Executive Coaching
Education Sector

Coaching Approach

The importance of leadership in supporting good learning outcomes for students and a positive and rewarding experience for those that work in our education system cannot be overstated.

Now more than ever, leaders in education are asked to lead in national crises and through uncertainty, drive reform, implement change, motivate staff, and be flexible and resilient.

Already well embedded in the private sector as well as government department and state bodies, executive coaching is now recognised as a powerful professional and personal developmental support to:

  • Principals and Deputy Principals
  • Management of trusts, governance and education bodies
  • Academics and management in universities and other third level institutions

At Rachel Doogue Coaching, we believe as a leader in education, great leadership is something that you find inside of you by being more of, not less of, yourself. Our coaching clients liberate themselves to do their best work. They overcome discomfort and relish the challenge of achieving personal and professional growth in highly complex environments. Our style is to really listen and encourage our education clients to draw on their own thinking and resources. We provide individuals the space and time to gain true moments of clarity and build energy and resilience to lead.

In supporting leaders in education through executive coaching, Rachel Doogue Coaching expects to and is committed to:

  • Build a trusting but objective relationship over time
  • Enhance their personal, interpersonal and performance/leadership skills in a complex and continuously changing environment
  • Strengthen their ability to manage and lead their teams to address organisational and wider system challenges
  • Support and challenge by proactively building insight, knowledge and understanding of self to enhance leadership capacities
  • Facilitate action planning for individual challenges whilst unlocking the potential to maximise their own performance and focus on delivery
  • Encourage on-going self-reflection in order to continually improve

The type of coaching required will depend on the individual’s and the organisation’s needs. A typical coaching programme consists of between 4 and 8 one-to-one sessions taking place over a period of 6 to 18 months. Our coaches are experienced in integrating a range of relevant personality, motivation, emotional intelligence and 360° instruments. They provide direction for development and help prioritise issues to be addressed during coaching. The choice and use of these tools are discussed as part of the initial coaching engagement.

CSL Principal and Deputy Principal Coaching

The Centre for School Leadership (CSL) has pioneered the development of executive coaching for School Principals and are now piloting this service for Deputies. Since 2017, Rachel Doogue Coaching has had the privilege of providing one-to-one executive coaching and team coaching to principals and school leadership teams in Department of Education registered schools. As part of a nationwide programme we currently work with Principals and Deputies in:

  • CSL Region 1: North Dublin, Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Meath
  • CSL Region 2: South Dublin, West Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow

Our experience coaching Principals and Deputies has highlighted four critical levers to improving sustainability in the role and developing Leadership and Management Domains.

  1. Improving self-awareness, self-care and energy for the role: themes related to resilience, energy management and Thinking Habits. Helping clients recalibrate and recharge in their role.
  2. Understanding how to lead and be a leader: themes related to purpose as a principal or deputy, prioritisation, assertiveness, delegation, having difficult conversations, communicating with, and motivating others. Helping clients get clarity on what only they can do as a leader.
  3. Harnessing the capability of the school leadership team: themes related to the purpose of the ISM team, leading change, establishing collaborative thinking and conflict management. Helping clients step away from traditional models of hero leadership and embed distributed leadership.
  4. Leading though uncertainty: Covid-19 has forced new ways of working on schools and an unprecedented pace and intensity of change. Themes related to leadership through uncertainty, building connection vs communication and crisis response management. Helping clients build adaptability and flexibility in school structures and mindset.

Trust is the basic building block for developing the coaching relationship. Without complete confidentiality, there is no possibility for trust. We develop clear boundaries with principals and deputies availing of this confidential service. Coaching is focussed on enabling the individual to take responsibility for his or her own professional development.

Location and time of coaching is mutually agreed to suit the availability of the principal or deputy availing of the service. 

How to avail of the service

Who are you?

A Principal or a Deputy Principal*
*Currently accepting Expressions of Interest only, as pilot programme is currently in progress

What's available?

10.5 hours live coaching, typically over 7 sessions (face to face or online)

Time frame & cost

Typically over 12 months, fully funded by the Dept. of Education through CSL

Trust, Governance and Education Bodies

Rachel Doogue Coaching supports Trust, Governance and Education bodies in providing services to principals and deputies, boards of management and the leadership team of the body itself. The question often posed is How can we build capacity in our schools and have a unified approach? In meeting the needs of these bodies to provide a relevant, impactful and transformative service, we provide:

Our experience with trust, governance and education bodies has shown the importance of reflecting the ethos and values of the body in the experience of those participating. The feedback from principals and deputies to date is that they really appreciate the opportunity to come together to think in a non-judgemental and safe environment. They recognise that the experience of having time with peers where the agenda is not driven by policy and a myriad of operational issues had a significantly positive impact on their own wellbeing as well as enhancing their confidence and expertise as leaders.

Universities and Other Third Level Institutions

Rachel Doogue Coaching provides executive coaching services to academics and management staff in third level institutions across Ireland. The themes that often feature include:

Being an Authentic and Effective Leader: Executive coaching at this level is often focused on embracing the business of strategic change and influencing complex stakeholders within existing hierarchies in universities., Developing an inspirational and resilient leadership approach that is authentic to each individual is important  while navigating the best path to allow teams do their best work.

Doing the right thing: For many, doing the right thing is intrinsically linked with ‘being good’, keeping others happy, never failing or making mistakes, preventing conflict and maintaining control. The irony is that these behaviours are unsustainable and the environment uncontainable leading to overwork, compromised personal time and energy and feeling undervalued. Executive coaching allows the space for the individual to articulate their strengths, accept uncertainty, boost resilience and deploy different behaviours to achieve better outcomes.

Crisis Leadership: Today’s mix of urgency, high stakes and uncertainty (covid-19, radical change in delivery of education, challenges in funding models, increased governance etc.) will continue as the norm even after the immediate crisis may pass. Executive coaching liberates leaders to draw on their own thinking and resources to meet the challenge of working in an environment of temporary or even permanent crisis.

Career Progression: Understanding how to act up or ‘be in role’ before a promotion is critical. Coaching supports individuals in articulating the quality of their thinking and develop the skills and style needed for a new role. This has been particularly relevant to those stepping into the role of Head of Department where they have limited prior people management or operational experience.