Executive Coaching Fee Structure

The Education Group believes that independent schools – large and small and at all resource levels – stand to benefit enormously from the Executive Coaching Program that TEG provides.  We believe that a base fee that makes these services as affordable as possible is essential to effectively meet the needs of all types of schools that are entering a period of transition in leadership.  Therefore, at TEG we adjust the base fee for executive coaching services in proportion to the resources available to each school, that is, on a sliding scale based on the size of the school’s operating budget.

 

Also, since TEG views these executive coaching services as an extension of the head search and an effective head-of-school transition that follows, schools wishing to bundle TEG search and executive coaching services may do so at a reduced rate.  This approach can help to ensure a measure of continuity from search through transition that is in many ways ideal for a head new to this role. 

Executive Coaching in the Time of Transition

The Education Group Executive Coaching Program is designed to meet the challenges and complexities encountered by school leaders. It is targeted toward new school heads that face a very difficult job. Not only must a school head be the educational leader of the school, but he must be its business leader, a counselor, a visionary, its moral leader, a fundraiser, evaluator, and guardian of the school’s mission. He also has the responsibility of creating strong, credible relationships with, and selling the vision of the school, to widely divergent constituencies.

 

New heads must learn much of their job “on the ground, running.” And even with the most far-sighted plan, they will likely need counsel and support in what is both an exhilarating and lonely job. This is the kind of support the TEG program can offer to the head and the school:

                                            

  1.  An executive coaching program can be a valuable asset to the head of school and to the trustees that appointed him. Every head could benefit from an independent, objective, supportive agent who will help him develop stronger relations with all of the different constituencies of the school.

  2. What is a coach? In the TEG program the coach (a) supports the “person” of the head; (b) facilitates his thinking, drawing him out with questions; (c) serves as a “sounding board”; (d) is a cheerleader; (e) is a trusted confidante; (f) is available 24/7 “on call”; (g) is a “friend” with no “performance objectives” except the health, well-being, and success of the head – in fact he is the only person with whom the head interacts who is not self-interested. With that kind of support, the new head can optimize his skills and talents to lead the school.

  3. The Executive Coach must possess the following skills and attributes: (a) He must be an experienced and highly successful former head who has met the challenges of the job well over a long period of time. (b) He must be a good listener; ask good questions; be able to give time of himself; inspire trust from everyone at a school, not only the head himself; be highly empathetic; and have no “agenda” for the school except for the success of the head.

  4. What does an Executive Coach not do? Ideally, the executive coach does not “tell” or “direct” the head to do anything, let alone say, “The board has asked me to . . . .”  Instead, he would ask questions, for example “What are you thinking of doing?” “Why are you doing that?” “What problems do you foresee what that?” “Why don’t you talk with you board chair about that?” – drawing the head out and helping him clarify his thoughts. He would take the time to help the head fully construct a plan to meet the expectations of the board and the school community.

  5. If a school contracts for an Executive Coach after the new head’s term has begun, it is likely that the new head has encountered resistance or criticism at the school, or has made mistakes and miscalculations. Of course, the Executive Coach would support him in addressing those problems. However, the Executive Coach will not assume “intervention” responsibilities, but will employ the strategy of the “coach” to help the head address those issues and establish himself as the leader of the school. He and the board should then see that the head himself has responded appropriately to concerns that have been raised. TEG distinguishes between “intervention,” in which the executive coach is told a number of problems with the new head and asked to fix them, and “coaching,” by which the coach offers independent counsel and support to the head, supporting him as he addresses the problems himself; establishes himself as the leader of the school; and builds important relations within the school community.

  6. Shortly after the new head’s appointment, the Executive Coach can guide him through an “entry plan,” to include items like those listed in Item #8 in the “Principles of Transition” and to anticipate the key events or “flash points” during the school year for which he should be well prepared. The Executive Coach will tailor his efforts according to the strengths, weaknesses, experience, and inexperience of the new head.

  7. The Executive Coach can help a new head and his board chair to clarify expectations as they develop their important relationship. This is especially important when both the head and the board chair are new in their positions, as is sometimes the case.

  8. The Executive Coach can be a helpful guide to both the new head and the board of trustees in matters related to independent school and non-profit governance.

  9. The Executive Coach can help the head to “test-drive” his thoughts or plans before he takes them to his board chair, senior administrators, or other key school people. 

  10. If early in his tenure a new head considers changes – his own or those the board wishes him to make –

  11. an Executive Coach could be helpful. Some heads are called to be “revolutionary,” others “evolutionary,” and an Executive Coach can help a new head think through the impact of both.

  12. More likely, the new head will be assigned by the board certain tasks or asked to conduct studies in his first year, and the Executive Coach would support him in that endeavor.

  13. The Executive Coach can advise him about how to evaluate major personnel decisions early in his tenure.

  14. An Executive Coach can offer to serve as a proofreader for the head, who will spend a lot of time writing speeches, alumni magazine articles, and letters to the school community.

  15. The head and Executive Coach should determine early how and when they will correspond, agreeing on what is a “reasonable” amount of regular correspondence. The Executive Coach would respond to any unusual interruptions in correspondence.

  16. The Executive Coach must facilitate, not intervene, in the relationship between the head and the board: a head can’t communicate well with his Executive Coach and then ignore the board. However, the Executive Coach can be helpful in advising a new head in effective communications with the board and in resolution of potential problems.

  17.  Most heads rely on a professional crisis management professional in dealing with true crises or emergencies, but an Executive Coach can assist him at the beginning of his tenure in preparing a comprehensive “crisis management plan,” tailored specifically to the needs, personnel, and logistics of his school. Also, in a crisis he can be a helpful sounding board to the head dealing with an emergency.

  18. The head is expected to raise money, and the Executive Coach can be helpful to a new head in this enterprise, helping him assess how the school’s advancement leaders are organizing and preparing him for his development responsibilities.

  19. The role of the spouse/partner should be defined during the search process. If not, the Executive Coach can help the head and board chair clarify expectations for the spouse/partner. Short of becoming a marriage counselor, the Executive Coach (or indeed his own spouse, a former “Spouse of the Headmaster”) can serve as a sounding board for the head on issues related to the pivotal and yet often ill-defined role of the head’s spouse/partner.

  20. Though the Executive Coach is responsible to the board of trustees, he will communicate on a regular basis only with the new head and the board chair. With his goal to help the head meet the school’s expectations himself and to strengthen the critical relationship of the head and chair, the Executive Coach will empower him to provide appropriate feedback and reports to the board.

  21. Periodically during the year, and two weeks after the conclusion of his work with the head, the Executive Coach will submit a written report to the chair of the board of trustees and to the head himself, providing candid and proper feedback to them about the issues that they have addressed during the year and the manner in which they were resolved.

What Sets Us Apart?


1.     The Education Group Executive Coaches are recently retired heads of school, all of whom enjoyed outstanding careers in independent school education.


2.     These Executive Coaches will not typically have been involved in the search for the heads they coach; thus they enter their relationship with a new head with a fresh, clear perspective. However, if a school wishes to enlist their TEG search consultant as an Executive Coach, we will work to accommodate them.                                                                  


3.     Many of the current Executive Coaches were part of the team which originally created the TEG curriculum, and so are intimately conversant with its mission and objectives.


4.     In that spirit, these men and women are committed to their role as an Executive Coach: a confidante, trusted advisor, friend, teacher, and wise person, investing time, energy, and personal experience in supporting the growth and potential of a new head of school.


5.     In their meetings with one another over the last two years, these retired heads agreed that they could not think of a school issue that at least one of them had not dealt with; more importantly, however, they also agreed that they were good listeners, eager to help new heads solve their problems and not to impose a solution on them.


6.     In creating the TEG Executive Coaching Curriculum, these former heads of school developed a special bond and can call on one another for advice and counsel in addressing the needs of the new heads they coach.


7.     Several of these Executive Coaches are supported in this endeavor by their spouses, who are uniquely qualified to support both new heads and their spouses/partners in adjusting to their roles and responsibilities in an independent school.


8.     As fully retired heads of school, TEG Executive Coaches have not sought fulltime employment in their role as coaches, and will take on a small number of clients per year; in that spirit, they offer themselves to schools from a strong desire to meet a serious need in supporting independent school leadership.


9.     Different from the support system offered by other search firms, TEG Executive Coaches can be contracted for a brief period or for as much as 18 months – from the time of appointment until the conclusion of the new head’s first full year.


10.  TEG Executive Coaches will be available via e-mail, phone, or Skype 24 hours a day, and can schedule an emergency meeting with a new head on short notice.


Principles of Good Practice for Leadership Transition

The items below can easily be reduced to one simple word: PLAN. Planning is everything, both in process and implementation. The board of trustees and the new head cannot plan enough in the transition of leadership at a school. More specifically, here are some of the characteristics of the “ideal” transition of leadership:

 

  1. The Contract: All of the new head’s responsibilities – both “operational” ones and special “charges” – as well as compensation, perquisites, benefits, terms of contract, etc. – should be clearly articulated by the board in his contract and should be the main criteria of his formal evaluation. At this time the terms and schedule for evaluations should be specified, at least one of which should be conducted at the time of his contract extension for the coming year.

  2. The Spouse: The board should make clear its expectations of the head’s spouse regarding her role at the school and develop clear understanding with her. This is often one of the most sensitive and difficult matters in transition and can be pivotal in the success of the new head.

  3. The Departing Head: The board should develop a clear plan for the departure of the outgoing head of school, mindful of these factors: (a) his unquestioned authority to lead the school until the conclusion of the school year; (b) proper celebration of his outstanding service; (c) a promise of his support for his successor; (d) an opportunity to serve the school as an adviser to the new head as appropriate; and (e) an understanding of his role in separating gracefully from the school to optimize its growth and progress in the future.

  4. The Transition Committee: The board chair should appoint a Transition Committee to welcome the new head and his family and to facilitate their move and smooth adjustment to the community, beginning with visits to the school prior to their official arrival. The committee, for which the board should establish a clear agenda and charge, might include one or two members of the search committee.

  5. Welcoming the New Head: Trustees should make clear in word and deed their excitement about the new head’s appointment, to build enthusiasm within the school community and to reassure him of their support. This can take many forms, including welcoming the new head and his family into the community with social gatherings, thoughtful notes, and introduction to important members of the school community.

  6. The Head and the Chair: After the announcement of his appointment, the new head and the board chair should begin corresponding regularly – by phone, e-mail, or face-to-face meeting – to forge their relationship (it’s the most important one at the school) and to begin making plans for their future work together. However, the school should be respectful of the new head’s ongoing responsibilities at his current school and allow him to leave that school in good stead.

  7. Homework: The new head should be provided important material for study about the school: e.g., financial statements, recent audits, and budgets; minutes of previous board meetings; strategic plans; evaluation and accreditation reports; a summary of valued traditions; if available, a written history of the school; and the former head’s “tickler” file and list of key events or “flash points” in a typical school year. He should also be alerted to significant financial and legal issues as well as potentially explosive unresolved problems that exist at the school. Ideally the new head should have studied material of this kind well before his arrival on July 1. Also, if possible the school should make available to the new head enrollment in a summer workshop for new heads.

  8. The Senior Staff: The new head should begin as soon as possible to build his relationship with his “senior staff” of administrators. In preparation for those meetings he might ask them to prepare a statement of the issues, goals, controversies, and priorities that they believe should have his attention early in his tenure.

  9. The Entry Plan: The new head should prepare a comprehensive “entry plan,” generally for the “pre-entry period” (before July 1); the three-month arrival period; the First 90 Days (basically the first semester); and the Last 90 Days (the second semester through June 30).  That plan might include notes on all of the key issues that arose during the search; possible ways to address them; preliminary priorities for doing so, etc. The head might prepare a questionnaire to survey each faculty member and use it as the basis for individual meetings with each of those teachers. He should meet as well with staff members, students, parents, and trustees, and visit the mayor, council members, fire chief, public high school principals, etc. in his new hometown. Additionally, the new head should prepare his first talks to faculty, parents, students, and other key constituencies, clarifying the themes and goals with which he hopes to make a “first impression” in the school community. Finally, unless he is charged by the board with immediate, urgent “fixes” to address in the first year, the new head should be encouraged to watch and listen in his first year, gaining as much knowledge and insight into the school as possible.

  10. State of the School: At a time agreed upon by the board chair and the new head (perhaps at a year-end retreat), the new head should address the board on his evaluation of the “State of the School,” in particular assessing the school’s mission, vision, and strategic plan; all of its programs (academic, athletic, extra-curricular, financial, advancement, etc.) – everything – and his recommendations for modifications or changes in them: in other words, the head’s vision of the school. The end of the year is also an appropriate time for a summary evaluation of the head, conducted by the chair and at least one other board member.