I am pleased that the Department of Education is slowly getting its act together and is recognising the benefit of coaching. I recently signed up to the pledge as a coach. There were a few teething problems - they didn't receive my original application and when they finally put together the list the documents on the website wouldn't open. Now it all seems to be working - in theory. The list of people offering their services is now available for all to see.
I am based in the South East but not necessarily limited geographically as I also coach by phone and Skype. I was concerned to see how few people in the South East who have signed up to the pledge have any coaching qualification. There were even fewer (5 I think in the South East including myself) who are members of a professional coaching association. I have no doubt that many of the people on the list would make great mentors but coaching is completely different. Anyone can call themselves a coach as the profession is as yet unregulated but I believe it's down to us to have the integrity to be honest about our capabilities. I have never held a leadership position in a school and I would never claim to have that experience.
I suppose it comes down to the old adage of you get what you pay for. Most of the people said they worked with the GROW model. There is nothing wrong with that but there is so much more to coaching! I am now learning to value myself and I am no longer going to offer my services for free. I spent a year qualifying as a coach to be accredited by the EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) to pass their rigorous standards. Most of the course was developing our own self awareness, something that is still sadly lacking from ITT but I have a vision that one day it will be given equal consideration to pedagogy. I spend time on my own personal and professional development every day as well as still attending courses, retreats and workshops to further my own self awareness.
I now feel that by being part of this programme I am devaluing my services. The DFE is also devaluing our profession. My qualification is akin to a postgraduate certificate. I want to fully commit myself to being the best coach I can be and give teachers the experience I wish I had had. I am therefore removing myself from this pledge as I feel it compromises my professional integrity.
It's a bit like someone applying for a job as a teacher because they have helped their children with their homework. Would you employ them? I am concerned that, like mindfulness, coaching is becoming the latest fad in education with anyone and everyone thinking because they have had a bit of coaching or they've been on a workshop they can do it.
How much do you value yourself or your staff? Using an unqualified coach is likely to be ineffective at best. I believe you would be better off using a senior member of your team as a mentor. If you are serious about coaching then the investment will pay off. If you would like to discuss the differences between coaching and mentoring to decide which is best for your staff then please feel free to contact us for a no obligation consultation.