Welcome to this special Conference edition of GCI Insights

In this edition, we bring you some highlights from the recent 6th National Coaching and Mentoring in Education Conference, hosted by GCI, with keynotes from Professor Anthony Grant, Dr Jim Knight, Professor Rachael Lofthouse and Dr Deborah Netolicky. We feature ideas and concepts from these leaders in coaching as well as from other conference presenters, and you can get the feel of the buzz over the two-day event from our ‘vox pops’ with conference delegates, local and international. 

Kris Needham gci insights september 2019

Our regular research feature has a roundup of presentations from the associated meeting of the International Research Network and we have an article on “Noticing” which reviews some related texts.

Best regards
Dr Kris Needham
Editor, GCI Insights


Highlights from the 6th National Coaching in Education Conference

GCI hosted the Coaching in Education conference in Sydney over 29-30 August, with over 300 delegates. The Conference reflected the internationalisation of our work, with delegates from not only across Australia, but from New Zealand, Asia, Africa and England. There was an extremely positive buzz at break times, with a strong feeling of professional community – like minds interested in developing their coaching.

One of our academic partners, Professor Rachael Lofthouse from Leeds Beckett University, Carnegie School of Education, gave these observations of the two days, noting an increased interest in the evidence base for coaching. This focus was also addressed in the International Mentoring and Coaching in Education Research Network meeting on Wednesday 28th August, and in conversations with practitioners responsible for coordinating coaching programs in their schools, needing to show ‘results’.

Professor Rachael Lofthouse

Professor Lofthouse has established CollectiveED network and you can access their latest set of Working Papers on mentoring and coaching here.

Dr Jim Knight, research associate from Kansas Center for Research on Learning and Senior Partner of The Instructional Coaching Group, spoke about the “coaching way of being” as another hot topic and the evolving definition of coaching. You can read more on Jim’s work at the Instructional Coaching Group here.
Of special interest to us is the two-part interview with GCI Executive Director Professor Christian van Nieuwerburgh.
Part 1 Part 2

Dr Jim Knight

What were the other hot topics that were part of the Conference conversations?
We captured some ‘vox pops’ of conference delegates elaborating on what they were noticing at the conference.

Chris Browne Tricia Allen
Melissa McMahon George Toth

International Delegates
Iain Henderson from Wellington College England, Tina Kere from Watershed Global Institute, Susan Bentley from South Africa and Dr Paul Bennett from Howick College Auckland, also shared some impressions.

Iain Henderson Tina Kare
Susan Bentley Paul Bennett

The Third Wave of Coaching – A Coaching Way of Being

Professor Anthony Grant, Director of the Coaching Psychology Unit at the University of Sydney, is a leading international researcher and writer in the field of coaching. His presentation at the conference, “Third generation of Workplace Coaching” elaborated on the concept of a “coaching way of being” and was helpful in clearly articulating the evolving nature of the field of coaching.

Click here for a brief summary of the three ‘waves’ and the conversation continuum.

It is useful to take a closer look at ‘corridor coaching’ and how a simple structure can be introduced to this spontaneous, brief conversation to make it more effective. Professor Grant outlined his recommended method, which recognises the importance of the manager or leader recognising the coaching moment, asking the right questions, responding in a way that moves the conversation forwards and finally, agreeing on some specific action steps. This method uses the acronym R-A-R-A and you can watch Professor Grant describe it in this video.

Professor Grant has also made available one of his latest research papers which addresses one of the hot topics from the conference: how can we show that coaching works?

Professor Anthony Grant

Nexus International School Singapore

One of the international speakers at the conference was Judy Cooper, Principal of Nexus International School in Singapore. Judy has been leading the school for only two years and in that time has initiated a coaching program which is now school-wide and embedded in the Strategic Plan – quite an achievement. Judy explains the process here.

Meet Judy in this short video where she talks about these early stages of the program at Nexus and also shares a hot tip on microanalysis of teaching – one of her take-aways from the conference workshops. Judy also mentions that the school is partnered with GCI and Jim Knight’s Instructional Coaching Group to host the Coaching in Education Summit, hosted in their brand new school, in June 2020. If you are planning a trip to Asia around that time, perhaps it is possible to include this exciting conference and see the state of the art new buildings at Nexus!

Judy Cooper

Coaching for parent engagement

Schools that are embedding coaching into their staff programs are now frequently taking the logical step of introducing student coaching, and further, imagining ways they can use coaching strategies to increase parent engagement. Two practitioners from the conference had practical ideas on how this might be done.

Caroline Chisholm College, a comprehensive Catholic girls high school in Western Sydney, implemented Growth Coaching as a vehicle for professional learning in 2016, and has since seen coaching have an impact on teaching and learning with over 30 members of staff trained as accredited coaches. In 2019, the school sought to take the impact of coaching for learning into the homes of the students by facilitating conversations between parents and their daughters.

Greg Elliott, Principal of Caroline Chisholm College explains ”the best time for this, we thought, was when the students take home their semester school report. To support parents and give them a means by which they can help their daughters set good learning goals and be accountable to them, we wrote a series of questions modelled on the G.R.O.W.T.H. scaffold. Although it is early days yet, we are hoping this practical guide will lead to some quality conversations in our families. See the scaffold here.

Greg Elliott

Linda McNeil from Linda McNeil Consulting, has worked in the education sector with teachers, school staff, parents and parent organisations for almost two decades. Linda is an accredited GCI coach and sees the use of coaching tools and a coaching approach as a ‘game changer’ in building parent engagement. You can learn some of her thinking from her conference paper.

Linda McNeil

Research Network for Coaching and Mentoring in Education

Associated with this year’s Coaching in Education Conference was the Australian meeting of The International Research Network for Coaching and Mentoring in Education. Three host academics (Professor Christian van Nieuwerburgh, Professor Rachel Lofthouse and Dr Jim Knight) delivered short presentations on some of their own research, also made themselves available to support the researchers in the room. Dr Deborah Netolicky also spoke about her research from the point of view of a ‘pracademic” and was able to show the group her brand new book “Transformational professional learning: Making a difference in schools” (2019, Routledge) which was later a sell-out at the conference bookstore.

Read more here.


The Skill of noticing

Sue Richards, Senior GCI Consultant in the Victorian Team, has been thinking and reading on the topic of ‘noticing’ in coaching – to support both the coach and the coachee. Sue sees noticing as a key coaching skill and elaborates on how to get better at noticing.

Read Sue's article here.


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