Currently being rolled out in schools across Australia, the program has been proven to be very successful. Various studies have shown that meaningful assessment and feedback which is directly linked to student performance can increase a teacher’s effectiveness by 20% to 30%. Feedback needs to come from multiple sources including students, peers and leaders.  And it has to be delivered in a way that allows the recipient to reflect on it in a very safe and supportive environment.
Today, it is more important than ever to establish and support strong leadership at every level in a school.  The pace at which education is changing has made it critical for every teacher to be equipped to tackle the challenges facing them as practitioners. Coaching is defined as a development method rooted in improving performance through the introduction of new knowledge, skills, and behaviours, and is characterised by an individual relationship between a coach and coachee. As a means of development, coaching is one of the most effective methods to help solve specific problems and build a particular skill set.  The ability to customize a coaching engagement and have dedicated one-on-one time to focus on relevant behaviours has made coaching a valuable method to teach individuals the best ways to manage change, improve their processes and behaviours, and prepare themselves for the next obstacles they will face.
Coaching can be targeted to address any development need or problem solving that is required, and it is this adaptability that makes it particularly effective.
For more background on our performance development model and its underpinning structure, download our Discussion Paper here. As teaching moves from a top down approach of conformance and attentive listening (“I teach and you listen”) to a more inclusive sharing of ideas and helping students to learn, intangible skills like communication and conflict management are the keys to success in this environment. The Group 8 Facilitation methodology gives you tools to have more effective, outcome based meetings, conversations and development workshops.  You utilise your time more efficiently while generating positive results more quickly. This is a comprehensive program designed to create long term, lasting improvements in a school’s learning delivery and culture. The program is designed to fit in with your current workload and will not unreasonably add to the teaching burden of your staff. In January 2006, Ofsted, the official UK body responsible for inspecting and evaluating school performance, judged Woodham to be “Level 3 – Requires improvement; used to be satisfactory” – putting them at third of four levels, which meant the school urgently needed to improve its standards. You can read the full case study as well further examples from Australian Schools we’re currently working with here. If you would like more information regarding the Program and how it could benefit your school, I invite you to call me on 0418 432 316 or contact me via email and arrange a confidential, no obligation first meeting where we’ll sit down and discuss your situation. Should both of us feel there’s merit in moving forward, we can discuss options and take appropriate action. Teachers are more focussed on some core elements of their teaching and on their relationship with students in the class room.
A secondary result has been that there is a sense that “others” know what they are doing in the classroom which leads to greater appreciation of their work.

The acceptance of feedback as well as the encouragement to discuss teaching practice was evident from the first year. The cognitive coaching aspect of the program is the “engine room” which has led to developing a “learning culture”. John as a person has a high level of integrity and great intellectual depth and importantly, a gentle and decent man. We decided to work with Group 8 Education’s Performance Development and Coaching program for two reasons.
First, we were impressed by John Corrigan’s passion, depth of knowledge and research as well as his strong belief in school improvement through cognitive coaching.  And second, his model fit our beliefs around our teachers’ need for self-reflection on who they were and where they could improve their practice. One of the best aspects of the program is its flexibility.  This allowed us to work with our leadership team and front-line teachers to individualise particular goals that they would like to achieve in their classroom practice and talked about ways to achieve these goals.
As I glanced across the landscape of psychological schools, two stood out to me in particular: gestalt and cognitive behavioural (CB). The client avoids situations at work with potential for conflict in order to avoid a similar experience. A gestalt coach may invite her to focus on how she feels now, living with unresolved conflict, or what she would like to say to the colleague if he or she were present. In gestalt coaching, a central concept is the cycle of experience (fig 1), based on physiological experiences of and strategies for need fulfilment and extrapolated to wider dimensions of human experience.
This model is used in coaching to identify and address needs in individuals, dyads, teams, organisations etc, e.g.
The process starts by exploring conscious or subconscious beliefs that influence a client’s feelings about or behavioural responses to an experience, or his or her attitude towards a future course of action.
In practice, both these schools tend to be interested in the past or future only insofar as they exert influence in the present.ExperienceGestalt practitioners refer to the client environment as the field. This initial stage is followed by enabling the client to challenge his or her own beliefs and replace unhelpful beliefs and behaviours with constructive alternatives that enable goal fulfilment. Again, as in gestalt coaching, this requires a high level of sensitivity and trust in the coach-client relationship.
Having explored my beliefs and thinking patterns, the CB coach encouraged me to test my own assumptions by engaging in cognitive and behavioural experiments, e.g. Although it continued to be a difficult relationship, I felt more free within it, more able to be myself, more able to recognise when things went well, more able to differentiate my own contribution from hers in what happened between us.
As illustrated by these examples, gestalt and CB both seek to harness the power of imagination, gestalt by experimenting and possibly enacting (e.g.

At one end of the spectrum, some gestalt practitioners regard the mind as an interference to insight and awareness because it can be so misleading and self-deceiving. In gestalt, the body is regarded as a means by which need may be expressed genuinely and without conscious realisation, unfiltered by what Freud refers to as the superego. I have a personal coaching example:I was working with a gestalt coach, as client, and commented that I felt anxious about approaching a forthcoming presentation to an executive team. Rather than suggesting we discuss this, the coach invited me to stand, role play walking into the executive team meeting and show him what feeling anxious might look like. As I enacted this scenario, he commented that I was holding my right hand across my chest, as if covering my heart.
I became aware that I characteristically presented to this particular team in highly detached, rational-analytical mode and never really expressed my heart, how passionate I felt about what I was presenting on, how much it mattered to me personally.
It felt more human than technical, I received strong support for my proposal and felt supported personally too. I believe recent research into rationality and intuition could help build a bridge between cognitive, emotional and physiological dimensions of experience, e.g. Social constructionists challenge this notion of reality, asserting that reality isn’t something the client discovers but, rather something that is co-created between the client and coach. This draws attention to specific remedial aspects of a client’s experience and attributes meaning and significance to them. A positive psychology or appreciative inquiry-based coaching model would challenge this focus, drawing corresponding attention to positive aspects of a client’s outlook, experience and capability. Both have an underlying optimistic outlook, a belief in the possibility of clients to grow in awareness and understanding of their own cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioural experiences and processes, to break through psychological and behavioural blockages and limitations to reach their personal and work goals.Both schools focus primarily on the present moment, the client in the moment, the transformational potential of relationship in the here-and-now to release fresh opportunities in the future.
As profoundly interpersonal disciplines, they rely on human presence, trust and connection, using oneself as instrument in the coaching relationship to bring about change.Different approaches work well for different clients in different circumstances. Gestalt as an experiential and experimental approach can reveal insights that may not be reached through more conventional cognitive-conversational approaches. However, it assumes a rational state that is sometimes difficult for coaching clients to achieve when experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress, in which case combining CB with, say, techniques from Human Givens could be advantageous.Important spiritual and existential questions lie out of scope for gestalt and CB and both schools need particularly sensitive application in cross-cultural environments.

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