Life coaching in schools

'You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives' - Clay P. Bedford



The process involved in coaching young people is similar to coaching adults.  In some situations, it can be helpful for a parent to attend the sessions.  Coaching is often related to the following topics:

  • Maximising learning potential
  • Learning blockages
  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Coping with bullies
  • Relationships with teachers, peers, parents and siblings
  • Organisation
  • Independence
  • Listening skills
  • Learning styles
  • Goal mapping
  • Study skills
  • Homework

Headteachers and Staff

There is much evidence (including Ofsted judgments) to support the fact that coaching is making a huge impact in schools.  Benefits include:

  • Enhanced personal effectiveness (work smarter, not harder)
  • Better work/life balance
  • Improved performance of students
  • Greater reflectivity and professional growth
  • Improved understanding of how to motivate others
  • Creates more effective teams
  • The development of techniques for constructively challenging unhelpful behaviours, including negativity and limiting beliefs
  • Improves working relationships with colleagues and students
  • Enhanced energy and job satisfaction
  • Improved problem solving skills
  • Opens creative thinking pathways
  • Enhances awareness of the setting of realistic goals for adults and others
  • Works well alongside performance management

When selecting suitable coaches, within the school, it is crucial to choose willing, open minded colleagues who are able to establish trusting relationships.  It is important for colleagues to pair up with someone with whom they have an affinity.  It is the 'qualities' of the person who is doing the coaching that should be foremost and not their professional status or what they have achieved in other contexts.  This means that clear criteria should be identified regarding the qualities and skills that are required of the people who will be the coaches.

People who have experienced coaching should articulate its benefits so that others can 'buy in' to the process before the coaching begins.  In addition, a clear explanation of the coaching process needs to take place before it starts and coaching needs to be given quality time: it should be seen as an important priority within the busy life of the school.

When introducing coaching in schools, it is vital to stress its 'bottom up' empowering potential which can lead to significant personal and professional benefits.  In addition, coaching is a non-threatening but nevertheless rigorous and challenging process.  It is not a soft option.

Coaching should not be introduced as a management/government initiative!  In essence, it should be presented as something that staff can 'buy into' if they so choose.  It is to assist them in the challenging and valuable work that they do: they will own and control the process.  It is not something that is done to them: it is something that they choose to do themselves.

Once accepted, training can begin for teaching and non teaching staff in coaching so that it can be established as an important part of its staff continuous professional development policy.  The school may also wish to develop coaching for its students. 

A training programme for staff can be viewed in the A-Z of training courses section of this website.   Click here.