Creating Coaching Cultures in Schools

Munro, C., Barr, M., & van Nieuwerburgh, C. (2020).Creating Coaching Cultures in Schools. In Emil Jackson and Andrea Berkeley (Eds.) Sustaining Depth and Meaning in School Leadership: Keeping Your Head. Routledge, UK

This chapter sits within a book exploring the personal experience of leading schools, with its editors promoting their belief that school leaders are at their best when they find their own unique and authentic way of taking up their leadership role. In doing so the book recognises the interpersonal and emotional dynamics of school leadership as well as the organisational dynamics. With this intent, a chapter on creating a coaching culture is highly relevant and a promising guide on increasing self-awareness throughout the school community.

The chapter summarises the psychological theories and approaches that inform coaching and goes on to define what is meant by a ”whole-school coaching culture for learning”. Following the convention of framing coaching as a ‘conversation’, the authors scope conversational contexts for coaching approaches, across the four domains of the Global Framework for Coaching and Mentoring in Education.

In keeping with the main themes of the book, the chapter includes a section on the critical importance of leadership authenticity from the head and at the same time highlights the role of coaching leaders at middle management level who are can act as advocates. For readers who seek practical tips and advice, there are plenty of well described stages, milestones and indicators on the path to culture building and quotes from school leaders to illuminate practice. All of this is embedded not only in the literature on school cultures but more specifically in the literature on coaching and the emerging field of building a coaching culture.

Given that many school leaders are already beginning to conceptualise and initiate coaching cultures because they see the benefits for sustainability and ‘way of working’, this chapter gives insight into strategies, into multiple conversational contexts and importantly, into the specifics of leading with a coaching ‘way of being’.