Synergia inspires a ‘coaching culture’ at Pipers Corner School

Following a series of coaching sessions with Synergia, Pipers Corner School has begun implementing a coaching culture throughout the entire school.

Pipers Corner is an independent day school for girls aged from four to 18. Following a training session held by Synergia for the Senior Leadership Team and the Heads of Years, Headmistress Helen Ness-Gifford agreed to run the ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring course and opened it up to the whole school and external schools.

Eight people took the opportunity, including two staff members from the Royal Grammar School of High Wycombe. Assistant Head (Academic) Caroline Derbyshire and Director of Digital Strategy Alex Rees were on the course and said: “It was a great opportunity to enhance the school and now we’re factoring coaching in to our strategic planning going forward. Having completed the course we have ensured that all Heads of Department have been trained in how to effectively use coaching methods when working with department members to ensure that decisions made regarding future progress in both their careers and professional working methods are considered and agreed rather than just imposing a ‘top down’ approach. This has allowed teaching staff to take much more ownership of the direction they wish to travel and had also allowed for a consistent approach across the school.

“The more we learned on the course the better we understood where new skills could enhance different areas within the school. Classroom teachers are better prepared for dealing with students and heads of years can have a solid strategy in place for difficult conversations with parents.

“One of the systems we have adopted is the GROW model (Goal Reality Options Will) which gives more structure to meetings. Teachers start with the difficult points and then together in the meetings they can reflect on these and the come up with a combined solution. An added benefit to this is we are having shorter meetings which are much more focused and effective.”

The school has seen a benefit in the coaching approach in management situations such as appraisals too. Alex and Caroline added: “Our PDR (Personal Development Reviews) are open discussions now and hopefully, that means staff are much more fulfilled.

“The coaching culture has been such a success we are hoping to roll it out across the student body too. By starting in year 10 we are aiming to offer the students a lower level qualification in coaching. They will all be taught the basics and this will help them for mentoring the students in the lower year groups in the school. They would also be able to continue it into the Sixth Form and into their chosen career.

“We know the reality of rolling a new process out may take a while, however Synergia has delivered a coaching session on ‘barriers to implementing a coaching culture’ which has been incredibly useful.”

The team completed the Synergia course in October 2017 and have been inspired to continue coaching others ever since.

To see which course might be right for you visit our courses page or call the team on 01785 711 593.