In the early days.

by Jean Ramsey

What’s so special about alignment?

In my early coach training I had come across the concept of alignment. It helped me to understand why I felt so unhappy. I am a team player through and through; I am not interested in power I just want to get the job done well. Our new leader constantly talked about ‘my’ and ‘I’. He called us ‘his’ staff - no we were not we were employed by the county. My new leader and I were on opposite paths there was absolutely no alignment. No wonder we could not work harmoniously.

I cannot tell you how delighted I was to discover that new head was going to be moving on. He announced it to a hushed staff room; those present were convinced he was waiting for cries of: ‘So soon? Can’t you stay?’ There was nothing….just a stunned silence! I bumped into my big buddy outside the canteen I used to deliberately boycott early morning briefings as a protest and when she shared the glad tidings we danced a little jig much to the amusement of the watching students. They enquired why we were so happy and we just said they’d find out soon enough. As it happens ‘new head’ was so emotionally illiterate that he told the students at his new school that he was to be their new head before he told our students he would be leaving and some of our students had cousins at the new school so the news spread like wild fire.

It was very interesting being part of the process of appointing a new secondary school head teacher. The final four had to give their vision of the school in 20 years’ time. I know my favourite did not get appointed he was ‘too touchy feely’ now I think that was a missed opportunity. I remember the successful candidate had picked up on what really annoyed us about the outgoing head: he was running a consultancy business alongside his headship and he was often away and hard to contact or approach. Successful guy promised to be here and always available….well that did not last long but it all started off very well.

I made it my business to see him and offer coaching as part of the solution to low staff morale and poor results. He did listen carefully and noted everything down. He was interested and he made it possible for me to spend a good proportion of my time coaching one to one students on the C/D borderline. It was brilliant a chance to really show the power of coaching. As it was to be a pilot study I had to keep records and write a report at the end of the trial period. I could not wait to get started!