Why do Academia & Higher Education leaders need coaching?
Amidst growing expectations to deliver top-quality learning experiences in a hybrid environment, Education leaders face a unique set of challenges that span strategic, operational and emotional.
It comes as no surprise then, that so many in this industry are recurring to a more personalised and self-managed approach to personal and professional development for leaders in Academia and Higher Education.
In the Education context, the impact of a well-designed programme can reach far beyond the individual benefits: from an enhanced ability to identify and manage stress and higher performance levels to an increased connection with a leader’s own purpose, passion, and values. With one ultimate goal that benefits the whole organisation: to deliver better outcomes for the learners they serve.
How can coaching support this vital process? We've identified four critical areas in which we've seen a strong impact for the Education sector.
1. Leadership skills
Leading in academia and higher education demands the very best in leadership skills. The last two years have taught us that sudden change can happen at any moment, requiring leadership to act swiftly to manage risk, rethink future plans, develop digital capabilities and adapt to new ways of working and learning. With the support of a coach, leaders can develop fundamental skills such as delegating, leading through others, presenting, influencing and relationship management.
Reflection and thinking skills are critical too. Coaching allows leaders to become more self-aware and more effective at practising self-leadership skills. In turn, this helps develop clear thinking and a better ability to solve complex problems.
Healthy leaders contribute significantly to a happy and healthy education environment. Education leadership can be an isolating and stressful experience when issues aren’t identified and dealt with timely and effectively.
By developing a greater awareness of their stress and stressors, leaders can improve dramatically at developing approaches that allow them to keep pressure in check. Coaching helps leaders to maintain perspective and examine other ways to view situations, supporting them to solve problems and resolve conflict in their teams.
In roles that involve people and purpose, it is easy for leaders to consistently give too much of themselves, leading to stress and burnout. Developing the practice of establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries becomes key to managing their own and their teams' wellbeing.
3. Time to think
One of the key benefits of coaching for Educational leaders is to have some time to think and someone independent to talk to. Creating a thinking space for leaders enables them to step back from the intensity of their day to day work, gaining perspective to think strategically without the distraction of external voices and opinions, however well-intentioned. Having thinking time is critical to maintaining high performance within Education and fosters a greater connection to the leader's sense of purpose and passion.
Relationship development and management are significant aspects of any leadership role. Establishing and maintaining key relationships and having influence in these relationships is at the core of successful leadership. With the proper support, leaders can develop their communication and relationship management skills, enhancing their influence and impact. Increased communications skills enable Educational leaders to build their confidence when handling difficult conversations and dealing with conflict, achieving greater harmony within the organisation.