In this blog, Jeanie Davies, who completed our MA in Coaching in 2018, discusses how her dissertation was the foundation for her recently published book, The Trust Revolution in Schools.
The Trust Revolution in Schools looks at the reasons behind many teachers leaving the profession and suggests that the root cause is that many schools are unwittingly generating fear-based staff cultures. It explores the impacts and indicators of cultures mired in fear and offers up The Trust Revolution Model and a roadmap to move schools to a culture of trust.
The Trust Revolution Model, as the foundation for this book, comes from my MA coaching dissertation where I sought to look at the preconditions for a coaching culture. Within my coaching work and research, I found that often, actions from coaching conversations could not penetrate the wall of an organisation’s culture because certain preconditions were not present. I saw that some organisations could not access the benefit of coaching as they had cultures that did not allow open communication, that people were unable to the see failure as an opportunity to learn, employees were unable to meet one another on an adult to adult basis and that they could not give and receive robustly kind feedback.
Having worked in education for over a decade and run my own coaching consultancy with schools for a number of years I had been working for some time to shift cultures to ones that enabled coaching to flourish. Until I studied for the MA and wrote my dissertation, I had not realised that this is what I was doing in my work as it often felt organic in nature, simply providing what was needed in each school. The Coaching MA enabled me to really interrogate the work I was doing and understand the patterns, impact and importantly the framework I had created. This was pivotal for my consultancy work to be able to move my offer forward in terms of a clear model that could be cogently replicated and from this sprung forth the book.
The book is rooted in education and school cultures however The Trust Revolution Model has meaning for any organisation in any sector. The profession of teaching is particularly prone to championing the values of harmony and getting things right, which results in cultures that struggle to speak more directly and robustly and see risk-taking and failure as positive. This leads to toxicity and paralysis as people tend to suppress emotion and important feedback which impedes development and can lead to frustration and fear of ‘doing the wrong thing’.
Giving language to this to enable employees to speak about the unspoken rules of culture and agree to how they will be with one another builds trust. We are tribal creatures and staying within the tribe has enormous impact for each of us. We are evolved to feel connected yet can break those connections unwittingly unless we understand the preconditions needed to feel ok with one another.
My greatest hope for this book is to provide language for the unspoken elements. A platform to talk about how we want to be with each other in our organisation, what the rules for engagement are so we can all feel the trust and wellbeing needed to thrive in our roles and our lives.