Apprenticeships: Coaching Skills for Senior School Leaders

Every school needs a strong, highly skilled team of senior leaders supporting the head teacher to inspire, lead and sustain improvement across the school.

But, every senior leader working in the current educational landscape is subject to considerable scrutiny and pressure to raise standards and ensure a quality learning experience for all students.

For those that line manage others, it is essential that they have the skills that will have a strong, positive impact on levels of motivation within the staff and improve teaching and learning standards for all. Many of the skills required for this type of impact stem from coaching.
Coaching is a broad term used to describe the process of bringing out the best in others using a two way dialogue where the intention is to involve the coachee in finding solutions through a process of effective questioning and listening. In this way coaching is a key skill for middle and senior school leaders that supports a number of their daily challenges. Whether it is giving difficult feedback, conducting performance management reviews or developing others for leadership roles, there are a wide spectrum of skills that coaching develops over time to assist growth on both a personal and professional basis.

Chris McGeehan, Education Tutor from City Skills, explains why the highly practical Advanced Skills Educational Coach Apprenticeship (ASEC) Level 4 , which specialises in teaching senior school leaders the strategies and techniques for coaching, mentoring and assessing can help develop the key skills and approaches that will raise engagement and performance levels, in order to create a positive impact on student learning and outcomes.

“The purpose of coaching in education settings -and not just for staff but as a teaching method -goes right to the core ethos of pedagogy; what does outstanding practice or outstanding teaching and learning look like?

We know that there are lots of different ways it’s defined around the world; some countries in Asia use long school lectures to embed learning and we can explain the model justify its purpose, but in other cultures, including the UK, we are trying to develop a more independent learning approach within students. We’re not interested in exam factories, so we need to learn how to make other people think and this is what coaching does brilliantly.

From a peer to peer perspective, coaching skills are absolutely fundamental when working with others. In an average school setting, there are so many almost daily interactions with TAs, parents, stakeholders, carers, governors, even Ofsted inspectors and we can make those interactions far more effective. Having coaching skills means we can listen far more effectively, we can direct a conversation and create a space in a given period of time in which someone else can think much more strategically and effectively.

This approach absolutely applies the classroom as well, whether we are working with young people from reception age right through to A-level students. A level of coaching knowledge can improve the richness of the conversations we have that enables both learning in the classroom and colleague collaboration to be far more effective.

Think of the impact a highly trained coach, who has completed 15 months of learning on an apprenticeship with the opportunity to think about the quality of their coaching, the quality of their interactions and how they lead others would have in a school environment. If someone was really listening to teachers, learning about what kind of teacher, or what kind of leader they wanted to be and was facilitating their career growth, that would be phenomenal.

We’ve seen the effect that individual and leadership coaching can have in business over the last 30 years or so, why wouldn’t we apply that to our schools?”

About the Advanced Skills Educational Coach Apprenticeship (ASEC) Level 4 

This apprenticeship is designed to provide leaders with the tools and techniques to grow the quality of teaching and learning across schools and Multi Academy Trusts. 

As an Advance Skills Education Coach, you will be a dual professional, using up-to-date professional knowledge and skills to support vocational and professional development across your organisation.

This highly practical apprenticeship is designed to introduce senior school leaders to key coaching skills, tools and approaches they can use in their daily role. It also equips leaders with coaching skills that are vital in supporting colleagues to achieve their personal and departmental goals and targets.

Delegates will be introduced to key skills and approaches that will raise the engagement and performance of the individuals and teams they lead, in order to create a positive impact on student learning and outcomes.

If you are part of a Multi Academy Trust or Local Authority and feel this programme is right for a group of your schools, get in touch


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