Coaching the Coaches: Launching a Leadership Coaching Programme to Provide Transformational Professional Development to Our Facilitators

by Cat Rushton

Director of ATT Institute

Prior to launching our leadership coaching programme at Academy Transformation Trust, we faced a scenario where our most skilled leaders frequently assumed the role of delivering professional development. This posed a challenge in securing their entitlement to meaningful and tailored developmental opportunities. Additionally, we have always recognised that the geographical spread of our academies limits the opportunities for colleagues to build informal supportive relationships between educational settings. Therefore, we have developed systems designed to give space for relationships to form and we constantly pursue new and innovative ways in which we can continue this work, with the aim of sustaining Trust culture and enhancing the sense of collective endeavour.


“We needed an approach that aligned with our values, including being research informed, inclusive and developmental”


Leadership coaching offered an opportunity to provide our most senior colleagues, including the executive team, with meaningful development opportunities which would allow them to not only support their allocated coachees but also work differently with their teams and apply coaching conversations within the remit of their roles. Leadership coaching also allowed us to identify senior colleagues, including all of those being trained as coaches, to be coached by a colleague. This offered tailored support for our most skilled leaders by providing space for reflection and opportunities to slow down thinking processes to allow for insight and strategy to emerge.


Not all coaching provision is made equal, and we felt strongly that we needed an approach that aligned with our values, including being research informed, inclusive and developmental. My initial meeting with Alison allowed me to share the organisational challenge and she asked a range of expert questions to determine how we could co-construct a solution that matched the organisational need, her expertise allowing her to carefully craft a bespoke coaching programme.


At regular intervals since commencing the programme we have sought feedback from both coaches and coachees, with this providing unanimously positive feedback about both the leadership coaching programme and the experience of being coached. Coaches have reported the impact both on their ability to explicitly coach, but also their confidence in utilising opportunities for informal coaching conversations within their roles. Coachees have described a feeling of being invested in by the Trust and its leaders, as well as improvements in their ability to solve the complex challenges faced in educational leadership roles.


As we continue with our commitment to developing a coaching organisation, leadership coaching has provided the space for leaders grapple with the complex, build meaningful supportive relationships and embedded the mindset of curiosity within our leaders.

We’re welcoming a brand new leadership coaching cohort this July!

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