Welcome to GCI Insights

Our leading article explores one of the arts of coaching…creating a ‘space’ for coach and coachee to do their best thinking. It springs from a comment coachees sometimes make -“I’ve never been listened to like that before”- as they reflect on the conversation. Behind this statement is a sense of being in new territory, opening up new possibilities. What is actually happening there, we wonder? Margaret Barr, GCI Lead Associate Scotland, unlocks some of the coaching strategies that sit behind these experiences.

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We feature an outstanding system-wide coaching and mentoring program from the Centre for School Leadership in Ireland and invite you to listen to the two managers of these programs, Máire Ní Bhróithe and Anna Mai Rooney explain how carefully the programs have been implemented, building credibility and trust. There are principles that can be taken on board for programs not only at system level but also at school level. In our series featuring GCI’s own leaders, we invite you to meet Chris Munro, Managing Director (Aus/NZ).

With a greater emphasis now on online learning, we are interested to understand further how this works for online learning about coaching. We sought the perspectives of a recent participant and two facilitators to get inside the ‘remote’ coaching course workshop. Along with our regular features on research into coaching and upcoming events, we hope this edition has something for each of you. We also hope it helps you to connect with the global coaching in education community, which it is reassuring to note, remains dynamic as ever.

Best regards
Dr Kris Needham
Editor, GCI Insights


Coaching Cultures in Schools

We all know that the culture of a school is critical to its learning environment for students and teachers alike, yet culture building is complex and difficult work. A chapter dedicated to building a coaching culture is part of a publication edited by Emil Jackson and Andrea Berkeley “Sustaining Depth and Meaning in School Leadership: Keeping Your Head” .

The chapter “Creating coaching cultures in schools”, written by Chris Munro, Margaret Barr and Christian van Nieuwerburgh, identifies what the useful changes in practice might look like and a framework through which these changes can be implemented.

Read more here.


Coaching & Mentoring at the Centre for School Leadership Ireland

The Centre for School Leadership in Ireland is committed to coaching and mentoring as a professional development tool and offers two programs for school leaders. One-on-one
coaching for principals was introduced in 2017 and mentoring support for newly appointed principals in 2015.

We talked with the directors of these programs to find out more about how their purposes, implementation and evaluation, and CSL’s plans for their future development.

Coaching for Principals

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Máire Ní Bhróithe, Deputy Director Post Primary, talks about the thoughtful architecture of the program, including a pre-coaching ‘chemistry check’ and comprehensive monitoring.

Since one-on-one coaching for school principals was introduced four years ago, almost 900 principals have participated in the program. Momentum has been gained due to the credibility the program achieved in its early years, as CSL responded to formative feedback and evaluations. Read more about the program here.

The program has now expanded to include other leaders in school communities so that school leadership teams can increase their ability to prioritise and expand. A pre-requisite for access by school teams is that the principal of that school has or is participating in the current CSL School Principal Coaching Program.

Mentoring for newly appointed principals

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Anna Mai Rooney, Deputy Director Post Primary leads the CSL mentoring service. In this interview Anna Mai talks about selection and training of mentors, monitoring of the program and key factors behind its success.

The mentoring programme was introduced in 2015 as an element of overall support for newly appointed principals. Again, this is a carefully constructed, delivered and evaluated program, with 327 mentoring partnerships operating in the 2019/2020 school year. Learn more here.


" I've Never Been Listened To Like That Before "

When we’ve been in a powerful coaching session, as either coach or coachee, we recognise that the conversation worked in a particular way – it was conducive to deep reflection and creative thinking. People often come away from such a conversation very much aware of how it was different to other conversations.  Frequently we hear something like “I’ve never been listened to like that before”. What is happening in a coaching conversation that leads people to come away with this feeling?

In this article , Margaret Barr, GCI Lead Associate Scotland, looks closely at the power of listening to generate new thinking within the coaching conversation…

Online Learning About Coaching

During 2020 GCI has accelerated its provision of online courses, providing global access to quality learning about coaching in education. How does the online experience stack up against learning about coaching face-to-face? Here we offer two perspectives – from the student and from the facilitator.

We asked participant Brittany Michael-Singh Rehal about her experience of the Introduction to Leadership Coaching Course earlier this year. Brittany has been teaching internationally for the past four years and is currently Co-Director and elementary teacher for Terra Marin
Micro-School in San Francisco, California.

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Read Brittany’s comments about the online platform and what she noticed about the
learning here.

Facilitators Chris Munro and Claudia Owad have also reflected on their experiences of
GCI online courses.

Read their thoughts about delivery of the courses, the use of the online platform from facilitator viewpoint and some unexpected outcomes here.

If you are interested in participating in any of the GCI global international courses, see more in our “News and Upcoming Events” section below.

Meet Chris Munro

Our featured GCI staff member for this edition is Chris Munro. Melbourne based (but Scots born), Chris is GCI’s energetic Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. Chris is a prolific writer and thinker who contributes actively to the international field of coaching in education. Read more about Chris here.

You can hear more of Chris’ thinking in this podcast for Teachers Education Review (TER). Note: We would like to thank Cameron Malcher and Steven Kolber from TER for permission to edit and reproduce this recording. You can find more TER podcasts here.


Curious Conversations - #CuriousConvos

We have had some very positive responses to this series of free webinars from around the globe. Since our last Insights publication, we have been fortunate to converse with very generous guests who have shared their experience, knowledge and wisdom. Dr Andy Hargreaves, Dr Pasi Sahlberg, Dr Carol Campbell, Dr Karen Edge, John Campbell (GCI), Ben Calleja (GCI), Jennifer Abrams, Dr Mark McKergow, Jason Pascoe (GCI), Dr Richard Ryan, Jeremy Hannay & Dr Santiago Rico-Gallardo have all shared their knowledge about professional learning, coaching and mentoring. Recently, Dr Ricardo-Gallardo stated that Learning is a practice of freedom. Through these #CuriousConvos, the opportunity to learn from various people about different contexts, concepts and experiences of transforming teaching and learning is available to all.

Next month we are privileged to welcome Dr Katina Pollock and Dr Amanda Heffernan, who will discuss the importance of Principal Wellbeing. Both have current research from Australia and Canada regarding supporting principals during COVID. This has relevance for both current and aspiring school leaders. In the upcoming months, our guests include Jennifer Donohoo whose research and practice focuses on collective efficacy and Ellie Drago-Severson who continually stays curious about developing educator capacity and coaching for growth. We appreciate all those who have generously agreed to be our guest on #CuriousConvos and we also thank those who view these webinars both live and recorded. See some recent comments from participants.

Recordings of our #CuriousConvos can be viewed

Convenor, Andrea Stringer: Contact Andrea at astringer@growthcoaching.com.au .


Research Feature

In this edition we feature the work of Dr Trista Hollweck, the project director for the international  ARC Education Project , a part-time Professor at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Education where she teaches in the Bachelor of Education program and graduate-level courses, including her favourite called Mentoring and Coaching in Professional Contexts. Trista is a passionate advocate for mentoring and coaching as a key component in building collaborative professionalism and collective efficacy (see Hollweck, 2020). She believes in the powerful potential of effective mentoring and coaching as a way to not only enhance teacher professional growth and wellbeing but lead to improved student learning and wellbeing. Trista discusses mentoring and coaching within teacher induction in this GCI Curious Conversation with Andrea Stringer here.

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Read Trista’s report of her findings from research into mentoring and coaching within teacher induction here.


Developments with GCI online

To meet the increasing popularity of remote learning, GCI is offering an increasing range
of provisions, developed to both maintain and extend the quality of our long-standing
face-to-face courses.

If you are interested in any of the
GCI online global open enrolment courses , see here .

Founding Director John Campbell has exciting news about our new updated and online Coaching Accreditation Program

“It’s 15 years ago that I was involved in writing and presenting the GCI Coaching Accreditation Program. Since that time over 7,000 educators have participated in the program."

It is now time to share the news that the GCI team is in the process of revising and
re-designing the GCI Coaching Accreditation program so that it incorporates the developments in theory, research and practice that have taken place in coaching in education across that time.

And, we are delighted to also share that it will now be available in an online learning format with all the learning flexibility that offers. For example, there will be no need for any teaching relief time.

The new Online Coaching Accreditation Program, will launch with an international cohort in March 2021. Our current Coaching Accreditation Program will continue to be available through until the end of 2021.

More information about program format, dates, and our special Early Bird rate coming soon!


News and Upcoming Events

Immerse yourself in conversation with international leaders in coaching in education…the
2020 CollectivED National Knowledge Exchange  has gone online. CollectivED in partnership with GCI and Instructional Coaching Group will host ‘Better Conversations, enhancing education one discussion at a time’ from 9th November to 5th December 2020. Each week has a different theme and you can read more session details here.

CollectivED Coaching, Mentoring and Professional Learning in Education Award

We welcome this new award which recognises schools bringing about whole school improvement in coaching, mentoring and professional learning. Schools anywhere in the world can apply for this award, offered by Leeds Beckett University. The participating school works with an allocated online
CollectivED coach to create and implement an action plan and gather evidence, which is then verified for the award at one of three levels.

Hear GCI’s Managing Consultant (UK) Rose Blackman Hegan talk about the award here. You can read a flyer with more information here.

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Professor Rachel Lofthouse from Leeds Beckett University and Director of CollectivED, says
“This is a Knowledge Exchange re-imagined for our current pandemic lansdcape. We are thrilled to be bringing together a month of opportunities for professional learning.  All of our contributors are change makers, and understand that better conversations are at the heart of enhancing education. They bring expertise and insights from across education sectors and roles. The online format enables flexible engagement by participants. Our Knowledge Exchange has dynamic conversations at its heart, engaging each contributor in a one-to-one dialogue or in a panel discussion. As a participant there will be opportunities to get involved, via twitter chats and online discussion rooms. It’s not how we first planned it, but this is very much a month we are all looking forward to now.”

Book now or contact CollectivED@leedsbeckett.ac.uk for more information and to be added to their mailing list.

Announcing…Coaching for Wellbeing in Educational Contexts
These last months have created significant challenges for those involved in the intensive, ‘emotional labour’ that educators are involved in each day. Interactions with colleagues, students, parents and other community members can be taxing at the best of times, but in these last months the work of educators has intensified.
There is an emerging evidence base indicating that coaching can be one way of addressing these challenges and GCI has drawn on this to develop a new interactive, online training program focused on coaching for well-being in educational contexts.
Meanwhile, Growth Coaching International is pleased to be hosting a free webinar on this topic led by GCI Executive Director, Prof Christian van Nieuwerburgh. Christian is a global thought leader in this field and has presented and written widely on this topic. Dates will be announced soon.