Back to school on the value of coaching in the public sector

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

Coaching is often portrayed as a luxury item, the kind of personal development that is only attainable when you have reached the very top in the corporate sector or are blessed with unlimited income. This could not be further from the true intent or purpose of coaching.

Coaching is uniquely suited to meeting the needs of those in education and public service because it rests on 5 key skills.

1. The skill of rapport - the basis for all coaching is the confidence and security created between the coach and coachee. This is created by trust, confidentiality and genuine kinship with those committed to service oriented professions such as education.

2. The skill of high quality listening - those in education can understand the value of listening. Raising the quality of listening provides educators with a gift, where the coach puts aside their own self to focus entirely on someone else.

3. The skill of deep intuition - a skilled coach knows where to take the conversation without forcing anything uncomfortable on the coachee. The confidence that the coach’s insight offers an educator builds trust and resilience.

4. The skill of asking questions - educators spend a great deal of time asking questions. This happens so much that they may have lost the joy that comes from being asked a meaningful question themselves. Questions spark confidence, build psychological safety and allow for creative exploration.

5. The skill of supportive, clean feedback - an external coach or mentor is a lifeline to those on the front line in challenging jobs. Feedback in coaching is not a review process and is not linked to pay or status. It is designed to increase the atmosphere for learning, prompt awareness and underpin consistent, meaningful, resilient change.

How do these skills help build resilience at work ?

Building Presence - Quite simply the coaching space allows the coachee “ time to think ”. Being present with another living, learning, growing human is a privilege.

Building Empathy - Coaching gives and builds empathy. This positive regard for the coachee offers the gift of tuning in to one’s own thinking, feeling and needs first before we seek to help others.

Being Expressive - understanding how to dial up and dial down on helpful and unhelpful emotions is critical to those in education. This ability to be expressive without getting drained helps all potential leaders to be better communicators.

Knowing yourself - at the heart of a great leadership and great influence is the ability to be truthful about who we are. Coaching allows us to clarify our values precisely and then practice aligning our decisions consistently with these values.

Practising resilience - Coaching provides coachees the insight to define the choices they do have. It allows them to see exactly how acting on those choices will help them recover quickly from disappointments and setbacks.

We are all practising something all the time, whether we know it or not. Coaching helps to shift our mindset from “perfect every time” to “practising new insight & new actions” throughout our careers.