Why Coaching for School Principals?

Rosie Connor and Denise Barrows
June, 2024

It’s no coincidence that many chief executives and top leaders across a wide range of professions have coaching. There is simply no more personalised way of accessing professional support and development as a leader. Yet when we surveyed senior education leaders – directors and superintendents – more than two thirds had never benefited from personal coaching support.

We know many education leaders are missing out on the boost coaching can give to their impact and influence as leaders. Yet surely, children, above all others, deserve the very best leaders? So, what makes coaching uniquely impactful?

  • Personalised: Coaching ‘goes where you need it to go’. As it’s one-to-one support, coaching conversations are about yourself, the particular challenges you face, and your unique school context.
  • Confidential: Coaching conversations are private, so you can talk about your reality in a safe space with a critical friend. School leadership can become less lonely!
  • Reflective: Coaching offers a rare chance for busy school leaders to slow down and reflect on their practice… and role model this for others.
  • Flexible: Meeting with a coach exactly when you need it – whether every month, or periodically for short, focused periods – makes the most of your valuable time and ensures every coaching minute counts.
  • Immediate: Coaching gives you the opportunity to discuss issues when they arise, agree next steps, and immediately try out new strategies. After debriefing with your coach, you can immediately apply and continue to refine the learning to benefit your school.

Principal of Nakara Public School, Britany Roestenburg, explains: “Coaching is an important part of our development as lifelong learners, regardless of how long we have been leaders. Coaching has provided me with the dedicated time and space to work through school improvement initiatives. It provides an opportunity to consider new angles and apply a range of frameworks for thinking”.

There is a strong connection between the quality of school leadership and school culture, teacher engagement, collective efficacy, and student attainment. If athletes and leaders in the business world are worthy of coaching support, surely it’s time school principals also experience the benefits of a personal coach?

Rosie Connor and Denise Barrows

Rosie and Denise are Directors of BTS Spark, a not-for-profit initiative enabling school leaders to access world-class leadership coaching. btsspark.org