[For this post, Debbie shares a case study which focuses on her work with a local authority education team.]
I’ve worked with this team on several occasions doing a range of training and 1-1 coaching. Although most of my work is usually in schools, this is a Local Authority team of teachers responsible for supporting SEN pupils in mainstream schools.
One of the main keys to success for the work of this team is to do with their relationships with schools. As their team manager said,
“Relationships with our schools are as important to us as our team’s teaching skills. The latter is only successful if we can develop positive relationships with staff”.
I was asked to work with the team in order to help them achieve this. It’s not that relationships weren’t good, it was more about – ‘how do we empower the Teachers and TAs to continue SEN pupil development when we’re not there.’
The ways I addressed this situation had a lot to do with helping this team develop their leadership skills, since they are effectively leading on SEN development and support when they go into schools and delivering in-house and local authority training.
I’d previously delivered Coaching Skills Training to the team, initially for team/peer support and development. So the first thing I did was a refresher day on this and how it could be applied to their work with the teachers/TAs in school. The day was entitled: Target-Setting and Coaching in Schools, and gave them tools to develop more effective target-setting skills with SEN pupils, encouraging the pupils to take more ownership of their targets and routes to success.
To add weight to this training I also delivered a bespoke training package to the whole team on the following areas under the heading ‘Developing Positive Relationships with Schools’:
- different ways to make a positive start with your school colleagues at the beginning of the year
- developing assertiveness skills (through clarification of assertive behaviours and language)
- carrying out a leadership skills audit (with the option of the team using peer coaching to continue development of some of these areas)
- emotional intelligence overview, then a focus on one of the 4 EI competencies: ‘Social Competence’ which focuses specifically on how we manage relationships
- looking at 8 different behaviour types and how to positively manage each of them
It’s important to me to evaluate the effectiveness of my coaching and training, and I do this through asking for feedback at the end of training events, and also arranging at least one follow-up meeting/phone call with the client.
Feedback from training
“What I found really useful from the training was how to move forward to form positive relationships in schools, how to organise meetings to get the best results, and how to deal with different personality types. I will be putting this into practice.”
“I will use all the ideas from today’s session. I will remember my own role as a ‘leader’! The session was a good balance of input and interaction. Many thanks!”
“Excellent ‘behaviour types’ list with very useful tips.”
Follow-up call with client
The following is the feedback I received with the SEN Team Manager, when asked about outcomes from the training I’d delivered.
“We recognise that the best progress with pupils will only happen when we have good relationships with staff in schools. To this end, we needed more formal coaching training, which you gave us, rather than our teachers going into schools and assuming they know how to empower the teachers.
“By using coaching, we can step outside the situation, be less emotional, and find ways for moving things forward. We now have more self-awareness of how to solve problems; we can reflect better, and do self-coaching as well as peer coaching. We’ve used your training to develop each other’s skills with teaching and learning, as well as developing more positive relationships with schools.
“Schools have different dynamics, and we need to adapt to the school rather than impose our own ways of working; coaching and the training you’ve done helped us do this.”
And finally …
As well as enjoying the lovely feedback this case study brought, I was not complacent about this work! I am always looking for ways to improve my offerings, be they coaching or training, and find the 3 Shires Coaching Group one of the key resources I tap into in order to do this.
If you’ve not been to a meeting before, I recommend you try it 🙂