Innovative use of coaching to support teacher wellbeing.


A guest post by Charmaine Roche. Director Services2Education and Lifeflowbalance Coaching and Consulting at the Nottingham Coaching Centre.

How many of your employees wear the face of a clown- appearing happy on the outside but racked by anxiety inside?

The Department for Business and Skills published a report in October 2014 establishing significant link between “employees subjective wellbeing at work and workplace performance” (Bryson, Forth, Stokes 2014). These are stressful times, and how well we cope with stress has an immediate impact on our physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. This may be self-evident to most of us. However, how many organisational leaders go the next step to do something, potentially transformative, about it?

This is precisely what Jo Eldrigde, Director of Learning at Fernwood Academy, Nottingham, has done:

“At Fernwood, we are dedicated to providing bespoke and innovative professional development opportunities for our staff. Our annual CPD review in 2015 highlighted that our provision for CPD that developed teachers’ pedagogy was extremely successful. However, it also became clear and that we needed to begin to focus our efforts on more explicitly supporting the health and wellbeing of our staff.

The teaching profession can be high stress and often demands energy levels that leave teachers feeling drained. To attempt to combat this, we made the decision to offer 1-2-1 (life) coaching to support our teachers in any way they need. The sessions are completely confidential and the choice to have the coaching is made by the teacher and is in no way directed.

We hope that increased happiness and confidence in the workplace will mean our teachers are better equipped to cope with the every changing demands of the profession.” Jo Eldridge Dec 2015.

I am proud to have been commissioned by Jo to provide this innovative, school based service.

Evidence from the personal development coaching sessions so far indicates that the individuals opting in are seeking greater self-awareness and self-management, greater personal capacity to cope with the complexities of their workplace, its demands and its impact on their personal lives. Rather than by dissatisfaction with external factors i.e. the Ofsted bogey man/woman.

Research (Hall, 2014) highlights the potential benefits of coaching at personal and organisational levels as being seen in:

* Improved emotional intelligence

* Increased capacity to deal with complexity

* Reduced stress

* Reduced absenteeism

* Reduced burnout

* More balanced decision making

* Improved resilience

* Organisational agility and responsiveness to change

* Increased creativity and innovation

It does require vision to see that an investment in wellbeing, using coaching that is not targeted directly on performance in the classroom, can that bring benefits that pay off in creating a culture where people will not face the risk of burnout; are not pushed to leave in order to avoid burnout; remain creative and have the mind-set to continuously improve and develop.

Charmaine Roche. Director Services2Education and Lifeflowbalance Coaching and Consulting at the Nottingham Coaching Centre.

This post was originally published in the Society of Education Consultants Newsletter and is reposted here by kind permission of the author.

Image credit: Dreamstime

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