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Coaching to support Performance Management

How does your performance management contribute to the overall direction of the school?

An apple is an apple, you could change the packaging around it, you could cut it up into 4 pieces, you could peel it, and you could cook it: fundamentally it would still be an apple.

Simply changing the title of a process or an event fundamentally doesn’t alter it. From a Performance Management perspective, before 1st September 2000, teachers were given an annual review: a meeting with someone who may or may not have been skilled as an interviewer in the field of developing performance.

Has your performance management system really changed since then?

At the core of this approach is that performance management is a process not an event!

The overall intent of Performance Management is to raise standards, which requires the process in between the actual formal meetings to be set up in a way that meets the needs of the teacher. From a line management perspective, a creative art teacher having an annual review with a science specialist would be a very different experience than sitting down regularly with a drama teacher who understands how to coach and develop excellence.

There is no suggestion that every team leader with responsibility for performance management reviews has to become an accredited coach in order to manage the process, although, many senior staff would benefit from of the essential skills associated the coaching process. However, colleagues trained as coaches could provide a focused input and make the best use what coaching has to offer.

Coaching in this context allies the school to a learning environment, where the continuous learning philosophy that we inspire and engender in the pupils, also applies to the whole school staff. Do we only expect our pupils to adopt Carol Dweck’s growth mindset, or do we represent the embodiment of that which we teach to others?

Why pressure of work and the lack of time hinder progress

In reality schools are incredibly busy places, where on top of the demanding responsibilities associated with teaching a full time table, the addition of an additional regular demand will not be embraced by many.

However, consider the time and energy that suddenly erupts when the inspection phone call is made – how much is then achieved in an incredibly short space of time. What if the time, energy and resources were in fact regularly spread out in a planned controlled manner over the year? Far better to be in a situation where all the small ongoing development issues are regularly achieved!

Where does performance management sit in the hierarchy of needs? What are the best ways raising standards of teaching and learning?

A well-structured coaching programme is like Ronseal: it does what is says on the tin. The outcomes are that the planning meeting become much more productive and meaningful. Progress reviews and actions become part of an ongoing development process rather than an event.

More importantly, the holistic nature of the coaching process allows for valuable reflection on a wider set of issues – so tools like the development wheel can encapsulate the essential criteria recorded on the annual review, but can also include additional issues that may, in a busy teacher’s hierarchy of needs, be more pressing e.g. confidence in dealing with a difficult pupil or class. Resolution of these issues will free the person to concentrate on their professional targets.

The current three stage process of planning, monitoring and review, can be changed for one word – Coaching, since an effective coaching process includes:

  • establishing relevant goals,

  • review and reflection of current progress ,

  • identification of challenges in meeting these,

  • consideration of alternative or best courses of action,

  • agreement on ways forward

  • ideas on how to maintain momentum

The value of a process, as opposed to an annual event is that it leads to better productivity. Setting up a coaching approach would provide a supportive and ongoing process which ensures staff are always working towards something that is meaningful and purposeful to themselves, their children and the school as a whole.

Coaching offers a secret bargain

The one secret that so many people have yet to realise with the coaching process is the aspect of Buy One, Get Two Free. An effective coach will walk the talk as part of the coaching process demonstrate tools and techniques that help manage and solve difficult problems: coachees can learn from this, and apply these same tools and techniques to their own lives and to their teaching. In addition, the ongoing nature of the process helps stimulate new and more effective ways of thinking: it comes down to choice, we can embrace change and adopt a forward thinking mindset, or we can remain mired in a belief that we face problems and difficulties about which we can do very little.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to use coaching support performance management contact us here.

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