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Case study: Deira International School

At The Educational Coach, we, too, offer a multi-level approach, believing the coaching journey should be one the whole school embarks upon. At Deira International School, Dubai, our lead coach and founder, Julie Keyes, joined members of the senior leadership and management teams to share her coaching wisdom.

Offering an IB Programme and an English National Curriculum-based learning experience for pupils aged 3 to 18, Deira approached us for one-to-one coaching for the senior leadership team across the primary and secondary departments of the school. With a strong focus on personal growth and professional development, Julie used a strengths-based approach with the coachees over the six-month programme.

Following the success of this initial coaching, we were delighted to receive an invitation back to Deira to deliver the Every Conversation programme, where we supported staff to create the foundations on which to build a culture of coaching.

Starting with the senior leadership team, Julie and her associates delivered coach training followed by facilitated practice sessions - an approach that allows the coachee to use their experience of the coaching process from their own one-to-one coaching sessions to effectively and empathetically coach others. Coach training and facilitated practice sessions were then rolled out to include the senior management team.

Excited by the impact of coaching, senior members were keen to share their newfound knowledge and excitement with the rest of the staffing body, with the implementation of a coaching culture at the forefront of their minds.

Our second visit to Deira set two goals: firstly, to reflect upon the execution of the strategy to embed a coaching culture across the school - and, importantly, its success. Secondly, to train the second cohort in coaching skills.

On their coaching journey with The Educational Coach, Deira International School has moved from ‘informal external coaching’ - level one on the pyramid model used in Coaching in Education - through to ‘professional external coaching’, adopting ‘coaching as a management style’ and now aiming for levels four and five: ‘coaching for all’ and ‘coaching across the network’. Aligning with our HELP Method, the pyramid model illustrates the stages we share with our schools when adopting the use of a coaching culture. We encourage the movement from the initial experience of coaching, advancing to training on how to coach and the practice required to build and develop the skill.

The steps Deira have put in place to embed coaching in the wider community are ensuring continued success. Implementing a structure with a strong focus on pedagogy has guided the most successful outcome of all; professional development conversations are now wholly coaching conversations, looking to develop the teacher as a whole and supporting them both personally and professionally.

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