one who doesn’t agree?

The problem is that’s how everyone on the team thinks. We each feel the team is going in a particular direction and it would be better to keep our thoughts to ourselves. And so, so many times a team makes a decision to which, truth be told, no-one agrees.

It is so incredibly hard to have meetings in which everyone has the opportunity to openly express what they really think without fear of being seen as an outlier. But that is exactly what we must do. We work as a team because we can’t achieve our objectives alone. We need each other.

I offer to use my extensive experience working in and with teams to facilitate developing a safe environment where each member feels free to speak their thoughts. Where each idea or thought is respected. Where team members allow for ideas to form and develop. And where the team is OK with disagreement – even when strongly respected.

An everyday issue for educators

Educators, however, face these messy problems every day. Not only is there not one universally agreed way to set up the best learning environment for a particular topic, but every student comes with a unique history and prior knowledge. What about the student whose parents are going through an acrimonious separation? Do I as a teacher, even know about. How about the student who arrives at school having had no breakfast and inadequate sleep? The student suffering trauma from physical, sexual or psychological abuse?

Another level of complexity for school leaders

The problem for school leaders is compounded by another layer of complexity.

Not only are leaders vitally aware of the enormous variety of student issues the school is expected to address but they have to deal with a group of teachers with needs and experiences just as varied.

  • There are teachers who have been teaching the same subject the same way for the last 30 years and, if they were honest with themselves, they would admit they were bored and lacked the motivation to adapt to new knowledge and experience around pedagogy.
  • There is the group which has formed itself as the “permanent opposition.” It doesn’t matter what leadership decides, they are agin it.
  • Then there are those who just “fell into” teaching and everyone wishes they had fallen into something else.

Add to that government and social pressure to provide a panacea for all the social and economic ills of the country and it’s no wonder being a school leader is one of the most stressful occupations. (I haven’t even mentioned aggressive parents).

Courageous School Leadership

That’s why I developed Courageous School Leadership. You, as a leader, simply can’t do all this on your own. I can’t do it all for you either. But I can help you maintain your compass bearing in the face of all these issues.

I that interests you, please browse the rest of this site to see some of the detail of what I do. And, more importantly, what you are really capable of. And together we can hold a vision of developing the best schools in the world.