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AMERICAN SCHOOL OF BARCELONA

Updated: May 16, 2023

Following a recommendation from the Zurich International School, the American School of Barcelona approached Xenonex to help senior leaders implement a coaching culture across the school.


A Xenonex team member holding a sign with The American School of Barcelona  logo on

Xenonex has been excited to support the leadership of the American School of Barcelona over the past 3 years. The highly regarded American School of Barcelona educates over 980 students from varied nationalities and backgrounds within its state-of-the-art campus and its senior team were keen to establish and grow a successful coaching culture to further enhance its reputation with all stakeholders.

 

THE OBJECTIVES OF THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF BARCELONA


Following a recommendation from the Zurich International School, the American School of Barcelona approached Xenonex to help senior leaders implement a coaching culture across the school. This would focus on sharpening SMART goal setting, promoting improved developmental conversations and optimising staff performance as a result.


 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A BESPOKE COACHING PROGRAMME 


Regular scoping and evaluation meetings were ongoing between the Director and Assistant Director of the American School of Barcelona. These meetings ensured that the school’s strategic goals were at the heart of the Xenonex programme planning to design a supportive and challenging, solution-based coaching programme: The ASB Growth Coaching Programme. The programme continues to align with these goals and considers the needs of all staff. During this time, numerous and varied elements of a fully embedded coaching culture were introduced in a timely manner to empower staff to deliver meaningful and consistent coaching conversations and promote professional growth. The specific elements included: bespoke live online growth coaching and leadership workshops; live coach practice with feedback; group supervision and 1-to-1 leadership coaching. A 14-point definition of success was established to support the programme. Some examples of these points are:


  • Clarity of language, purpose, and practice

  • Coaching will be a ‘natural state’ of having good quality and meaningful conversations

  • A culture of trust and rapport is built amongst all staff


 

STRATEGY & SOLUTION


Growth Coaching Workshops


Throughout the programme, a wide range of growth coaching and leadership workshops have been implemented to assist all staff including directors, assistant directors, principals, and internal coaches.


· SMART Leadership (Goal setting)

· Leader as Coach

· Courageous Conversations

· Developing Self and Others

· High Performing Teams

· Authentic Leadership

· Resilience & Well-being

· Presentational Skills

· Motivating & Influencing Teams


The workshops were designed to develop practical coaching and leadership skills (e.g. active listening, open questioning, SMART goal setting), to introduce tangible coaching tools and techniques (e.g. GROW Model, Johari Window Coaching Tool, Silent Coaching) and to provide the opportunity to take part in live coach practice with professional feedback. Participants were also encouraged to create and update an individual professional development plan.


The workshops have had a significant impact on delegates; they gained confidence and their ability to motivate and challenge staff via 1 to 1 coaching has grown significantly. Professional growth is now firmly on the school’s agenda and staff are both thinking and behaving in different ways. Their coaching skills have improved in many areas. Delegates’ evaluations highlighted the following improvements:


· Paraphrasing and playing back key language during conversations with peers

· Reduced mentoring style/notetaking and having more confidence to focus on an open and challenging conversation

· Increased awareness about others’ learning styles and using this knowledge when supporting teachers

· Improved questioning skills leading to a less directive approach


Quotes from delegates


“This programme has directly led to our implementation of growth coaching and the SMART goal-setting process. I don't think we would be where we are today without the work from Xenonex. This programme has helped us to create a common language as a team, problem-solve issues as they have arisen, and provided a space for all of us to reflect on our practice.”
“I now understand the basic principles and purpose of coaching and how to apply it in an educational setting. This course was an excellent introduction to Growth Coaching”.
“It helped me grow my skills as a leader and as a coach. It has also helped me gain more balance and clarity within my role at the school. “

Live Coach Practice


Live coach practice presented delegates with a practical opportunity to experience the role of Coach, Coachee and Observer. As Coach, the skills and tools acquired on the workshops were applied e.g. opening questioning, active listening, and the application of the GROW model. As Coachee, an opportunity to present a real-life dilemma in a confidential setting was experienced. As Observer an insightful and structured process led to constructive feedback being provided to peers that was further supported by the Xenonex tutor.


Quotes from delegates


“I feel more confident and comfortable as a coach. I have seen first-hand what it can look like and am motivated to improve my practice. I’m more self-awareness, I’ve improved my listening and managing skills, and value silence in conversations.”

1 to 1 Leadership Coaching


1 to 1 Leadership Coaching has been provided to the senior team, principals and growth coaches to assist with their individual coaching needs and support. This provided leaders with the space to discuss all aspects of their own performance and professional dilemmas. It also provided a valuable opportunity to reflect and consider making behavioural changes to unlock further leadership potential.


Quotes from delegates


“The one-on-one sessions were the best part for me, I got a lot out of them, and feel like I have grown personally in my profession.”

"I loved the 1:1 time. It reminded me of the power of coaching and how important it is that ALL of us have the opportunity for it. Having the 1 on 1 opportunity was invaluable.”


Group Supervision


Group Supervision sessions were facilitated by Xenonex that allowed peers to check- in, openly and informally, on how they were developing in their roles as growth coaches within a familiar group environment. These sessions explored further practical techniques and key challenges the coaches were facing. This collaboration allowed delegates to learn from one another, problem-solve together, and develop a clear and consistent approach.


Quotes from delegates

“This really helped me to think strategically and the way of asking open-ended questions, and challenging my thoughts, really helped me to organise and think more strategically long term. Being forced to slow down for that hour was incredibly useful.”
 

CONCLUSION


All delegates, without exception, have engaged with the process at a high level. Due to the longevity of the project, Xenonex understands the school and its goal-setting process in detail. The relationship with the school is supportive and genuinely honest regarding feedback and next steps. The robust partnership between the two organisations continues as the coaching culture continues to thrive. Future aspects will include an internationally recognised and accredited qualification for coaches (ILM 3 Award in Effective Coaching) and developing a feedback culture using 360-degree reports.

 

If you’re interested in building a coaching culture and don’t know where to start, why don’t you complete our online Coaching Culture Health Check?


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