Motivating Your Team: Coaching for Performance in Schools


Peter R. Taylor

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    About the Author

    Peter Taylor is an experienced and qualified coach, consultant, leader and board director; mainly in the field of education. He is qualified in Executive Coaching and Process Consultancy and Leadership (Post Graduate) from Manchester University. He is qualified as a Consultant Leader from the National College of School Leadership. He has an Advanced Diploma in Educational Management from the Open University and a Master's Degree in Education Management from Manchester Metropolitan University. Peter has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Teaching Certificate and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Institute of Administrative Management. He has published and presented widely in England and abroad.

    Peter runs a school that was described, by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) as being ‘outstanding … [with] a headteacher that leads with a very perceptive vision of educational innovation and reform, which is shared and celebrated by all staff and governors … he has the overwhelming support of the school community’. He works as a National Consultant Leader, supporting a variety of schools in their efforts to improve and/or sustain their success.

    The National College of School Leadership, Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University employ Peter to work on their leadership, international and Master's Degree programmes. He also works as an Associate Adviser for his local education authority and as a Subject Matter Expert and Adviser to the Ministry of Education in the fields of performance management, quality assurance and data use. He is a Board Director and Council Member of the Institute of Administrative Management, the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administrative Society and Rowlinson Taylor Associates Limited. Peter is the British Representative to the European Forum for Educational Administration. He works as a consultant and trainer in schools all over England and abroad.

    You want to improve your coaching and team leadership skills? You want to know how it can be that some leaders and coaches can transform teams and organisations?

    If you look a little closer and listen a little harder you will notice that effective leaders and coaches don't change their teams!

    Effective leaders and coaches create the conditions for their team members to change themselves; they motivate for performance.

    Observe at deeper level still and you will notice that the best leaders and coaches are engaged in a process of personal change; this process never ends!


    Peter Taylor says that this book is ‘written for busy people’. Well, we all think of ourselves as ‘busy’, but Peter truly lives up to the word. His interests are, to say the least, varied, and yet he manages to give each his full attention.

    As headteacher of an ‘outstanding’ school (Ofsted, 2006) Peter has wrestled with the issue of motivation, and achieved results in both traditional and challenging environments. His own motivation has consistently been about values which ‘fit’ with the role. That is why he highlights ‘strengths’ in people because he believes the key to motivating them is to recognise what is important to them, whatever their situation (that is, their values).

    As he puts is, ‘An organisation must engage the hearts, minds and talents of its people’.

    Peter tries to put this approach into practice in this book. There is a clear ‘target audience’ for each section, enabling individuals to pick out what is relevant to them. The case studies are qualified as discrete examples, but the argument is made that key points are not necessarily fully specific to the sector.

    There is a tough edge to this work – which reflects Peter's own approach to managing performance – fair but firm, ‘cool head, warm heart’. This approach relies heavily on truthful self-assessment and the plentiful analyses tools that help provide consistency to all the aspects of coaching he addresses. In this sense, he practices what he preaches – coaching relies on stability of environment and it is the coach's job to ensure each person changes with the environment, thus remaining stable – like a moving staircase. As a result the book offers an original and rigorous perspective with regard to many ‘accepted’ concepts and principles.

    Perhaps most importantly the book provides an insight into the rationale and processes which underpin a successful experience for children in Worth School. Peter is nevertheless keen to point out that he believes these processes have wider application; the style and format of the book makes this a real possibility for readers – try the self-reviews if you do not believe me! I can only endorse Peter's message and urge you to take it seriously.



    Thanks to Sheila, Charlotte and Emma for their support, patience and love. Thanks also to Brenda, Liz, Peter, Ray, Claire and the team at Worth for being great colleagues and putting up with my ideas and enthusiasms!


    This Book is Aimed at:

    Busy leaders, managers, team leaders and coaches in any business or profession. The book will also be essential reading for anybody who has an interest in motivation, performance, coaching and leadership.

    The book was written by a busy person for busy people; it is not designed to be academic in content but much of the content is based on sound theory.

    Part I: Performance Coaching

    This first part of the book is designed to be informative and motivational for anybody who has a personal, professional or business interest in performance, coaching, motivation, management and leadership.

    In these first four chapters I outline the thinking and motivation that underpins what I call ‘performance coaching’. I suggest performance coaching is development of the recognised processes of appraisal and performance management. Performance coaching is designed to be motivational yet productive. The first four chapters can be read separately from each other or as one complete section. This first part can be read separately from Part II or in conjunction with Part II; Part I contains the thinking that underpins the practical information contained in Part II.

    Part II: Theory into Practice

    This part of the book was written with the following people in mind:

    • team leaders, business managers, senior leaders in any walk of life but especially education and other professions;
    • senior leaders, middle managers, practice managers, team members, board members, directors and trustees in education and other professions; and
    • those who have to implement performance management regulations in schools (including the 2006 regulations in England).

    These chapters contain practical case studies drawn mainly from the field of education. In this part of the book I give practical advice on how to put theory into practice.

    This Book is About:

    Helping you as a leader, manager and coach of people, to motivate and engage your people for performance. Busy leaders, managers and coaches will find this book is essential reading.

    The style is designed to be accessible and useful with sections designed to ‘lift and apply’. Checklists and practical guidance notes are provided to help you understand the principles and practice of effective motivation, coaching, performance motivation and management. I outline how these performance processes can be an essential lever in enhancing the performance and motivation of individuals and teams in your organisation. Examples, scenarios and case studies are drawn from coaching in several walks of life including sports, business and education.

    Why is This Important?

    If you lead or coach a team of any size or you are a member of a team, you need to understand the basics of performance motivation, performance planning, monitoring and review. You also need to understand your role as performance coach and how to ensure your performance-coaching processes motivate and stay effective by the use of continuous improvement processes. If you want your team to be effective, to perform well and to be motivated, without it being damaging to those involved, then you need to know about sustainable continuous improvement processes and techniques. If you want to avoid the sort of revolutionary change that crashes into your organisation and your team, you need to read on. If you value evolution rather than the sort of change that comes as a shock and catches you and your team behind the game, causing stress and damage, then this is the book for you. If you like chaos and thrive on the adrenaline of shock treatment, then you really do need to read on and set about changing the way you operate!


    Before you read on, why not check the learning climate of your organisation as this is one of the key aspects of motivation? In terms of motivation and performance, is your organisation developed or does it have some development needs? Is your organisation open to learning, is it ready and able to change and adapt? If you complete this self-review now, it will help you assess the climate of your organisation as it currently stands. When you have read this book, undertake the self-review again and see if any of your responses have changed; I hope the book will have impacted positively in relation to your responses.

    Now check your knowledge of the basics of the performance process as this is one of the key tools you can use in your drive to motivate your team for performance.

    How did you do? Read on!

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