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Case study: Orley Farm

We recently had the pleasure of working with Orley Farm - a prep school for students aged 3 to 13 - using our HELP Method, the process in which we guide schools to hook staff members onto the benefits of coaching, experience coaching for themselves, learn how to coach others, and practise coaching conversations with members of their team.

Orley Farm were incredibly successful at the initial stages of setting up and embedding a coaching culture within their school, starting at level two of the van Nieuwerburgh and Passmore journey to a coaching culture, ‘engaging in professional external coaching’.

The success of their implementation had two key contributors: who signed up and how. Around 20% of staff were involved from across the school. Creating buzz and excitement around the prospect of coaching, the school presented the opportunity as not only a chance for one-to-one coaching but with the added extra of professional development through coach training.

Staff were asked to volunteer their interest, a decision crucially important to creating the right environment for a successful coaching culture. Allowing staff the chance to determine their own involvement sets the standard for engagement and enthusiasm for coaching across the whole school. Participants were also selected vertically through the school hierarchy. Rather than focus on the senior leadership team or middle leaders, the first cohort selected staff at various levels from contrasting areas of the organisation.

We coached the head, deputy heads, heads of departments, teachers and teaching assistants, as well as those in the administrative team. All participants took part in one-to-one coaching and were subsequently trained in coaching skills. They are currently completing their practice sessions.

The next stage of embedment for Orley Farm is the consideration of how coaching can work for all staff across the network. The advantage they already have is one of inclusivity, with coaching participants from across the school. They must now continue in their approach to instil a coaching culture with confidence.

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