The Power of Coaching – Staying Grounded
The Power of Coaching: How to stay grounded without being ground down.
There are times when the different demands we meet in our working lives can grind us down. This is certainly true of anyone working in the education sector, who may start out a term feeling confident and optimistic but soon begin to feel pulled in different directions and overstretched.
This is hardly surprising as the driving forces at work from day to day are strong.
What Drives Us?
First, there is our own motivation for choosing to work in the education sector, often value-driven, idealistic and very close to our hearts.
Then, there are the learners whose interests are central to what we do. So often, I hear the refrain “What I love most about my job is being with the learners and seeing them grow.” Yet, they also have needs and demands that require considerable energy and resourcefulness to deal with, sometimes stretching us to the limit.
After that, there are the other staff we work with. How can we best relate to them for our mutual benefit and cope when they behave in ways we find difficult to fathom or come to terms with?
Then, there are the policies, procedures and ways of doing things (culture) of the organisation we are working for. We need to learn about these, adapt to them and embed them in our practice even when they sit uncomfortably with us.
In addition, there are the many external factors – local, regional and national – that we have to make sense of such as new initiatives, frameworks and guidelines about what makes a balanced and broad curriculum or what constitutes good practice.
Finally, as if we could forget, there are the auditors and inspectorates such as Ofsted, always there in the background and influencing what we do.
What Support is There?
The training offered to help us navigate through these different driving forces is wide-ranging, taking us from nationally accredited qualifications to short courses, in-house training, workshops and 1-2-1 support, supervision and private study. Very often, they are focused on acquiring knowledge and understanding about a specific topic, optimising performance and gaining hard outcomes and results. This is vital in helping us build up the competences and skills we need to fulfil our role to a high standard.
Space to Breathe
Yet, it can seem unrelenting at times. Where is the space for us to learn and develop in our own particular ways as we pause and find our bearings, looking at ourselves and what is going on around us with a balanced sense of perspective?
We need this space if we are to stay grounded instead of feeling pushed and pulled in different directions and gradually worn out.
One powerful way of finding such a safe, non-judgmental space is by taking up coaching support, preferably outside the workplace in surroundings that remove us from routine associations and strains.
Rather than direct us this way and that, telling us how to go about a task and giving advice, the support is more open, inviting us to draw on our own strengths and inner resources while building up on areas that might be blocking us.
It gives us the opportunity to pause, step back and reflect on our working lives, exploring how they are affecting us, disentangling the knot of different demands, finding clarity, thinking through issues, problem-solving and arriving at creative solutions about how best to proceed.
It leaves us feeling energised, positive and resilient so that we remain grounded at the best and worst of times.