Executive coaching for school leaders increases student achievement and learning by helping school leaders become more successful, implementing change in their schools and lasting long enough to ensure that constructive change actually occurs. Without forward movement, the school will retreat. Given the state of many schools, withdrawing is a disaster. In any school, no matter how good it is, change is very important for learning, which is a matter of school home.
School CEOs – principals, directors, executive directors – have complex jobs and many demands.
In the end, they are responsible for all aspects of school operations. From student achievement and curriculum to finance and facilities, the principal is responsible. That’s where the responsibility stops, regardless of school resources or practicality of purpose.
It’s no surprise that the average tenure of a private school head is 4.5 years. Public school principal tenure is about the same – 5 years for elementary school principals, 4.5 years for middle school principals and 3.5 years for high school principals.
One doesn’t need to be an organizational rocket scientist to know that :
- A leader’s first year on the job is mostly about learning the culture and operations, building relationships, and determining what and how to change.
- In the second year, school leaders might have ideas to make some changes. In the best-case scenario, the faculty joins to make changes at the end of the second year.
- In the third year, change begins to take place.
- In year four, if the change is going well – which is rare – real progress begins.
The data show that most school leaders are on their way out the door when real change is just beginning.
This cycle is repeated thousands and thousands of times at the expense of students and learning.
It doesn’t need to be like this. Schools can support leaders, extend their working lives and increase their success with executive coaching. Executive coaching helps school leaders understand their new school landscape faster, increase self-awareness, build relationships, identify areas that need to be improved, and develop action plans to improve personal and leadership effectiveness. Coaching deepens understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement. In addition to strengthening leadership, executive coaching helps leaders avoid problems.
Through executive training, leaders gain insight into their own behavior and how to change it to achieve their goals. Most school leaders, despite their obvious successes, have behaviors that prevent success. These behaviors in school leadership roles, which are highly political, can quickly create a downward slope that is very hard to reverse. Talking confidentially with a coach outside the school helps leaders reflect constructively and creatively to solve complex problems and make behavioral changes that lead to greater success.
Coaches have no agenda other than to help clients be successful. School leader clients are successful when they help students learn. Creating an engaging, challenging and rewarding learning environment for students is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. This is far more difficult than being a quarterback or company executive, and they don’t incur costs when it comes to training.