As a school leader, these sessions have helped me understand the impact of my leadership style upon others so that I can adjust expectations accordingly.

David Fann, Associate Headteacher, Larkholme Primary School

Why is Headteacher wellbeing coaching so important?

It is particularly important at this time during the Covid 19 crisis that school governors, and MAT trustees are open to headteacher wellbeing coaching as there are many benefits both to the individual and the wider school community.

70% of Headteachers felt that there were times during 2020 that they have come close to breaking point.

90% said their work related stress had increased.

School leader Wellbeing survey 2020, Dr Helen Kelly

Clearly stress levels are extremely high and Headteachers feel unprepared to cope with the emotional challenges they are facing on a daily basis during the Covid19 crisis.

Also see our article for School Leaders on managing the Stress of Covid19

Headteacher Retention

According to the NFER, Headteacher retention rates have been declining since 2012 and are particularly low in:

  • secondary schools
  • schools rated as Inadequate by Ofsted
  • sponsored academies
  • larger Multi-Academy Trusts
  • schools with low levels of attainment.

With investment into Headteacher wellbeing coaching, Heads are likely to grow more fully in their roles and less likely to have feelings of misalignment, which can lead to resignation.

Too many good Headteachers continue to leave the profession early or burnout, because the needs of the person in the role have been ignored.

Professor Rachel Lofthouse, Leeds Beckett University

Headteacher Wellbeing Coaching Aims

This is remote, private 1:1 Headteacher wellbeing coaching where the participant and the coach work through simple, practical techniques that help them de-stress from challenging situations. Individuals will learn to identify positive and negative changes in their psychological, behavioural and physical wellbeing symptoms.

The primary objective of the coaching programme is to identify negative changes in our psychological, behavioural and physical wellbeing. This awareness of our physical, emotional and behavioural responses is the start of positive change implementation. The task then is to be either proactive in our response to these changes, or be reactive to reduce the negative impacts.

Proactive measures might include the conduction a Stress Audit, identification of Triggers Analysis, a Professional Skills Audit to establish professional suitability and a Wheel of Life exercise to establish work-life priorities. Similar proactive measures will also include developing awareness of changes along with the introduction of quick and longer-term strategies to reduce stress and improve wellbeing such as Visioning and Acceptance Strategies.

Reactive measures may include Open Coaching, Solutions Focused Coaching, Goal Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Headteacher Wellbeing Coaching Programme Outline:

Recommended duration of coaching

Four online sessions are recommended as a starting point. Delivery of sessions a week to 10 days apart is optimal.

Coaching session 1: Assessment of status, goals & professional competencies

Collection of data to establish current wellbeing, wellbeing aims, current baselines and future wellbeing goals. Use of professional competencies such as Johari’s window exercise.

Coaching session 2: Identification and awareness of negative emotions & behaviours and how to replace them with positive practices

Developing awareness of negative emotions, physical responses, and behavioural change such as avoidance and procrastination.

Identification of current positive practices that alert us to better wellbeing

Coaching session 3: Proactive strategies & reactive measures to deal with stress

Introduction of various proactive strategies that allow us to take control of a situation. These are both immediate and longer term. The client is encouraged to experiment with strategies suited to personality and needs

Introduction of various reactive strategies that allow us to deal with compromised wellbeing. these are mainly immediate and coupled to reflective thinking to reduce future incidences.

Coaching session 4: Establishing work-life priorities & balance

The client is encouraged to review their wheel of life and identify their work-life balances, to review the effectiveness of their current proactive and reactive strategies. This awareness and re-tuning will enable the client to be more independent.

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You might also be interested in our Executive Coaching for Headteachers & School Principals

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