coaching, Women and Leadership



 “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw.

Change is hard. It challenges us. It threatens our existence as we know it.

Sometimes it is easier to hold onto what we know then to be open to a new way, a new life, a new way of being. Change requires us to know who we are.

As teachers this requires an honest reflection on the personal and the professional. It requires an understanding of the professional context in which we operate and the personal demands of our situation.

If we want to grow and develop in our role as educator and leader, if we want to progress as husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend we need to change. We need to reflect. Coaching can unlock these changes and it can support that journey of change.

As George Bernard Shaw says progress is dependent upon change. What are you going to change this term? #growth #coaching #changeispossible


Creativity, identity, Women and Leadership

The Nude Lip



They say that a great nude lip is like a comfortable pair of jeans or your favourite white t shirt. You feel totally relaxed in your self, in your skin.

The great nude lip is is me, but more. Enhanced.

I have been immersed in data collection and a journey of interviews and email exchanges with the most amazing women leaders, each one beautiful as they struggle to lead, be their best self, innovate create, challenge and support the students and teachers in their educational space.

But very few are totally relaxed in their own skin.

If these lipsticks could become for me tools to describe each one of the women, there would be a chaotic mix of colour. Some have found a close match to their natural, own self, while others are still trying on ‘Mummy’s lipstick’ and there are those whose quest to find ‘who I am’ has led them to apply Geisha style, theatrical lips. And at times it is smudged and undefined.

There is a performative edge to self discovery, we see kids doing this don’t we? Experimenting. And we encourage them. But as adults we are expected to have it all sorted. Perhaps this makes the challenge for women to find themselves in role more complex.

Bobbi Brown‘s advice is that a great nude lip is 1-2 shades lighter than your natural lip colour. And I like this beauty advice. If lipstick is a tool here for women leaders in education, then finding their true identity is only 1-2 shades away.

These shades are achieved via a little coaching, some great online professional learning, reflective practice, support and challenge of colleagues. It is also achieved with time to build experience and best practice, to fail and make mistakes. To have a coffee and to get back up again and keep trying. Being a woman in educational leadership today is challenging. The professional demands are too many to describe here and the personal ones are equally as complex. But there is reward in serving others in the role of leader. You can do it. Be your best self. Find your great nude lip colour.

So what shade of nude will you choose today?



Education, Women and Leadership

The Boss



Women and leadership. I am sure I we could learn a thing or to from Gina Torres’ character Jessica Pearson in the USA network TV series Suits. Yes it is glamorous, the fashion is outrageously good, if not unbelievable and it is set in New York. But it is the interactions, the quick wit and exchanges between those working in the large law firm that keep me coming back. And let’s face it is refreshing to see a confident, sexy, no nonsense woman at the top do her job and lead. Being the boss.

In the latest series 6 episode 2 Jessica says to Louis  Litt something along of the lines of –

Louis you are not good at self reflection, but if someone holds up the mirror you are not afraid to look.

As I am in throws of confirming participants for my research project and starting the interview process I am encountering some women who are afraid to look. Afraid to reflect, to take the time to recount their journey, to pause and connect the dots. To me this says so much. I am too busy. I am worried about what I might say. I don’t have time. I am used to being silent.

And it causes me to ask myself, am I too busy to look in the mirror and really look at who I am. This is the story of women and leadership, the journey, the triumphs and the challenges. It is a story of identity and ‘who am I’. It is your story too.

Creativity, new ideas, Professional Learning Networks, Women and Leadership



Are you with me? Have you heard this term saturate the media. I am reading about it, hearing about it, listening as it rolls of the tip of the tongue of our social commentators. A disruptor. Are you a disruptor?

It seems the rest of the world is preoccupied with innovation and entrepreneurs. We are on the look out for the next big idea, process or product. The person who will not just take us from a to b, but move us beyond what we thought was even possible in our field.

According to Caroline Howard ‘disruptors are innovators but not all innovators are disruptors.’ A disruptor is someone who can can displace something in the market or industry and replace it with something new, efficient and worthwhile. Someone who is creative and determined and willing to take risks.

But how do we be disruptors when it comes to teaching and learning? How can we embrace that new, impactful thinking, process or product in our teaching? How do we apply it to our own professional learning? Think Wikipedia and the way it has radically changed the way we access information, fast. Or the digital camera and personal smartphone. There are examples of disruptive innovation in our home and workspaces, it is everywhere. But to be the one, the person with that idea, a seed for change.  Are you willing to make some changes and be the disruptor in your school or educational organisation?

I wonder what it would look like….



coaching, Growth Coaching, identity, leadership, Professional Learning Networks

Coaching and Identity



I have started reading more about coaching. The formal process and underlying ideas that speak to the benefits of coaching in education. I am always looking for the connection between professional learning and identity formation. This image from Growth Coaching International uses the idea of GROWTH – Goals, Reality, Options, Will, Tactics and Habits, to define and  capture what is happening in the coaching relationship. Trust is being built as the relationship develops, as goals are articulated and achieved.

Professional identity is constantly being formed and reformed as the personal and professional selves interact with one another. Coaching therefore is as much as about shaping identity and allowing the professional self to shine as it is about meeting goals. It is a transaction between head and heart, which is why those who are evangelists for coaching know the power and complexity of change that is taking place in both the coach and the coachee.

My Professional Learning Network has supported many of my ideas around coaching and identity.

These blogs (Chris and Deb) have directed  recent adventures in coaching and identity as  has the educoachOC  blog.


Education, professional learning, Teacher Indentity

The Key to Powerful Learning

LLavesThe most powerful aspect of TeachMeet, Twitter and other teacher-driven professional learning is the element of choice.   

Matthew Esterman

I have been pondering this comment from Mr Esterman who blogs here. The power of professional learning is choice. There is no one size fits all. Learning is organic, dynamic, constantly changing and transforming itself as we encounter new ideas, understandings and a range of face to face and online networks. But we need to own it. Own the process and choose to allow it to be powerful.

The challenge for me it to enact these choices in a context that finds change difficult; in a context that finds new modes of professional learning difficult to ‘see’.

A “Teacherwhat?” I hear people ask. “In my own time?” another colleague mutters. “Twitter. I just do Facebook,” responds yet another fellow teacher.

I am choosing to learn. To be shaped by the amazing world out there that inspires, challenges and extends my thinking, learning, teaching and knowledge. But how do we engage others to choose teacher led professional learning? Teacher…..tell me?

professional learning

Professional Development Essentials


Professional development is essential to all occupations, but how it is negotiated, debated, contested and articulated in education is insightful. According to Nick Morrison, who reports on the Teacher Development Trust, a charity focused on raising awareness of the importance of professional development, professional development and learning needs to be meaningful. This report  from the Teacher Development Trust aims to fill a gap in our knowledge about teacher learning. It has identified the following key elements of great professional development:

  • Duration: effective professional development lasts at least two semesters, and needs a ‘rhythm’ of follow-up and consolidation;
  • Targeted: the content should be relevant to the teachers’ needs and day-to-day experiences;
  • Aligned: no single activity is universally effective – instead it is a combination that reinforced the message from different perspectives that works;
  • Content: successful development must consider both subject knowledge and subject-specific teaching techniques;
  • Activities: successful development features common types of activities including discussion, experimentation and analysis and reflection;
  • External input: constructive external input provides new perspectives and challenges orthodoxies;
  • Collaboration: peer support gives participants an opportunity to work together and refine new approaches;
  • Leadership: effective leaders get involved in development, define opportunities and provide the support needed to embed change.

It is clear that current PD delivery needs to change.

“It needs to be embedded in a school’s culture, and rather than ticking boxes it has to be well-thought out and executed.”

Let’s start thinking!