Why does this ‘COACH-STYLE’ OBSERVATION & FEEDBACK SYSTEM keep making such impact?

by Annie Boate

Why does this ‘COACH-STYLE’ OBSERVATION & FEEDBACK SYSTEM keep making such impact?

I remember as a Headteacher chasing the ‘holy grail’ of the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ judgement, as so many of us do (or its equivalent)! When I finally got there, what I came to realise was that outstanding provision is achieved through consistently good practice by all staff, right across the school, day in, day out. It’s not a result of short bursts of amazing practice by some staff.

So how do Headteachers achieve that consistent good practice across their schools?

The answer is through all staff demonstrating self-leadership, and making continuous improvements to their practice. When staff are motivated and empowered to keep improving, then that’s exactly what they do. Not because they’ve been frightened or cajoled into it, but because they’re intrinsically motivated to be the best that they can be. That’s true self-leadership. And those ongoing improvements in individual staff performance lead to improvements across teams, and gradually, across the whole school.

Imagine if every member of your staff made a small improvement in their practice, and then another, and another…the effect over time would be outstanding!

It’s what’s known as ‘the compound effect’ or ‘marginal gains.’

Schools that have adopted the Coachinginschools ‘coach-style’ observation and feedback system consistently report that the system has had more impact on staff performance and ongoing school improvement than they ever expected.

There are many reasons why this is. Here are a few key ones:

1. Our system promotes self-leadership and intrinsic motivation.

Our ‘coach-style’ observation and feedback system develops self-leadership because staff are given greater ownership of their professional growth. Staff find the ‘coach-style’ process ‘developmental’ and ‘helpful’, rather than ‘judgemental’ and ‘stressful’! They’re driven by an internal determination to improve, not by external praise or threats. That’s because our system allows & encourages staff to:

  • identify their best ways to improve their performance
  • take the necessary action to improve
  • share the positive impact of those improvements
  • keep tweaking their performance using their own ideas
  • keep seeking feedback on their performance

As a result, staff become more confident in their ability to find their own solutions and make ongoing improvements to their practice. It’s very common for staff using our system to request more observations and feedback so they can continue to develop professionally, and show off that development!

2. Our system is based on the concept of ‘empowering accountability.’

That’s where staff are held to account for the quality of their performance in a way that empowers and motivates them to lead on their own improvements…and to keep improving.

Our step-by-step online training is engaging and interactive. It ensures that observers develop the skills they need to empower and develop others.

After completing our training, observers feel confident about carrying out observations, recording evidence and feeding back to staff. The feedback model that we teach them takes away the fear of being honest with staff, because they know that the model will leave staff feeling positive, empowered, confident and clear about their next steps. And they’ll learn how to do all of that while firmly holding staff to account. That’s why we call it ‘empowering accountability.’

3. Our system drives strategic improvements in teaching & learning

Headteachers and their leadership teams drive school improvement most successfully when they’re crystal-clear about the priorities for the school. What’s so powerful about our system is that it creates a consistent approach across the school that everyone understands and values. That consistency then provides SLT and team leaders with invaluable, objective and accurate information about the quality of teaching & learning in your school.  This will allow you to focus on the right priorities for improvement.

4. Our system drives continuous improvements in every aspect of the school’s performance

Our ‘coach-style’ observation & feedback system can be applied to every aspect of your school’s performance, not just teaching & learning. Once you’ve adopted our system, use it to drive continuous improvements right across the school, at all levels. That’s because it can be used to evaluate and improve individual performance (teaching/support staff), team performance (teaching/support staff), pupil behaviour, the quality of meetings, the effectiveness of key processes… the list of applications is endless. And because the ‘coach-style’ feedback is so empowering and motivating, improvements are ongoing, and the impact just continues to grow.

Monica Austin

(Recently-retired Headteacher & Coachinginschools Accredited Trainer)

At Coachinginschools we’re determined to keep supporting Headteachers and their schools during these challenging times of lockdowns, teaching bubbles and remote learning.

We want as many schools as possible to benefit from our ‘coach-style’ observation & feedback system because we know that it works – and keeps working!

Read the other articles in this observation feedback system series:

  1. Observing Lessons & Giving Feedback Effectively is Crucial! So Why Do We Get It So Wrong?
  2. Want to Observe Lessons & Give Feedback Effectively? Use Our Coach-Style Feedback System!