How does individual coaching benefit the school?

Asking for funding for professional development might stop you in your tracks. Forms to fill out, scheduling a meeting to make the big ask, defending your choice of program, conference, workshop, coach, etc.


I get it. I’ve made the ask plenty of times, and now I can see the stress it creates for educators who are so accustomed to serving others that they sometimes struggle to petition for the support they need, especially when it comes to coaching. 

So, what do you do when the person whose approval you need for funding says: “This seems like something you should pay for yourself since it’s really just for you. How does coaching for one person benefit the school?”

Let’s break it down into three key points for your response (hint, one of them is not “I bet you didn’t ask person X if their conference in (insert vacation destination here) benefits the school!”)

No matter your role in a school, you are not a silo. Your work impacts the experience of students, colleagues, and families.

When you work with a coach to improve your communication skills, uncover and address the obstacles holding you back from your best work, and reflect on your practices to build your resilience in the face of adversity, you get better for everyone.

So, how many people in your school community are affected by your work?

For example, imagine a Dean of Students at a school with an enrollment of 250 and a staff of 45 – that’s 295 people. In just one year, that educator is working with students directly every day and is setting policies that affect everyone on campus. The ripple effect is huge, and it doesn’t end that year. If 65 students graduate and 5 members of the staff move on, they all get replaced by new students and colleagues. That same Dean will, at the end of year two, have worked on behalf of 365 people. And we’re not even tallying the parent conversations, the meetings with the Board of Trustees, or their role in recruiting great new talent.An investment in the growth of one person is an investment in the growth of the community because no one in a school exists in total isolation.

The individual nature of coaching allows your professional development to be school-specific and hyper-responsive.


What does that mean for the school?

Well, let’s compare it to a once-a-year conference. When your school invests in sending you to a conference, there is a “return on investment” (ROI) that is understood because the model is familiar.

Best case scenario: You go to a bunch of sessions, get inspired by some fabulous speakers, and come back to campus with ideas to share. That’s great! Occasionally, you strike gold with an idea you can implement at your own school, and you use something you learned to change how you work. Your ROI here is pretty good. Yay!

Other times, you find that as exciting as some of the ideas were, they just don’t apply to your school or your work. What can you do with what you learned? You file the ideas away to come back to and move on with the way things were. That is a low ROI.

Coaching is ongoing professional development. No one-and-done ideas. No failure to implement. You decide the priorities for your work, establish your goals, and keep the work moving forward week to week and month to month. Your coach is there to remind you of your goals, bring you back to your priorities when the whirlwind takes you away, and support you as you build lasting habits for a more engaged and fulfilling “new normal” way of working.

The ROI? Pretty darn high. Every session is time well spent. Every conversation is relevant to you as you work through solutions that are specific to your school and your current situation. When you get off track – which we all do – you have built-in support to help you get back to where you need to be for yourself and your school. That means money well spent.


(BTW I’m not putting down conferences here. I love conferences! I’m sure I’ll see many of you at TABS in November! But, a quick conference may not be the professional development you actually need right now if you’re overwhelmed by a new role, feeling burned out, or struggling to communicate effectively in today’s educational landscape.)

Coaching with OES is for educators only.

If you need a life coach, a nutrition coach, or a dance coach, I can’t help you. Have you ever seen me dance? It’s not pretty.

Educator coaching is consultative by design. That means a coachee (the person receiving support) is working on themselves as an educator in a school setting, and the coach is an expert in the field who can give informed guidance.

Consultive coaching means having someone to (as my 8-year-old loves to say) literally consult with on any issue.

Upset after a difficult meeting with the rest of the leadership team, and you feel like you’re not being heard? Tell your coach (not your neighbor at lunch) all about it so I can help you reflect on your assumptions, figure out the root cause of the conflict, and create a playbook for how to move forward productively.

Do you need some time to vent about your neighbor’s annoying cat? Vent away – we’ll get you through that, talk about how to communicate with that person (who, if you’re in boarding school, is also your colleague), and then you’ll have the mental and emotional bandwidth to get back to your professional priorities.

You’re overwhelmed because you are discovering the 756 duties on your plate that were not in the job description. I’ll go through them with you, figure out what tasks you’re taking on that are really not meant for you, help you craft a plan for how the rest is going to get done, and share resources with you from my own work that can move your project along faster.

Coaching for educators is personal – but that’s because being an educator is deeply personal work. Who you are as a person and how you are showing up in your job cannot be untangled. But they can be symbiotic if you have the time and space to work through what’s not working and design a better way forward.


If you are considering working with a coach, whether with OES or someone else, let’s talk. 

In 30 minutes, we’ll identify what has you feeling overwhelmed (or frustrated or burned out) and then plan the first step toward renewed purpose, engagement, and fulfillment together. 

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