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Case Study: Top of the Class

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Since the 1990s, coaching has been a key component of many schools’ faculty-development plans. In addition to contracting Leadership Coaches and Executive Coaches to support the growth and development of administrators, a growing number of schools are using coaching and coach-skills training to enhance teachers’ abilities to implement curriculum; manage their classrooms; and communicate effectively with students, parents and one another. A substantial body of research on Educational Coaching shows that coaching empowers teachers to understand and implement new instructional practices and strategies, resulting in heightened student engagement.

Turkey’s Isikkent Schools have taken the use of coaching one step further by developing and implementing a high-impact program designed to directly touch the lives of every member of the school community, from teachers and administrators to parents and students. The success of Isikkent’s coaching program has shown that coaching isn’t only for adults: When adapted properly, it can benefit individuals as young as three years of age.

In recognition of Isikkent’s exceptional use of coaching, the International Coach Federation (ICF) awarded the school the 2013 ICF International Prism Award. The Prism Award honors organizations that have achieved the highest standard of excellence in the implementation of coaching programs fulfilling rigorous professional standards, addressing key strategic goals, shaping organizational culture, and yielding discernible and measurable positive impacts. (Learn more about the award at Coachfederation.org/prism.)

The Cutting Edge

The administrators, teachers, students and parents affiliated with Isikkent Schools have always taken pride in being part of a learning community that stands out from the crowd.

Established in 1998 within a nonprofit foundation, Isikkent provides a unique learning environment that brings students ranging from preschool through grade 12 together on one campus—an organizational model seen infrequently in Turkey. The school is also set apart by its educational vision: In a nation where most students are taught to measure success and learning by exam scores, Isikkent focuses on holistic education. With a creative, inquiry-based approach to teaching; a high premium on global citizenship; and a commitment to ethical speech and behavior, Isikkent Schools strive to develop young people into highly motivated, self-aware and thoughtful adults passionate about lifelong learning.

Given the willingness of Isikkent’s leaders to innovate in service of student development, it’s no surprise that the school joined Turkey’s coaching movement in its earliest stage, adopting coaching at a time when ICF-approved training curricula had not yet been translated from English into Turkish and collaborating with the coaches who led the charge to create the first Turkish-language coach-training program.

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