Rebecca Daniel FCCT & Sarah Bramall
Co-Founders of The Coaching Catalysts
ICF Coaches, Coach Trainers and Coach Supervisors
Sarah Bramall and Rebecca Daniel co-founded ‘The Coaching Catalysts to empower coaches and professionals to reach their full potential. As qualified and accredited Coaches with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), Coach Trainers for leading coach training providers, and Coach Supervisors, they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the coaching industry. They also hold additional qualifications in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and DISC Personality and Behaviour Profiling and are Mental Health First Aiders. With a combined thirty years’ experience in education as former teachers and leaders, they are passionate about supporting coaches and professionals to enhance their skills through best professional practices, learning and development, mindset and wellbeing. Their commitment to excellence has made them invaluable resources for individuals and organisations seeking to reach their full potential.
As a school leader, it’s essential to cultivate a coaching culture in schools to promote teacher well-being. This will not only help teachers feel supported but will also increase student engagement and success. However, creating a coaching culture takes more than just providing coaching services to your teachers. It requires creating a system of support that includes coaching supervision.
What is Coaching Supervision?
The word ‘supervision’ is misleading: this is not another power breathing down teachers’ necks telling us how to do our jobs! Rather, coaching supervision is a partnership between two professionals: a reflective and collaborative process between a coach and a supervisor that supports ongoing professional development and effectiveness. It involves the professional discussing their practice with a supervisor who provides feedback, guidance, and support to help the professional to improve their skills, knowledge, and understanding.
Supervision differs from mentoring in that the mentor is usually a more experienced professional who provides guidance, advice, and support to a less experienced colleague to help them grow and develop in their career. Mentors share their knowledge, experience, and expertise to help mentees navigate challenges, identify goals, and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve those goals.
Where coaching is a supportive process of a coach supporting a coachee move from where they are to where they want to be, supervision is a deeper exploration of what is going on for the supervisee to support reflection on both what is working, as well as providing a safe space in which to explore challenges or concerns.
While there are commonalities between the modalities of coaching, mentoring and supervision, the latter plays an important role in facilitating the individual to explore the complexities of their work, without the immediate expectation of forming a solution or committing to action, as is the case in coaching and mentoring.
Other professionals that benefit from supervision include: social workers, counsellors, and other mental health professionals who require supervision to ensure that they provide ethical and effective treatment to clients. Given the number of ‘hats’ that education professionals are required to wear to provide pastoral care, support mental health and wellbeing, as well as effective safeguarding, it seems surprising that supervision is as yet at the early stages of adoption within education.
An Australian study led by Armstrong and Geddes (2009) highlights the benefits of coaching supervision for teachers in their article on developing coaching supervision practice. They argue that coaching supervision promotes self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-care among teachers, leading to improved well-being and better outcomes for students. The authors also stress the importance of a supportive coaching culture in schools, where coaching is seen as a valued professional development tool rather than a remedial intervention. By creating a coaching culture in schools, teachers are encouraged to engage in ongoing professional development and to view coaching as a means of enhancing their skills and knowledge rather than as a punitive measure. This approach leads to increased job satisfaction and a sense of empowerment among teachers, contributing to a positive school culture and improved student outcomes.
What can we do as school leaders to create a coaching culture in schools with a focus on coaching supervision that supports teacher well-being?
1) Promote Self-Reflection and Self-Care
Coaching supervision is a safe and confidential space for teachers to reflect on their practice and receive feedback. Teachers can discuss their emotions and challenges in a non-judgmental environment. This process helps teachers identify their strengths and weaknesses, leading to better self-care and resilience. Coaching supervision can support teachers in developing self-awareness and promote work-life balance, leading to reduced stress levels and overall better mental health.
2) Provide Professional Development Opportunities
Coaching supervision can also serve as an opportunity for professional development.
Teachers can work with their coaches to identify areas of growth and receive guidance on professional development opportunities. Supervision can help teachers develop new skills and techniques and refine existing ones. This process helps teachers feel more competent, confident, and motivated, leading to greater job satisfaction and teacher retention.
3) Foster Collaborative Learning
Coaching supervision is not just about individual development but also about fostering collaborative learning. Teachers can work together to solve problems, share resources, and support each other’s growth. This process builds a sense of community and connection among teachers, leading to better morale and job satisfaction.
4) Support Emotional Intelligence and Regulation
Coaching supervision can help teachers develop emotional intelligence, which is essential for effective teaching. Emotional intelligence involves being aware of our emotions and those of others and using that information to guide our actions. Teachers who develop emotional intelligence are better able to manage their emotions and respond empathetically to their students’ needs. Coaching supervision provides a space for teachers to develop their emotional intelligence by reflecting on their emotions and those of their students.
5) Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Coaching supervision supports a culture of continuous improvement. Teachers who receive coaching and supervision are more likely to seek out feedback and improve their practice continually. This process helps create a culture where teachers are committed to ongoing learning and growth, leading to better student outcomes and higher job satisfaction for teachers.
In conclusion, creating a coaching culture in schools with a focus on coaching supervision is essential for promoting teacher well-being. Coaching supervision provides teachers with a safe and confidential space to reflect on their practice, receive feedback, and develop new skills. It also fosters collaborative learning, emotional intelligence, and a culture of continuous improvement. By implementing these tips, school leaders can support their teachers and create a positive learning environment for students.
Armstrong, H. & Geddes, M. (2009). Developing coaching supervision practice: An Australian case study, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 7(2), 1–17.
Moyes, Barbara (2009), Literature Review of Coaching Supervision, International Coaching Psychology Review ● Vol. 4 No. 2 September 2009, https://groups.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/ICPR%204_2.pdf#page=44
Siraj-Blatchford, I., Manni, L., & Allen, R. (2008). The role of coaching in enhancing early childhood practitioners’ professional development. International Journal of Early Years Education, 16(1), 3-17.