How can EQ coaching support teachers, and therefore the pupil?
Much of the work I've been doing over the last two weeks has focused on understanding how EQ coaching can support not just the stressed individual but also the people who support that individual. How many of us have ever collapsed on the settee at home, having spent a really tough day trying to support children and adults who have experienced trauma or who are experiencing toxic stress? We mustn't underestimate the impact that can have on our colleagues in schools and colleges everywhere.
Unfortunately, many schools and colleges have received no training at all on the impact of adversity in childhood and toxic stress on the developing brain. This means that we are asking our teachers to deal with far more than 'just' teaching. They may well be missing a huge chunk of knowledge based on neuro-science and brain development. How can they best support traumatised or stressed young people without that knowledge?
Of course, the answer lies in offering schools and colleges training and CPD in this field, with regular refresher training so that it becomes embedded practice. There is another way too: by offering EQ (emotional intelligence) coaching to teachers.
You will know from my previous blogs what EQ is all about: being smarter with feelings, being aware, intentional and purposeful. But as I delivered presentations in this week's ACE Network NE and Sunderland University joint conference on how we can use EQ to support ourselves and others, the feedback I received from many of the delegates was that this was a skill and strategy still relatively unknown and under-used in their schools. It strikes me that without having a clear understanding of how and why we react, respond and behave, we cannot be as effective as we would like. The oxygen mask is the perfect analogy:
If you aren't able to support your self, then you can't support anyone else.
This is where EQ coaching comes in. Working in partnership with Six Seconds (www.6seconds.org), I use a range of assessment tools that measure an individual's EQ. The results are shared with the client, or coachee. This provides us with a structure and focus to the coaching so that the coachee can celebrate their strengths and develop their understanding of their own emotional intelligence. By exploring this in detail with the coachee, they are better able to articulate their emotions, recognise their patterns of behaviour and learn how to respond more effectively in their everyday lives, both professional and personal. It gives them different tools and tips for managing their own emotions and those of others, and builds resilience.
A resilient teacher is an effective teacher. They model, both explictly and implicitly, what resilience looks like in the classroom. They are equipped to support the distressed child without it taking a toll on themselves. They are optimistic and empathic. In a time of excessive workload and burn-out, resilience is needed now more than ever - especially as we return to full-time schooling after the pandemic has eased.