Replied to Loosening the Shackles: Empowering Growth and Innovation (

After the demanding requirements of finishing my doctoral thesis, the mere thought of delving into another scholarly endeavour feels drainin…

School leaders must be empowered to take the reins and drive meaningful change in the realm of PL. They need the autonomy to design PL experiences that are tailored to the unique needs and context of their school community. This may involve fostering a culture of collaboration, leveraging technology to facilitate ongoing learning, or creating opportunities for job-embedded coaching and mentorship. Furthermore, school leaders require the support and resources necessary to bring their vision for PL to life. This may entail investing in PL opportunities for staff, providing time and space for collaborative enquiry and reflection, or partnering with external organisations to access expertise and resources. The success of any educational initiative hinges on the commitment and vision of its leaders. By empowering school leaders and leadership teams with the autonomy, time, and support needed to reimagine school-embedded PL, we can unlock the full potential of our educators.

Source: Loosening the Shackles: Empowering Growth and Innovation by Andrea Stringer

I read this piece a few weeks ago Andrea and it has really stayed with me.

Firstly, I feel I can relate to your point about once having a window into school via social media and blogs. However, my lack of investment in social media and the changes in that space have left me feeling far less connected. Sometimes I feel like a species caught on the wrong side of continental drift.

On your second point about leaders adapting PL to the needs and context of their school, I recently read Joel Selwood’s autobiography and he discussed the way in which he needed to transition how he lead to accommodate the needs of different group of players:

I was finding it difficult managing the transition from being part of a tough and tight premiership-winning group to needing to teach an emerging group often struggling to find what was right for them. Connecting with people inside and outside the club required more of my energy, and the standards I set for myself were not always met by others.

Although my relationships with teammates were strong enough to avoid animosity, I began to sense I needed to adapt, or my message would stop resonating. What underpinned success for me was not necessarily the same as what drove others, and I was beginning to have conversations with people inside the club about how I could be a better leader.
[Brian Cook] wanted me to develop what he labelled ‘influential skills’ on top of my ‘lead by example’ policy. He could see the young players on our list requiring more of everyone’s time.

Source: All In by Joel Selwood

Although this seems logical when you think about it, I had not considered the fact that the conditions that foster success at one point in time may not foster the same success at another point in time. I guess this comes back to your point about identity and change over time. What was intriguing was the team that he had around him to support this change, whether it be trusted teammates, ex-captain Cameron Ling, club CEO Brian Cook and psychologist Anna Box. Throughout the book, I was continually reminded that it success in any field really does take a village, I just wonder if we always provide the resources to build such a village? Instead, it can be easier to provide the answer or automate a solution, rather than invest in autonomy and self-determination.

Listened Should we be wary of so-called coaches? from

Gone are the days when coaches were only found in sporting clubs. Now, there are coaches for almost every aspect of our lives.

Divorce, retirement, career, intimacy, leadership, weight loss, finance, you name it, someone says they can coach you through it.

But as a completely unregulated field, it’s hard to know exactly what a coach offers and what makes them qualified to offer it.

Hilary Harper speaks with Dr Sean O’Connor and Carly Dober about the different iterations of coaching. With very few regulations and uniform training, there are quite a few approaches when it comes to coaching, such as cheerleading, advice, solution-focused and cognitive behaviour therapy. O’Connor touches on the history stemming from John Whitmore and the GROW approach. They discuss the limits of coaching and how it differs from working with a psychologist.

For me this reminds me of the discussions around the rise of mindfulness.

Ultimately, in different contexts and communities, mindfulness will be defined differently, practised differently, and used toward different goals. But, while these divergent definitions and purposes remain unexamined, and until there is open, clear conversation about this, there is the risk of confusion and misunderstanding as programs are implemented and evaluated.

In both cases it feels like it is important to examine the purpose of the practice so that everyone is clear.

Bookmarked The rise and rise of Australian cricket’s mastermind by Adam Burnett & Louis CameronAdam Burnett & Louis Cameron (

Across three decades in various top coaching jobs, Greg Shipperd has quietly impacted the men’s game in this country as much as just about anyone in the modern era. And he’s not done yet

Adam Burnett and Louis Cameron unpack the life and times of cricket coach, Greg Shipperd. They trace his beginnings with Tasmania, his time with Victoria, before plying his time these days with 20/20 cricket. His success is attributed to his ability to build relationships:

“The reason everyone loved him was because he was empathetic,” he says. “Some coaches treat their players as commodities; he treated them as humans.”

Associated with this, is his meticulous preparation so that players are empowered to be the best that they can:

so the messaging arrives via different mediums, each time reflecting the unique challenges of that match, but always delivered with the same intent: to provide the best preparation for his team.

Beyond the endless files of scenarios he has stored up over time, a glimpse into his preparation is provided:

Hussey and White recall their coach’s habit of preparing three whiteboards before a match, each teeming with accumulated knowledge. The first would have the 11 opposition players listed, with their strengths and weaknesses condensed into a single line next to their name. The second would have Victoria’s 11 players listed, together with their batting and bowling strategies. And a third whiteboard would have the team’s goals for the match, details on how the pitch was playing, the quality of the outfield, a session-by-session breakdown from the match as it unfolded, and so on.

With a foundation of relationships and preparation, Shepperd has shown that he is able to adjust to the particulars of any organisation.

The trick, Shipperd explains, is to tailor one’s approach to the needs of both the playing group and the organisation. In Tasmania through the 1990s, a young squad (and a relatively new addition to the competition) learning to consistently compete demanded a focus on fundamentals and selection. Later, Victoria, Melbourne Stars (with whom, Shipperd muses, things might have been different had he been given “just one more year”) and the Sixers all set their focus on regularly claiming silverware.

This reminded me of the Modern Learning Canvas and had me wondering about what story might be told from looking at Shepperds’ various teams from this perspective.

As side note, often the testament to a successful coach is how many pleayers/assistant coaches follow in the footsteps and become coaches themselves. For Shipperd this list too is continually growing.

Bookmarked Hedge School (

A weekly newsletter about learning to stand up in your own life through growth, meaning, purpose, and spirituality.

Steve Brophy has started a newsletter designed to help people with running their own race in life.

The Hedge School newsletter is designed to be the school on the side of the road. Ramshackle in appearance but situated in the moment. Just what you need. Perfect timing with a deep connection to place. You’ll feel us at the edge of new frontiers when you are in need of counsel, support and a place to be heard.

It contains a mixture of personal reflections and strategies that provide readers to go on their own journey.

Liked Paving a smooth career pathway for students by Brett Henebery (The Educator)

St Luke’s Catholic College in Sydney is employing the use of Life Coaches from Innerzone to work with teachers, and in doing so, help students unlock their potential by answering three important questions: ‘Who am I?’ ‘What are my strengths?’ and ‘What problems can I solve?’.

Through the program, which launched in 2017, students from Year 7 to 10 have learned how to unpack their strengths, interests and motivators (SIM) and discover their talents through purposeful passion projects with the intention of making life better for others.

Replied to

Ben, this reminds me of the challenge of having a manager who is also a growth coach. Assume it is not impossible, but also probably not ideal.
Listened TER #151 – Professional Coaching for Teachers with Chris Munro – 7 June 2020 from Teachers’ Education Review

I really enjoyed this curious conversation between Chris Munro and Steven Kolber about all things coaching. It touched on so many questions, such as the impact of coaching, can anyone be a coach and the different perceptions of coaching. In some ways the interview itself captured coaching as a way of being with humility and respect throughout.
RSVPed Interested in Attending Better Conversations

The aim of the program is to present a framework for improving professional dialogue within education communities and beyond. In Dr Knight’s words:

“Effective communication is an essential skill for a fulfilled life, and we can’t teach it to students if we don’t know how to do it ourselves.”

Participants begin by taking stock of their current beliefs and communication habits by considering two simple questions: Where are you now? Where do you want to be? We will then consider the “10 Habits” required for better conversations.

I like the sound of this course. I assume that this is in part about a ‘coaching way of being
Replied to With Bug-in-Ear Coaching, Teachers Get Feedback on the Fly (Education Week)

Real-time coaching through an earpiece, similar to what’s used in pro football, is a growing trend in teacher training—and there’s evidence it works.

It is interesting what in-ear support says about coaching. To me this is mentoring. Ideally, shouldn’t coach be about the coaches coming to their own realisation, rather than relying on an external voice? This reminds me of a discussion I had a few years about videoing.
Liked How To Recover from Post-Toxic-Boss Syndrome and Get Your Mojo Back (Medium)

Toxic bosses don’t want leaders working for them. They want servants. Any leadership potential or tendencies were squashed by your former boss because those characteristics were threats to his or her power. So whenever you showed some initiative or tried to take charge of something, you were told you were stupid, or completely wrong, or that you lacked the perspective that people in real positions of power had. All in an attempt to make you subservient, to make you question yourself, to make you stay in your lane and just do what your boss was telling you to do.

Great bosses, on the other hand, want other leaders working for them. They want to help develop our leadership skills, help coach us into bigger responsibilities, help us spread our wings.

Liked Coaching Is Not A One-Way Street: Why Recipients Should Learn The Value Of Feedback (Forbes)

Coaching is not a one-way street; rather, it’s a two-way street. And if we can get both parties engaged in driving the process, not only will both parties succeed, the whole team and organization will succeed.

Liked Keynote: Key coaching concepts from the perspective of a pracademic (the édu flâneuse)

My presentation explored key concepts that, in my experience, underpin the use of coaching in schools. I drew together insights from my reading, research, practical and personal experience of coaching in schools, with a particular focus on the organisational conditions necessary for coaching, and the effects of coaching on individuals and schools. I interrogated the complex interlocking elements that schools need to balance when working to build a coaching culture, including context, trust, rapport, way of being, differentiation, holonomy and semantic space.

Liked Informed, Innovative, Empowered & Successful (

Greg mentioned that some of the teachers have always been coached, as coaching has been embedded within school for over 5 years. To support teachers’ professional growth, coaching is their way of being. Greg provided me with his school ‘Evidence Book’, which had ‘Informed, Innovative, Empowered & Successful’ on the cover. I commented that this could apply to the teachers at Blairmount too. He replied, ‘and our parents too’.p

Replied to Killing Two Birds with One Stone (

Taking into account individual contexts, schools and leaders must determine the purpose of professional learning plans. Blurring the lines only causes confusion and ambiguity. Problems arise when we try and kill two birds with one stone.

This is a great post Andrea. I always found it awkward to say the least to have a coaching conversation with the same person who I set my SMART goals with. Even worse when we were all encouraged to focus on the same goals to make the process easier.
Bookmarked Why Feedback Rarely Does What It’s Meant To (Harvard Business Review)

We humans do not do well when someone whose intentions are unclear tells us where we stand, how good we “really” are, and what we must do to fix ourselves. We excel only when people who know us and care about us tell us what they experience and what they feel, and in particular when they see something within us that really works.

Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall dive into the world of feedback. They argue that in many respects, it fails to achieve the intended outcome.

Focusing people on their shortcomings doesn’t enable learning; it impairs it.

Buckingham and Goodall highlight three theories that those who believe in feedback as often accepts as true:

  • That other people are more aware than you are of your weaknesses, and that the best way to help you, therefore, is for them to show you what you cannot see for yourself.
  • That the process of learning is like filling up an empty vessel: You lack certain abilities you need to acquire, so your colleagues should teach them to you.
  • That great performance is universal, analyzable, and describable, and that once defined, it can be transferred from one person to another, regardless of who each individual is.

In response, they propose a number of strategies to support the development of others, including:

  • Look for outcomes
  • Replay your instinctive reactions
  • Explore the present, past, and future

This is something I have written about too, discussing the problem of feedback.

Replied to Balancing Professional Responsibility & Accountability (

Being linked to a salary increase, teachers and their supervisors experience an amplified workload and additional pressure. Does the outcome justify the time and effort required? If the outcome or focus is on professional growth, coaching, especially in a teacher’s first five years of teaching, could be more effective than this documented accreditation process. Coaching may also support teacher wellbeing and ultimately influence teacher retention.

The question of professionalism and accountability is such an interesting topic Andrea. I remember writing about this a few years ago in response to the question of performance pay. It feels like it is a misreading of trust and coaching.