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Systems leadership in the early years

James, Deborah M and Wicker, Kate and Street, Martina and Bibby, Rebecca J and Robinson, Jan (2021) Systems leadership in the early years. Management in Education. 089202062110319-089202062110319. ISSN 0892-0206

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Abstract

This paper describes a new leadership coaching model that was delivered as part of Manchester city region's delivery of the Department for Education's Early Outcomes Fund. The coaching model explicitly paralleled the relational practices that are increasingly shaping early intervention policy and practice. Goodwin's theory of professional vision ( 1994 ) and Shotter's theorisation of with-ness ( 2011 ) provided the conceptual lens for this paper. The coaching facilitation aimed to afford the emergence of a new way of seeing leadership by scrutinising events of relational practice between participants in the coaching sessions (using video recording and review) and creating discursive practices using strengths-based analysis. We exemplify the coaching model using notes from a collaborative ethnographic evaluation of the six half-day group coaching sessions, surfacing how a new way of seeing silence may have seeded a new ‘object of knowledge’ in the group's emerging professional vision of leadership in the early years.

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