Early Headship Coaching Offer - Why it is so crucial for supporting Head Teachers

Early Headship Coaching Offer - Why it is so crucial for supporting Head Teachers

Apprenticeship Tutor
Written by Alis Rocca | Lead Facilitator, Early Headship Coaching Offer

Alis has been a Headteacher, is a leadership performance coach, and is an education consultant and presenter, working with schools to develop empowered leaders for individual and organisational success. Alis has a Masters Degree in Leadership from Cambridge University. As Lead Facilitator for our Early Headship Coaching Offer, she leads a crucial programme that supports Headteachers in the early stages of their career. 

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The challenges of Headship

Headship has always been one of the most rewarding jobs to do. As a Headteacher you have the opportunity to support and develop so many other people - children and colleagues, as well as parents and carers. In this role you get to influence the lives and futures of others and help them to reach their full potential. What can be more rewarding?

However, with such responsibility comes challenge and with challenge comes the inevitable stresses and strains that challenges can bring. So how do you cope with these as a Headteacher? How do you keep to your moral purpose when by doing so you may cause upset? How do you stay resilient, confident and focused when there are always outside influences and concerns that make you question and doubt? Perhaps question the very system you are working to promote, or doubt your own abilities and skills.

What support I used

 As a Headteacher there were a few things that helped me through some of the toughest times. Whether those difficult times were around staff competency; around developing and embedding an unwanted, new strategy that would move the whole school forward; or about dealing with disgruntled or dissatisfied parents putting in a formal complaint to governors.

Having a leadership coach

The first thing that really helped me was having a great leadership coach to meet with regularly.  These coaching sessions gave me time to press the pause button. To pause and reflect on what was happening for me in school at that time and what were the major challenges. Through our discussions and the careful use of questioning from the coach, I was able to pick through these situations and discover my own answers and next steps to move things forward. I would be able to leave each session with a plan of action that would give me confidence and resilience to put into place what needed to be actioned, in a strategic and effective manner.

Reading evidence based research

Another thing that helped in those early days of Headship was spending time reading evidence based research. This empowered me to make decisions that were based on proven research, where impact had been shown. This meant that when I looked at how this could work in my own school context,  and then planned  and  shared those plans with governors and staff, I was in a more confident position to answer questions and challenges. I was in a more confident position to know and understand why a certain strategy would work and was a necessity in raising standards for the children in my school.


Finally, networking was a huge help. Being able to meet with and speak to experienced Head Teachers who could share their journeys with me. Who could highlight things that I should be doing and were not yet even on my radar! Who could talk me through processes and systems that worked for them in their school as well as what didn’t! What to expect in certain scenarios and how to work effectively with governors, parents, staff. Leadership is a complex thing and having a network of experienced practitioners who were willing to mentor and guide, advise and challenge was an excellent way for me to learn. As well as this, I had the opportunity to network with colleagues who were also new to Headship. This was helpful on another level. We were able to be honest and open with each other. To discuss and share our hopes and fears! To talk through problems we were finding and to share ideas and resources that we had discovered, and felt had worked well. 

Our Early Headship Coaching Offer (EHCO)

The Early Headship Coaching Offer with Best Practice has been designed with all of these aspects of early headship support in mind. By participating on this programme you will have a leadership coach with whom you will build an effective relationship across the 12 months. Giving you opportunities to reflect and decide on your own actions to solve problems or to develop your leadership skills. You will have planned times to meet and network with both peers and experienced leaders to give you the chance to hear the leadership journeys of others, to see different perspectives, and to gain new ideas and resources that work. You will also have regular ‘core business’ recordings that are short podcasts by leaders around key aspects of headship such as governance, finance, HR and more. And finally, you will have access to a large library of current research, practice pieces and papers that will help you to gain more insight into all aspects of leading a school.

The Early Coaching Headship Offer will give you an individualised support programme for  12 months, available to everyone in the first 5 years of their headship. Because you get to choose what areas you need support in from the outset, using a skills audit,  the programme will be effective in the way you need it to be. Giving you support, empowering you to lead in the way that you know aligns with your own values and principles, within your own unique school context.

Find out more about EHCO

View our EHCO programme