Team Coaching & Group Facilitation
Education Sector

"A team is a small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
Katzenback and Smith (HBR, March 1993)

For many school leadership and ISM teams, this beautifully crafted definition of high-performing teams presents a real challenge and prompts questions such as.

  • Are we a team?
  • Are we agreed on what our leadership team purpose is? How different is that to what I see as my own individual role?
  • Are we creating the right conditions to capitalise on everyone’s strengths and skills?
  • Are we focused on addressing what’s really important for our school?
  • How do we work effectively when there is such limited time within a school day?
  • Are we prepared to address unhelpful behaviour and make some tough decisions?
  • Are we sharing responsibility appropriately and delivering as a team?
  • Do we all need to be here?
  • Do my colleagues have my back?
  • Are we doing our best thinking in this team?
“Team coaching is partnering with the team while unleashing its potential to collaborate, to achieve its collective purpose.”
Team Coaching Studio 2019

CSL Team Coaching for ISM

Rachel Doogue Coaching has had the pleasure and privilege of working with school principals and school leadership teams in Ireland since 2017 through the CSL Principal, Deputy and Team Coaching Programmes. We are constantly bowled over by their commitment to the growth, development and education of the children and young adults of Ireland.

School leadership team coaching, run by the Centre for School Leadership, is a professional, coaching-based developmental approach. The programme enables school leadership teams to direct their journey towards an empowered and team-led leadership model, envisioned by the Department of Education.

Recognising the scale and complexity of the demands of running a school this service provides time and space for school leadership teams to reflect on their roles and how they work in a collaborative manner.

Team coaching helps members of a school leadership team to:

  • Build trust
  • Clarify significant issues
  • Develop distributed leadership
  • Create better strategies and processes
  • Work collaboratively
  • Make more effective decisions
  • Energise commitment
  • Overcome conflict
  • Ensure that time is focused only on what is important
  • Manage difficult stakeholders
  • Align their work as leaders with better student outcomes.

In our experience coaching School Leadership Teams, we often experience members of school leadership teams as needing to let go the stuff that made them successful as individual contributors (teachers who are experts in their subject) and embrace the notion of getting work done through others. As team coaches, we support teams and become discerning about their best leadership approach, helping them define their roles, see their strengths, and determine the behaviours that best serve others.

CSL Team Coaching Programme

Who are you?

A Principal or a Deputy Principal who has availed of a minimum of four individual coaching sessions through CSL

Who can avail of team coaching?

Up to 8 members of the school leadership team, including the principal and deputies

What's available?

8 hours live team coaching, typically over 4-6 sessions (face to face or online)

Time frame & cost

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

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Rachel Doogue Coaching Coaches have a vast range of experience and a style and approach that will best support school principals and school leadership teams. We have a unique breadth of coaching skills having worked in education, public sector and private sectors at the highest level, so we can genuinely speak to the complexity of leadership, team working and change management.

We recognise the importance of leadership for good learning outcomes for students and that the development of a coaching culture and applying coaching behaviours in schools is a critical next step in school development. We are committed to delivering a best practice coaching service, in a professional and high-quality manner. At the root of our professionalism and quality of service is our appreciation that all schools and individuals involved are different. We are committed to understanding the individual needs and unique circumstances of each school principal and their leadership team.

Group Facilitation for School Leaders

A group consists of individuals who are independent of each other and have different and clearly defined sets of tasks

As facilitators for leadership groups such as principals and deputies, we run sessions and manage meetings to explore several questions or critical issues relevant to all members of the group. Those attending typically are from different schools but all members of the same post primary trust body, ETB or primary principal regional group. Facilitation is also very valuable across departments in third level institutions, in trust bodies and supporting school amalgamations.

Principals and Deputies have really appreciated the opportunity to come together to think in a non-judgmental and safe environment. Members of the group are not looking to be told what to do; they are looking to share insights and do their best thinking with colleagues. They recognise that the experience of having time with peers where the agenda is not driven by policy and a myriad of operational issues, has a significantly positive impact on their own wellbeing and enhances their confidence, expertise and thinking as leaders.

In this context, our responsibility is to:

  • Facilitate the session to keep the balance and energy in the group
  • Help the group capture and organise its best thinking
  • Guide the group to come to a point of clarity on recommendations or ideas
  • Enable the group to agree on actions and take those actions.

We use the Time to Think™ approach and techniques such as Thinking Councils, Thinking Pairs and Dialogue to achieve quality outcomes and create an easeful experience.

Through group facilitation, individuals find they:

  • Contribute their best thinking to address important questions or critical issues
  • Can articulate their thinking and be heard in a respectful way
  • Are more motivated to support the decisions made and deliver on actions agreed because of their investment in the process
  • Are supported to constructively resolve conflicts and clarify misunderstandings
  • Get more done as the structure and process is led by the facilitator towards achieving an outcome
  • Realise and respect that responsibility for implementing decisions lies with everyone.

Group Facilitation can be 2-hour, half-day or full-day sessions.

Examples of questions addressed at recent principal facilitation sessions

  • How can I work more sustainably in my role as Principal?
  • How can we more effectively tackle underperformance across our schools?
  • How can we engage the quieter majority in our schools?
  • How can we work together as school leaders to improve school development?

Click the button below to discuss how we can support your group, do your best thinking, and achieve the best outcomes.