The Power of Coaching: A Principal's Perspective on Personal Growth

Dr Andrew Cousins, Principal of Clayfield College in Queensland shares how having a coach helped him to grow as a leader.
Dr Andrew Cousins
Women & Leadership Australia
3 mins


“I describe myself as a coaching convert”

Dr Andrew Cousins, Principal of Clayfield College in Queensland, is an experienced leader, having transitioned through roles including Deputy Principal, and Director of Teaching and Learning over the course of his career.


After participating in one of our group leadership programs, Andrew understood how coaching could benefit his own personal growth and continued working with a coach one-on-one after the group program was complete. Andrew talked to us about his experience of having a coach over several years and how it’s helped him grow as a leader.


“Previously I wasn’t confident with how coaching could help me. But through this journey I’d now describe myself as a coaching convert. I saw how coaching had supported me personally but also in my own leadership journey.”  - Andrew

How would you describe the coaching experience? 

“Coaching helps you grow as a leader and to grow your capacity. There are some things that as leaders we naturally grow through our roles. But there are always curveballs that sometimes you catch pretty well, and other times you’ve caught them, but only just. And other times you miss them completely. With a coach you can work through what happened, so you get to the point where you know what you need to do next.” 

How has having a Leadership Coach helped you as a leader? 

1. Identifying development areas 

“Having a coach has helped me put a microscope on the things I need to work on as a leader. Which we then worked through in a proactive way. It’s helped me catch those opportunities to improve that I might not have seen.” 


2. Providing a trusted outside perspective 

“It’s been very helpful having someone I trust outside of the organisation to talk to about the things that I’m going through, and to help me work through options for solutions for complex problems.” 


3. Personalised support when I need it most 

“I have called on my coach in an SOS type situation. When I’m dealing with big, complicated issues, it’s invaluable to have someone support me to work through the problem and also prompt me to make sure I’m taking care of myself at the same time.” 


4. Helping to prioritise leadership self-care 

“Sometimes we focus on a strategy I’m working on, or sometimes it’s beneficial to have an external person who holds me accountable at times when I need it. Even with simple things like, what does your calendar look like, are you putting time in there for yourself? Giving me permission to do things for myself, prompting me to go for a run, or get out of the office.  

“This means I can show up more as I need to everyday. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a leader; you still need to be mindful of those daily habits and make a conscious effort around scheduling so you can be the best version of yourself and be there for your team and the students.” 


Can experienced leaders benefit from a coach? 

“Yes, absolutely because every situation is different, every year is different, every challenge is different. So, it provides an opportunity to say, I’m not sure how to approach this, or I’m thinking about these couple of approaches, which we talk through and by the end of a session, I know how I’m going to approach it.” 


Accelerate your growth like Andrew with Leadership Coaching. Tailored for all levels, our 1:1 sessions facilitated by a qualified coach help you identify goals, navigate challenges, and hone leadership skills.