Leading is like coaching and its’ time for half time adjustments

Education consists of leaders who help lift others up and provide the capacity to grow.  As I was watching some sports games during the holiday break, it occurred to me how much coaches and leaders have in common.  Great coaches build successful programs by having a strong foundation that all players buy into and work hard to achieve.  The team becomes stronger than any one player.  Now compare coaches to effective leaders. If you have ever worked in more than 1 district or setting, then you have perspective to consider each leader and what did they do to help you and your organization improve and move forward. Also, consider what type of energy, positivity and mindset they established within your organization that created the climate and ultimately, the culture.  The leaders that have these traits did not just start using them one day – they developed them over time through experiences. All effective leaders in education find that they developed their leadership skills along the lines of serving others. This may have started with experiences including coaching, leading youth camps or clinics as that provided them the reason to go into education.  This is how I found the connection between so many education leaders and coaches.

As we are halfway through the 2018-19 school year, it is important that all leaders take time to reflect upon their work.  Coaches do this routinely during the halftime of each game that allows the team to make adjustments and strive for success.  As educators if we can do this more routinely it will provide greater clarity to our work.  Many leaders have found that one area that is a challenge is balancing the demands of the professional world with their personal life.  While we all recognize that “family comes first”, we also recognize that there are times our role impacts our personal life with demands that our outside our control.  Like great coaches, leaders must find the appropriate balance and I have found a resource from the book “Balance Like a Pirate” (authors Jessica Cabeen, Sarah Johnson and Jessica Johnson) that was so helpful.  It encourages leaders find a greater balance in their life by introducing 4 areas or quadrants to focus on:

  • Personal (this is your family and life away from school)
  • Passions (this represents your hobbies or things that you must do to fill your own bucket)
  • Positional (this represents your role within the school and what you must do there to be successful and move it forward)
  • Professional (this represents our role within education and what you must do to grow as a leader)

The book explained how it is important to focus equally in each of the 4 quadrants. This allows an educator to grow, both personally and professionally, and influence others in positive ways.

To help reflect at this mid-year, within each quadrant I also listed 3 sub areas that have provided me greater insight into the quadrants and is a twist from the book Balance Like A Pirate.  Like coaches, leaders of schools must ask themselves on a frequent basis what is working and what must change.  Here is greater clarity on each of these reflective areas:

  • Start ( What are things that should be done but you are not yet doing or things that would get better results)
  • Continue (What are the areas that are having an impact that you must continue or things that you must keep)
  • Stop (What are those things that are not working, not making an impact or others dislike)



By looking at the 3 sub areas within each of the 4 quadrants, it provide a quality reflective tool that helps educators and leaders to identify clearly the next steps to reach for excellence. Having this mindset in each of the 4 quadrants is a powerful tool leaders can use at the halftime (half way point) of our school year. Here is the same information presented in a graphic form:



Importance of Self Reflection

































As you strive to grow but also have a balance in your work/personal life, I would be curious on your thoughts of the reflective tool.   Reach out to me with comments at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com











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A Husband, Father and Principal with a focus on learning, leading and connecting with others.

An educator for 25 years with 14 of those being a building administrator. I have found that the more I learn form others and their experiences it helps me grow and learn as well. I hope you join our journey as we create learning environments for students and staff that create future success.

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