Developing leaders

Informal Coaching


There is a shift taking place in the type of work that students will be doing in the future, a move away from algorithmic work, work that is procedural and step-by-step, to work that is more heuristic, that needs creativity, problem-solving and collaboration.  We often hear the call to develop 21st century skills, to represent this shift.

One of the major differences between algorithmic and heuristic work is the value placed on conversation.  In algorithmic work, conversation is seen to have little value.  Interactions are simply a combination of instruction and the need for clarification.

In heuristic work, conversation is essential, it underpins the creation of trust, the stimulation of creativity and to the development of - and commitment to - what work needs to be done.

To make the shift in culture from algorithmic-supporting to heuristic-supporting means changing how we value conversations and therefore how they take place.  It is the role of the leader to initiate and sustain this shift.  “Informal Coaching” is the way to do this.

Informal Coaching

Informal coaching is a highly effective practice to allow leaders to adopt and model the behaviours that underpin the development of 21st century skills.

  • Increases staff self-determination
  • Ensures more decisions are made by those closest to the issues
  • Frees up time for leaders to focus on higher order work
  • Increases leaders’ ability to self-manage
  • Reduces unhealthy conversation (complaining, past- rather than future-focused, gossip, blaming)
  • Increases healthy conversation (about the work!)

This is an effective way to establish a common set of heuristic-supporting behaviours amongst your staff which they, in turn, can model to students.

Enrol in a public program or contact John to run an inhouse program.

The introduction of informal coaching is the ideal way to prepare your culture to embrace formal coaching.




  • Dear John, I want to thank you so much for the coaching session we had late last week. I find working with you not only engaging but stimulating and thought provoking, and the method you use as well as your manner really resonate with me and get me to think deeply about myself and my practice as both a teacher and a leader. Take care and thanks again - you’re fantastic. 
    Tess Macrae — Catholic College Wodonga
  • The highlight of my professional learning has been coaching.  It has really enabled me to reflect on my teaching and has allowed me to pinpoint areas that need extra focus.
    Coaching comments from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College