What do the coaches think?

In November 2011, a group of college professors published in the Journal of Leadership Studies, an article entitled “Perceptions and Outcomes of a Managerial Coaching Certificate Program: Educational Leaders vs. Business Leaders.” The objective of the study was to find out if the same coaching program used to improve performance in the business world could be used with those who lead educational institutions. What did the coaches perceive of the program and what about the clients and their thoughts with the coaching process?

So what do we mean by coaching? Brock and Roebuck’s (2006) definition of coaching is: “Coaching is a helping relationship where one person using proven models of human and organizational development, works with others (an individual, team, or organization) to discover, access, and leverage their abilities to achieve excellence (personal, professional, and/or organizational”(p.45).

The study followed normal research procedures to determine their findings, but also discussed some important points that schools and school leaders need to seriously ponder as it relates to educational coaching. Here are some of those points that will be of interest to educators:
• “Much of the change in leadership expectations is about improvement in performance and accountability. The new shift in thinking is already in motion in the business field, not just in education” (p.45).
• “Educational institutions are being called upon to the rapidly changing needs of their leaders” (p.43).
• “Academic organizations are seeking processes that will improve performance and effectiveness of their leaders” (p.44).
• “Famous educators like Marzano have researched and found that effective leadership does promote student achievement” (p.45).

From the points discussed above, it is evident that educational organizations are aware of the need for programs to support school leadership, necessary for growth and success. However, the world of education is lacking in the use of those programs that can help school leaders. As the article states: “Unfortunately, it seems that little or no professional leadership development is provided for the executive leader in educational organizations” (p.44).

Why the hesitancy for educational coaching? Could it be that we are denying the trend for further accountability and performance in both business and education? Could it be we are not fully aware of this successful practice and those who are competent to coach? Could it be that we need further evidence of its success? Can we look to the business world and utilize their methods for enhanced and improved leadership in our schools?
• “Companies with stronger leadership practices outperform their peer competitors in long-term measures of both financial growth and return on investment” (p.44).
• “Coaching gives individuals the time, the space, and the skills to develop themselves and ultimately their teams” (p.44).
• School executives can benefit from coaching, much like business counterparts, as a way to enhance leadership effectiveness by developing capacity and skills a successful leaders” (p.45).

What about the clients who have been coached? What do they believe are the benefits from being coached?
• “How to appreciate each other’s strengths and to embrace and leverage their differences toward success” (p.51).
• How “to develop a plan of self-improvement, increasing productivity while decreasing stress” (p.51).
• “Self-reliance and making touch choices” (p.51).
• “To find actions they are able to take to improve situations that previously thought hopeless” (p.51).

Special thanks to those professors who worked on this article giving all of us the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of educational coaching.