Training Talk - Working Together


A coaching course enabled Lisa Fern and her team to overcome differences in opinion. By Gabriella Jozwiak

Communication between busy senior leaders is challenging at any large nursery. At Grandpont Nursery School and Childcare in Oxford, this is one area staff have improved following personalised coaching sessions delivered by Linden Learning.

Head teacher Lisa Fern felt the four members of her senior team needed help to problem-solve and work together. ‘We’ve been involved in a lot of change over the past couple of years,’ she explains. ‘There’d been some instability.’

Linden Learning early years director Tamsin Grimmer delivered a day of in-house coaching. They spent a morning tackling issues on which they had been unable to agree. In the afternoon, Ms Grimmer took each employee aside for an hour of one-to-one coaching.

‘At the beginning she laid down some basic ground rules around listening to each other and taking it in turns to speak,’ says Ms Fern. ‘She helped us come to solutions ourselves by using open-ended questions and recapping things we’d said.’

She adds, ‘We shared different ways we’d like to communicate with each other.’ This led them to agree on introducing a new email and calendar system. ‘It was a very practical outcome,’ Ms Fern says.

The one-to-one sessions gave staff the opportunity to speak confidentially. Ms Fern says Ms Grimmer helped her take issues in turn, consider barriers, then agree actions to resolve them. ‘We put deadlines down to make sure I would do things by a certain date,’ she says.

The nursery is now introducing similar formats for supervisions between senior management and its other 24 staff members.

‘As a leadership team we’re listening to each other more now and are more open-minded,’ says Ms Fern. ‘Coaching is a great way of learning and I’d definitely want to repeat it.’

Further information www.lindenlearning.org

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