Coaching should never be viewed as the flavour of the month or as just another new initiative. It is, more importantly, another step in the ongoing evolution of participative human interaction. As such, it applies equally to leadership, to management, to parenting and to teaching and learning.



At first, I wasn’t sure where coaching would take me, or if it would be useful at all. However, as I began to personalise my coaching experience and take ownership of the process, I found it to be an invaluable tool in my professional development. Coaching allows you time to reflect and space to resolve issues in the work place.

My coach was supportive, without ever being judgemental, guiding me to find my own answers.

I certainly feel that the coaching process has aided my development as a middle leader in school and I highly recommend coaching to anyone who has an interest in developing their professional skills; approach it with an open mind, and you will find the best way to utilise coaching for your particular needs.

Mr. Adams, Literacy Leader at DESS

When I joined DESS, I was very keen to work in a coaching school and was looking forward to finding out more about what this meant for everyone involved. As a member of SLT, I couldn’t wait to get started and although it was my first time taking part in coaching sessions, I found it hugely beneficial in my new position.

The new challenges, in many aspects of my role, were overcome with self-made solutions through the support of my coach.

I now look to the coaching process when I need solutions or guidance in demanding situations; I would recommend coaching to everyone and will certainly continue it throughout my career.


Our Coaches at DESS

Tony Clarkson

As an ILM level 3 qualified Workplace Coach and a Career Coach, I have experience in 1:1 coaching, coaching in line manager and team situations as well as introducing coaching within the classroom. My focus is to be and to encourage others to be solution focussed and empower teams and individuals to develop professionally and contribute to their department and the school beyond their immediate role.

My coaching has had an impact on individual teacher’s practice, helped develop middle leaders as well as help teams to identify their strengths and areas for development. All of which then have a positive impact on the children at DESS.

Liz Miller

I started DESS in 2008 and completed the BSC ILM Level 3 coaching qualification in 2012.

Since qualifying I have worked successfully with a number of clients through 1:1 coaching.  Coaching has enabled my clients to be solution focused and address issues and challenges that were of importance to them. I believe that these coaching sessions have empowered my clients and supported them in working towards an end goal. Feedback from my clients reflects this –

“I know that I have actions to do in a reasonable timeline, I don’t feel pressured as I feel I have set realistic targets”

“The coach did make me challenge my scaling, she made me realise I am not a zero!”

“The coach made me think of some of the barriers I could solve myself by making changes”

“An excellent session which made me feel empowered to solve my problems”

Coaching has also become an integral part of my leadership role and I use it regularly in team meetings and 1:1 line management or appraisal meetings.

Caroline Wood

I am currently in my sixth year of coaching as a qualified coach after completing my ILM Level 3 in June 2013. Throughout this time I have focused on 1:1 coaching sessions with clients from across all departments in the organisation. As a result I have developed the ability to:

  • Develop a strong rapport
  • Actively listen and question
  • Use a range of tools to meet goals

Over the past four years my general themes have included coaching clients with new challenges in teaching; managing a team and wellbeing. In the future I would like to focus on probing and challenging clients to meet goals in 1:1 coaching sessions for a range of themes. Reflection and feedback from past clients has outlined the following:

Coaching has allowed me to be more open-minded, reflective and ambitious.

“As a coach, you challenged me to think much deeper.’’

Anthony Hall

I have been involved in workplace coaching since 2013 where I have developed a passion for 1:1 coaching and have worked with clients who have varied roles in the organisation.

I have also looked to develop my coaching with students as I have a particular interest in how coaching could be used to support and promote a reflective, solution focused mind set in the pupils in my care. I am looking forward to further developing my skill set in team situations within my new role within the school.

Niamh Mead

Niamh Mead (BMus, Dip Ed), ILM L7 Trainee, Specialism: Education, leadership and careers (Dubai).

My name is Niamh Mead and I am the Head of Performing Arts at Dubai English Speaking School. In 2015 I completed my level ILM Level 3 Workplace Coaching qualification and I am currently training for my ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching qualification. I am a member of the International Society of Qualified Coaches.

My specialism is in the area of transition which includes coachees moving into a new job role, taking on new projects and starting their employment in the school.

Coaching to me means being there to assist the coachee in finding the root of a problem, the resources to solving it and creating building blocks to move forward. My coaching style is to be challenging, open-minded, passionate and respectful, creating a space whereby my clients feel they can look at and examine the bigger picture. I love when a client says that have a new outlook on things and can now see the bigger picture.

Max Lohe

As a keen advocate of coaching, I completed a NLP Professional Coach certification in December 2012.  This qualification provided me with a wide range of coaching skills and techniques which are highly valuable in both a personal and corporate coaching setting.

To supplement this qualification I undertook the British School of Coaching – ILM Level 3 Award in Workplace Coaching in October 2013.

During my coaching sessions I specialise and focus on assisting my clients to enact “positive change” in all aspects of their life.

Waseem Al Nseirat

I am the Head of the Arabic Department at DESS.

My coaching is very solution focused, to the point that I now avoid to say the phrase ‘What is the problem?’ and replace it with ‘What are the solutions?’ I try to implement this principle with my team, the children I teach and it even permeates into my own home life.

What interests me the most in coaching is the quality of my questioning. It is key to everything. By the questioning, I can guide my clients to their own solutions as they are thought provoking. My experience so far has been guiding colleagues to have more productive relationships within their team, improving their communication and performance.

The feedback I have had from my session is that:

  • “I felt very comfortable with my coach and was able to discuss my concerns openly and frankly.” Client 2014
  • “Waseem is a very supportive coach – able to listen”
  • “Coach very effective at building rapport. Initial questioning is effective”  – Judith Barton, British School of Coaching
Mikael Jamin

I am the Head of Modern Foreign Languages at DESS, which means that besides teaching French, I am responsible for Teaching and Learning in the Arabic Department. I have over twenty years’ experience in Education, first as a university lecturer and researcher then as a primary teacher.

I completed the BSC ILM Level 3 coaching qualification in 2013. My area of experience is career development balanced by maximum well-being.

The comments I usually get from my clients after coaching is how important it has been for them to step out of their ‘normal’ daily work routine to reflect about what they are doing and where they are going with their practice.

Extracts form a client’s feedback form:

How well does my coach try and understand my challenge?

‘He listened and was attentive. He made no pre judgments and was happy [to] let me lead the way I wanted to go’

How good is my coach at challenging me to think more rigorously about my situation?

‘Open-ended questions have led to me think about how I conduct myself’

How well does my coach support me to decide on my own actions?

‘Supported all the way through’

Coaching has changed me as a teacher as well as a leader. It is a perfect tool to alleviate pressure, prioritize attention on short-term goals so achievement can take place within a risk-measured plan. I want people to find their own solutions, so they feel empowered when they get results.

Sarah Curran

I started my journey at DESS in 2015 and worked as a Class Teacher in KS1 until 2021. I am now in my third year in the role of Wellbeing Lead which allows me to bring my personal and professional passions together.

With a strong interest and passion for the social-emotional aspect of education, I loved learning about neuroplasticity, the brain and self-development. In 2021 I achieved a Distinction in my Masters from University of East London in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. I am always looking to develop my coaching skills further I am working toward EMCC accreditation.

Since 2020, I have been coaching clients on life transitions, challenges and comfort zones, work-life balance, personal and professional wellbeing and group dynamics at work. 

Through a range of positive psychology tools and strategies, I encourage and support clients by using a strengths-based approach to their challenges, helping them to uncover their inner resources and capabilities. 

Clients consistently comment on the value of their sessions when working with me, in a non-judgemental, neutral space to reflect and move forward. 

Feedback from Clients 

"I developed new habits and skills as we worked on my mini goals to achieve what I wanted" 

"Anyone who is looking for a change, be it a job, a role, a lifestyle or another area, Sarah can help you discover what you value and create clarity for what you want" 

"Our sessions helped me unblock my barrier to my goal, and using my strengths, we created a plan to overcome my personal challenge"

"Using the time in our coaching sessions gave me some mental clarity, which meant I could get to the root of what was really bothering me and create the solution I needed to deal with it"