Coaching for experienced heads for their first year in post

Advance your headship with coaching support

Who is this for?

If you have recently been appointed to a headship post, whether it is your first or subsequent headship.

And you are prepared to use coaching as your principle method of professional development at this important time for you and the school.

How has this programme been planned

The first year of headship provides challenges for both new and experienced heads. Although new heads face the challenge of “first timeround the block”, experienced heads also face challenges.

For this group, we have identified some value add approaches, to supplement the coaching, and to support you with your bedding in period at your new school.

Why coaching for this group?

You are likely to have been through a very rigorous application process to be successfully appointed as head.

The expectations on you as the new head are significant. Whether this is your second, third or forth school as head. Whether you are taking over from a head who has been in post for a few years, or many years. Whether the school is achieving highly, or is struggling.

Most heads report that the first year in a new headship has many challenges. The fine balance between making your mark, and not overturning existing good processes can be hard to navigate.

And you may not have a good support network of trusted people to talk to, at least in your first year in post.

Coaching at this time gives heads the opportunity to take stock, plan and organise their approach. It gives you the chance to think through thorny issues, draw out your own knowledge and experience, and make good decisions.

It is often described as a lifeline, or as essential support, even for experienced and skills professionals.

What is the offer?

For head teachers taking on high profile positions, we have a team of experienced education specialist coaches to choose from. That means a coach who holds at least two coaching qualifications, and has either been a school leader or has coached many school leaders.

For you, we recommend our extended programme. It consists of:

The coach will work to your timescale, generally meeting with you half termly for your coaching session.

How does it work?

This coaching will take place online or face to face, depending on your schools and our coach’s locations.

There are a range of practical options, including:

The temptation for head teachers is to leave this type of professional development work until evenings or weekends, so that they are available during the day for colleagues. For head teachers, we encourage them not to do this!

Coaching can be a vital part of your professional development and support structure, so it merits your daytime diary hours.


Each coaching relationship is different, so the benefits differ from head to head and school to school. The benefits we commonly see include:



Download our advance your headship with coaching support flyer

Siobhain Allum had served as head teacher of St. Pauls Prep School in Sao Paolo, for over a decade. An experienced head, she took up a new appointment as head of YK Pao Prep School in Shanghai. The prep school is high profile, large and part of an all through school. It is a bilingual school with Chinese and overseas staff.

Siobhain approached the role with great focus, skill and confidence. And the complexities of the role meant that she needed to draw on all of her strengths in order to perform well. This she did. But it took lots of time, attention and focus.

Throughout her first year in post, Siobhain had regular coaching from Charlie. This was an important time for Siobhain, as it gave her the space, time and focus to be able to think through her approaches. She used the time wisely, explored her thoughts deeply, and was in a stronger place at the end of the coaching than at the beginning.

“Charlie’s coaching style really enabled me to analyse what I wanted in a clear and productive manner. He helped me to see both my strengths, and the areas where I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone to achieve my goals. Charlie’s style helped me develop a less intrusive manner with members of my team to help them arrive at their own conclusions and make autonomous decisions. It was a very positive and rewarding experience.”

Siobhain Allum