Building confidence – another way to start addressing the leadership and management skills shortage in the EY sector starting at grass roots

In the early years sector, there is currently a lack of trained staff. Business owners and managers are telling me that they are struggling to find high calibre staff to meet their needs, particularly at room supervisor or middle management level.

Many of you have the skills within your teams to provide what is commonly known as ‘in service training’ however, in practice this is sometimes difficult to secure with the day to day pressures that arise within your settings.

If you have a small team and would like to do more to develop the skills of your best nursery nurses, or even if you have a larger team and staff with training skills and expertise, there may still be more that you could consider to address the skills gap and also allow internal promotion?

Does this sound like you? Is this your nursery or pre-school? If so please take just a few minutes to read my article.

The case study:

I was recently approached in my role as early years and childcare ‘advocate’ by business owners (Nick and Nicky), of an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ day nursery.

Their nursery manager and deputy had resigned after many years in the posts and hence they were needing to strengthen the leadership and management and to appoint new managers. The staff had been made aware of my appointment.

The opportunity:

I was asked to put forward a business proposal based on my initial findings and work began.

I stepped into the nursery and had a great feeling!

Everyone was welcoming, the environment was bustling with activity and the children were happy.

I observed the good practice but quickly ascertained that there was much more potential to be gained.

Next steps:

I discussed this with Nick and Nicky and we agreed that a 1:1 approach of individual personal development coaching to strengthen the leadership and management skills of the supervisors could really support their personal growth.

I set up regular coaching sessions with each of the supervisors, who naturally showed some reticence initially.

After putting them at ease, I explained to the supervisors more about my approach and they talked about their needs. I made it clear that I would not be telling, advising, supervising or mentoring them during these sessions (other interventions that I was using to support the team development).

The initial chat allowed me to build rapport with each of them.

They soon grasped the concept and showed great enthusiasm when we met.

In this highly regulated environment there is so much legislation and staff training is key.

Meeting the ever changing and emerging needs of different children also requires ongoing staff support – this is of paramount importance.

What is so often missed however, is the benefits that a coach can bring. The approach nurtures independence and provides that opportunity for individuals to grow, learn from their own mistakes, and try new things.

Success measures:

The outcome was that the supervisors were better able to identify for themselves what their strengths and weaknesses were; they made decisions about how to use their strengths, which in turn enabled them to move forward with their personal development in leadership and management.

I used open-ended and challenging questions which enabled ‘the stretch’ to move them out of their comfort zone and to give them the courage to work on their weaknesses.

After just a few weeks they noted their increased self-confidence.

The benefits to the nursery was a strengthening of the leadership and management skills at room/group level.

This was truly a fulfilling and enjoyable piece of work for me and I cannot thank Nick and Nicky enough for giving me the opportunity to do what I find so rewarding; to work with individuals, to see them grow and to become the best that they can be, doing a job that they all clearly love!

Wishing all the staff and team at Bracken Place Day Nursery continuing success with what they do so well………with maybe just a little bit of help along the way!

Could you or your setting benefit from this type of support?

If you think that leadership and management skills development through a range of methods (including individual personal development coaching) would be useful for staff within your organisation you can see a range of flexible options and testimonials here.

Alternatively, please telephone me; 07470 235 250 or use my contact form to make an initial enquiry to find out more about any other support you have in mind to develop your leadership and management skills (with no obligation).