Rob, please tell us what prompted you to enrol on Henley’s High Performance Leadership programme
‘As a Head Teacher in a London comprehensive school with 1,800 students and 200 staff, life is especially challenging at the moment, and I was keen to see if I could develop my own leadership capacity. A friend of mine had done a coaching course at Henley and had been very impressed, so I attended one of their marketing webinars, and felt that this was exactly the kind of programme that would suit me.
‘I’ve been through MBA and NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) programmes, and have been on lots of courses covering leadership in education, but I relished the opportunity to benchmark myself against the wider leadership community, in order to identify how I could improve, particularly in the areas of team leadership and coaching.
‘On the Head Teachers’ programme, we’d studied (Programme Director) David Pendleton’s first book: “Leadership -all you need to know”, and I was also excited at the chance to work with David.’
So what were the highlights of the programme for you?
‘The programme was a great balance of practitioners, learning about different leadership models, reflection and coaching. I’ll admit that it was disappointing not to be able to go to Henley in person, but as soon as the Zoom sessions started, I realised that the environment they created online was really conducive to learning, and the mix of people in my group enabled me to see the ways in which leaders from other sectors approached the common challenges we’re facing.
‘I also now see the importance of my own wellbeing, but as much as anything, it was what I learned about myself that was as revealing and important as anything.
‘Through the NEO personality test, I began to understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and now recognise that no-one can excel at all aspects of leadership. However, what you can do is build a team with all the necessary expertise, and work together to ensure the organisation can thrive.’
How have you been able to apply what you learned on the programme, and what impact has it had?
‘I’ve moved towards a coaching-based approach with my team, which encourages them to solve problems for themselves. I’m here to support them, of course, and I still challenge them from time to time, but I’m much less inclined to try to find the solutions myself.
‘The outcomes are strongly reinforcing my view that this is the way forward, and we are especially excited about implementing the ideas in David’s latest book.
‘The overall impact has been greater accountability for the team members, and a higher level of alignment across the team. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from staff and parents about the clarity of our communications, and I’m sure that’s a direct result of the change in mindset.’
And finally, what would you say to anyone considering this programme?
‘David is extremely personable, approachable and down to earth, and whilst he shares a wealth of relevant experience, he makes it a very interactive programme.
‘If you want to reflect on your own leadership capability, and your own personal effectiveness, this programme will give you incredible insights that will enable you to be more successful. It is, by some measure, the best leadership course I’ve ever done.’