Appraisal and Capability: A Coaching Approach

Appraisal and Capability: A coaching approach

Teachers should be treated as professionals, with the default assumption that everyone is committed and hard-working with their children’s best interests at heart in all that they do.

The intrinsic motivation of working in a supportive high-trust high-challenge culture outweighs any motivational effect that might come from outcome targets and performance pay.

Each teacher, at every career stage should be nurtured, challenged, supported and developed in a continual process, never judged through one-off lesson performances or datasets.

Find out more about my approach to coaching on one of my courses:

The appraisal and capability process should focus on successes, areas for personal growth, team priorities and career goals NOT on outcome targets.

Appraisal meetings are there to make people feel that they’ve had an opportunity to plan out their professional growth and map out their future progression. Of course, student outcomes will inevitably be a focus but not a simplistic measure of success.

Encourage staff to keep good records of their professional growth, peer observation and research to inform the appraisal discussion BUT the compilation of portfolios of evidence to show they’ve met the teachers’ standards is not the essence of the process – it is professional growth that manifests itself in impact on our children.

Building in an element of choice even within the parameters of school, college, academy priorities, helps preserve a sense of autonomy but also encourages responsibility and ownership.

Before the meeting:
Set the date and time, get yourself prepared, clear your diary. Allocate more time than you need.

Set up the room – Do not disturb sign up, no distractions such as phones, printers and children(!), choice of refreshments, chairs side by side. Set the room up to minimise the hierarchy that may exist between you both.

Send out any documentation well in advance including last year’s documentation. When you get it back – read it, know it, make notes on it and be ready to start with positive feedback, praise and thanks.

During the meeting:
Appraisal meetings are not coaching conversations yet adopting a ‘coaching approach’ and deploying elements of coaching can make these meetings more productive and effective. So therefore, appraisers are encouraged to:

  • Focus on growth
  • Provide support and challenge
  • Provide affirming feedback
  • Ask questions that encourage the teacher to talk and reflect – Appraisers should listen more than talk. Listen in a focused way and use the teacher’s words when reflecting back to help them clarify
  • Be confidential
  • Structure the meeting to ensure a positive outcome and that you stay on track

Structure the meeting using GROW
Outline the purpose of the meeting and what needs to be completed in the time frame allowed – reflection on last year and the creation of appropriate goals for future professional growth.  Start with praise and thanks and then ask a question that invites a positive response such as ‘In reflecting on last year, what are you most proud of?’
Discuss the Teachers’ Standards and how well they have been met. This should be led by the teacher. Reflect on last year’s goals and make reach a collective decision on whether they were successfully met. Do not shy away from difficult conversations though – this is, after all, an appraisal meeting.
Discuss possibilities for this year’s growth using teachers’ standards, data, subject/year group priorities, exam analysis, school, subject or phase development plans, personal reflections, discussion of this year’s class(es)…
What next:

Agree on priorities for the coming year and set goals to ‘now’ (what will you do now to say you’ve started, by next week, by the end of the month, by the end of term, by the end of the year). Focus on IMPACT on children rather than just changing teacher behaviour. Clarify what has been agreed and confirm any follow up arrangements.

After the meeting:
Complete all documentation as soon as possible, ensure it is accurate and ask for feedback on the process.

Before the meeting:

Reflect on last year, and think about the future in equal measures, using all available sources of inspiration such as teachers’ standards, data, subject/year group priorities, exam analysis, school, subject or phase development plans, personal reflections, this year’s class(es)…

Be thoroughly prepared and complete the appropriate documentation, returning to the reviewer anything required for the meeting.

Write some notes to prompt further discussion at the appraisal meeting so that you miss nothing.

Assemble all necessary documentation to support your meetings and discussion including last year’s appraisal documents.

Draft out some possible goals that you feel the children would benefit from you focusing on this year.

During the meeting:
Honestly reflect on and share your successes and areas for growth.

Refer to the notes you have made to ensure that you ‘sell yourself’ – miss nothing out. This is your chance to shine and talk about yourself!

Seek feedback on how you and your class(es) have done this year.

Expect to lead the discussion on last year’s work.

Propose your areas for growth this year and be prepared to state your case. Focus on the impact on the children. Be concise and precise.

Present a case for how the school, college, academy may be able to help you with these goals

Be prepared to set goals to ‘now’ (what will you do now to say you’ve started, by next week, by the end of the month, by the end of term, by the end of the year).

After the meeting:
Read carefully any documentation and sign it off