Once again, I’ve analysed my year of travel to see if I’m any closer to reducing it year on year. It’s an annual habit, and if often kicks off new ideas that might affect my team’s next year of work. The good answer is: yes, there is less travel! And not just that, but having reduced the schlepping I do, I’ve been able to hire more amazing people to lead on our work, and celebrate one of NoTosh’s best years ever in terms of the quality, quantity and breadth of work we’re doing.
Key to traveling less has been a marked increase in the number of folk who see and are now reaping the value of working with us online. I’ve avoided as many as 20,000 miles of travel thanks to greener clients, who are also many dollars better off having not paid for the airmiles that are wrapped up in our regular fee structure.
The quality of our work is better, too, thanks to this. We are doing fewer of those day-long workshops with teachers or leaders, when an hour or even thirty minutes before the day gets started is more worthwhile.
We’re seeing more school leaders take this up, although it’s harder to get teachers into the habit of taking 30 minutes ‘me time’ to jump into a coaching session on the day or week ahead. But it’s starting, and the value to us all is huge. Coaching is very different to ‘consulting a Personal Learning Network’ on Twitter.
It’s intense, targeted, focussed and involves a one-on-one discussion that arrives quickly at resolutions to current day challenges that will have a long-term impact. And we come back to measure whether that impact actually happened.
I don’t think it’s a way of working that many are used to in Education, although many corporate clients have had some rare experience with it. Encouraging both groups to take more regular time out for coaching, little and often, is a real challenge, but we’re beginning to see some huge impact from relatively little input (and relatively few dollars!).
In 2018, my whole team plans to make more varied use of online coaching, in an effort to wean more clients into this way of working. The face-to-face stuff that really needs travel will still happen, and we’ll enjoy it even more, I’m sure.