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"The Coaching Mindset for Educators" with Quinn Simpson


Recent data shows that 96% of school administrators, 93% of teachers, and 81% of parents in the US believe that social, and emotional learning is as important as academic learning, but that only 22% of teachers feel prepared to deliver in that space.

The practice of coaching in the classroom is one of the most effective ways to bring out the best in students, develop their strengths and talents, build skills and confidence, and nurture learning further. In this episode, Graydin co-founder Quinn Simpson shares powerful tips about how to bring coaching into Education.

In This Episode:

  • How to encourage other decision-makers to get on board

  • The impact that coaching has made in educational institutions across the world

  • The five critical steps you need to take to embed a coaching culture

  • What YOU can do in your daily life to lead change

  • How everyone can be a coach

Quotations to Share:

"No one comes out of a traumatic experience, whether it's big T or little T trauma, and isn't a different person in some capacity." ~Quinn Simpson

"96% of school administrators, 93% of teachers, and 81% of parents in the US believe that social, and emotional learning is as important as academic learning, but that only 22% of teachers feel prepared to deliver in that space." ~Quinn Simpson

"You can't expect that a conversation is going to be worse than dealing with it on their own. That's not a good assumption in my eyes." ~Quinn Simpson

"Was there an IT person at a school in the 1920s that was working on computers? No. Again, as the times change, we need to change with it and we need to create literal role job roles in my eyes that support the effort." ~Quinn Simpson

"If you want real change, everyone needs to sink their teeth into this." ~Quinn Simpson

"I also often say when people are on the wall, not ready for this, or if people leave the school–Good riddance." ~Quinn Simpson

"If you actually want a culture change, you need to know that culture change is a progressive type of change." ~Quinn Simpson

"And I feel like that once people start treating each other better, we have better conversations with heart." ~Quinn Simpson

"I do believe that one person can make a difference and one person can be the start of the waterfall effect." ~Quinn Simpson

"So have a purpose, clarify your vision, make it someone's job, and enroll people to come in a completely voluntary way." ~Quinn Simpson

"You got to get the masses involved as fast as possible." ~Quinn Simpson

"Everyone can coach." ~Quinn Simpson


Graydin is an organization working to revolutionize the ways we support, empower and connect with our next generations so they can thrive at school and at home. Together with more than 150 schools and Universities worldwide, Graydin has been at the forefront of the coaching movement in education since 2011.

Quinn has 12 years of experience in coaching, teacher training, and learning content creation for teachers, students, and parents.

She is a certified Co-Active Coach and NLP Coach Practitioner. At the age of 24, she co-founded a small charity called Akosia that operated for ten years using coaching as a facilitation technique in filmmaking projects for underprivileged children and women.

With a deep passion to improve well-being in schools, Quinn currently sits on the board of Friendship in Action, a Toronto-based charity that aims to increase emotional and social intelligence in schools.



Hello, UpLevelers. This is going to be really exciting. We're talking about coaching mindset, and I'm so excited to bring you our friend and colleague Quinn Simpson. And there she is. Welcome, Quinn to the UpLevel Productions', living room, Creating a Coaching Culture, and happy to have you representing Graydin to get into a coaching mindset for educators feels so important during these times.

So before we dive into that, I am going to let everybody know what Graydin's all about. And some of the things that you've been up to that have supported you in creating this great organization. So Graydin is an organization working to revolutionalize the ways we support, empower and connect with the next generation so that they can thrive at school and at home together with more than 224 schools and universities worldwide. Graydin has been at the forefront of the coaching movement in education since 2011.

Quinn has over 12 years of experience in coaching teacher training and learning content creation for teachers, students, and parents. How important is this? She's a certified coactive coach. She's an NLP coach practitioner. And at the young age of 24, she co-founded a small charity called Acacia that operated for 10 years using coaching as a facilitation technique and filmmaking projects for underprivileged children and women. What important work. With a deep passion to improve well-being in schools, Quinn currently sits on the board of Friendship In Action, a Toronto-based charity that aims to increase emotional and social intelligence in schools.

So thank you Quinn for being with us today. And what excites you most about having this conversation today?


I'm thinking I'm most excited, that I don't know where it's going to go. And that feels so true of every coaching conversation. That’s not to say that this is going to be a coaching conversation over the next 45 minutes and that I'm going to come out feeling what I feel after a coaching session.

But I kind of have a feeling I will just because of the nature of you and I, and talking about important things always makes me feel alive. So I'm excited about that.


Yay. To a liveliness. And speaking of which you are 39 weeks,


No, 37. I'm 37 37. So I'm like almost 38.


Okay. And so even, you know, when you talk about “aliveliness,” it's wow, you are growing life in you, my friend.


There is a baby down here.


It is real. And so before we get more into Graydin and the process of how you help schools create a coaching culture and help teachers come from a coaching mindset, what was your personal path to coaching?


So it actually really links to education because I struggled a lot academically as a kid when I was young.

I actually also struggled socially. I was having trouble playing with other children and all my teachers were kind of always trying to figure out what was wrong with me. And I was being sent to like different doctors and just, in general, it was like, “oh, like Quinn needs help.”

And then. I saw people and I got help and that was great. But then it was when I was in high school, that all my friends were struggling more than I was. So now the tables had kind of turned and I had found my way, and I had found a way of living in this world and my friends couldn't deal with it.

And all the while I was like, “people need help and no one's helping them. And I'm so frustrated with the adults.” That's kind of how I saw it. I was like parents and teachers and anyone that's around these people, they're not giving them what they need. And so, I was doing interventions with my friends who were bulimic and anorexic.

I was trying to help them work through that. And I didn't know what I was doing. And then I was a camp counselor. I feel like all of these formative years showed me that there was like a better way of approaching a person to help them through something, whatever the thing was. And so when I was at university, my mom sent me a book which was written by a life coach.

And she was like, “I think you're supposed to be a life coach.” And I was like, “I think you're right.” I was reading the checklist and I was like, “This is the most empowering way to help someone.” And it should, therefore in my eyes be in every nook and cranny of where we help people, whether that's being a doctor or it's an educator at school, or it's your manager at work?


I've known you for many years, but the origin story is makes perfect sense because what you've been able to co-create with your business partner, Mackenzie has been a real expression of your lived experience of your challenges of not getting the type of listening or acknowledgment or just.

So you know, this whole series, we've been really focused on creating a coaching culture and a lot of our guests are from organizations where they're responsible for creating learning and development and coaching culture on the inside, or they're external consultants who are doing that.

And what we felt was so important about having you and Graydin represented is because obviously, a school is an organization, right. And now more than ever, because of the state of the world, the next generation needs this support. And so what were the moments or the, can you take us back to the moment when you formed Graydin?

And you formed this concept to bring coaching cultures into schools?


So there are two kind of significant moments. I guess one is I was sitting with Sir John Whitmore. So one of the founding fathers of coaching who did, you know, invented the GROW Model and was pushing coaching kind of out of being a race car driver and sport, like he was like a sport, people are doing it and kind of in the nineties being like, we need to bring this into the corporates and.

At this point, I was 24, 25 maybe. And John was my friend's father. He just happened to be his father. And so we were at tea and he said to me, "Couldn't, you can't change the world one person at a time? I really love that. You want to coach young people." Kind of like “good for you,” a little pat on the back.

You need to think bigger. He's like “you have the energy, you have the vision, and schools need you; they are archaic. We all know this.” We've been talking about this for a long time, which by the way, was 15 years ago. So it's even more frustrating because we're still talking about it, but that’s irrelevant.

He was just like, “you have to bring them coaching.” Just imagine–he used to always give driver's ed as an example. “What if in every driver's ed, the instructor was trained in coaching skills and that precious time that a young person is learning how to drive a car, which in itself is a challenging learning experience….What would it be like if that person was really trained and skilled at helping them think for themselves and work through learning the skills themselves?”

And that was just, it was just very powerful. I remember, we left; we were walking on Oxford Street together and I was like, “Cool. So, I'm going to just go transform education.”

And then we parted ways and I was like, “okay, cool.” And then the only person that I would do it with was Mackenzie. We had been working together. We had been kind of thinking about young people and how to approach schools, how to bring coaching into the student life, so we weren't really thinking about staff. Cultural transformation wasn't at the forefront of our minds. We were like, okay, young people need personal development and growth time. How do we help schools realize that they need that?

And so the other moment I suppose is when I was sitting with Mackenzie. I actually remember again exactly where we were. We were in the Wallace Collection in London, me and John, and then Mackenzie and I were in this coffee shop in Notting Hill. Maybe even a pub, actually. I just know we were upstairs and we were writing, literally writing the names of what it would be called.

And initially, we called it Graydin Wellness–it was about wellness. It was like, how do we bring well things into structures. And then we were like, but if we call Graydin Wellness, and then we want to be rock stars we kind of pigeon-holed ourselves. So, so we decided to just make it Graydin, and then we would decide what it wanted and needed to be based on its level of growth in the coming year.


And what does the word Graydin signify or what's the significance?


We named it as a child, we named it, you know, you have to say the name of your organization so often. And I had read a book called Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite by Paul Arden. And he gave the example of Kodak. So at that time, I was 27 when we started Graydin.

And I had read that book a few years before, and I was like, “we just got to choose a name that like, we can hang meaning on. You know, yeah, Google has a meaning that isn't just Google. Apple has a meeting that isn't just apple, but it now means two things. You know, it means a crunchy, juicy fruit and a computer organization.”

It's hard to conceive that before you start something, but we just wanted a simple name that would grow like a child and decide who it wanted to become.


And it certainly has. I know through UpLevel Productions, we have the honor of being licensees of their work, and Rachel Baldi, my business partner, Uplevel Productions...She is a faculty member for Graydin and a coach and coaches teachers who have been through the training.

And so are some of our other colleagues. So just the ripple effect of what you've created in the coaching community–how it's created jobs. Right. It's created jobs, and it's created so much purpose inside these 224 education organizations that you've been able to impact.

So I want to hear more about that methodology, but before we go there, let's contextualize it. Yeah. Why is it important in this moment in time that an education system organization has a coaching culture?


I find it hard to answer at this moment in time even like now more than ever. What's really unfortunate within education is that we needed it for so long. We've been asking for it for so long– students, teachers alike, and parents going to the schools and asking for it. So there's a part of me that feels saddened to answer that.

Like, why now? Why is it so important? And also it feels not obvious but like we just went through a global pandemic. There's a war, terrible things are always happening in the world. And our young people are not necessarily so resilient. Young children are resilient, but when they've been through a lot of trauma; that doesn't mean that they're not going to feel that.

No one comes out of a traumatic experience, whether it's big T or little T trauma, and isn't a different person in some capacity. And so, so yeah, I think like why now is that a lot of things are happening in the world.

A lot of things are happening on a micro level and families and people are losing jobs and are having challenges in their own little organisms. And then that's coming to school and that's being a part of the child's everyday life. So something we're really interested in right now. You know, schools do a lot of surveying and data tracking of what's going on for their students.

Some do it more than others, but they're always trying to understand what are our students going through, and how we help them? And I think for Graydin, we've always thought like coaching is the way to help them. But if we can try to help schools who are doing this kind of tracking and are interested in trying to figure out how to help them best, we can train them in coaching skills.

They can use that data better, you know, cause they're like more and more, we have more data. And I think that's something that we've become more interested in. And because of the world, because of the access to technology schools are doing that kind of work. And so. Yeah, it's a long-winded answer.

You have some of these stats on your website. 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in anxiety in the students, and that was over the last five years. We know things have accelerated over the past two years. 96% of school administrators, 93% of teachers, and 81% of parents in the US believe that social, and emotional learning is as important as academic learning, but that only 22% of teachers feel prepared to deliver in that space.


I know, it breaks my heart.


And that's where I know I'm being able to witness you over the past 12 years, building Graydin and building the products. What is heartbreaking to you about the teachers not feeling prepared for social, and emotional learning?


I mean, it really struck me in the pandemic because 2020 was the year that when we started Graydin, we were said, “by 2020,” it was literally the year that we chose because it was 2011, our first course ran December, sorry, January 2012. We were like, “it's about, it's almost a decade away, you know, it's eight years away so we can make progress in that time” was our perspective.

And then when the pandemic hit, I was like, wow, had we done more work? Had we worked with 5,000 schools, you know, had we worked with millions of teachers, they would all not be struggling. Like they are like, we have, it's like having a key to a gorgeous, beautiful. I don't know why this is coming to me, but spa's coming to me.

And somebody really needs to relax and you're like, sorry, you can't have the key. That was a terrible metaphor, but you know what I mean? Like it's just like having access to something and not being able to get it to them. It was horrible. Though the teachers that we had worked with, were sharing with us, “I'm so glad I had my coaching skills before this, had I not I don't know what I would be doing right now. It's the key to being able to talk to my students online.”

I felt, the silver lining was that we had worked with some schools, but just the idea that we could have worked with more, I think. That makes me sad that there are teachers who are struggling right now to do something. And I could help them, but I don't have access to them.

Yeah. That's heartbreaking because they need it. They need it. They want i;, they would love it. I don't have questions about would they love it, would it be good for them? Of course, it would be; it'd be amazing.


It would be amazing.


Coaching skills–we want them embedded in the school curriculum so that everybody's getting these life skills, and their communication skills. They're getting them from that young age. Then if they choose to become a teacher, they already have them in their toolkit.

Honestly going anywhere in their life. That's what I think to myself. And I know we're going to talk about a little bit of like, how do we work as an organization, but essentially if the teachers know how to coach the students, but the students don't know how to coach each other, then we're missing a trick.

So there has to be a point in a school's growth in building a coaching culture where they eventually are training the students in how to have those types of conversations and saying, okay, break off into your coaching pairs. You know, and coach each other for 10 minutes. There's so much desire to control what happens in a school that a lot of the time there's a fear of “Ooh, what if something comes up in those conversations and the students can't handle it?”

What would happen if that wasn't what happened and something else happened? They couldn't handle it. What are you going to do in that circumstance?

You can't expect that a conversation is going to be worse than dealing with it on their own. That's not a good assumption in my eyes.

And so when I was in South Africa, for example, we were doing our B course. So that's our well-being kind of coaching curriculum for students. Then, all the students after were like, I didn't know that telling someone my secrets would help them understand me better.

How is that possible? Thank, goodness you do now, like now you know that sharing these very challenging things that these young people are going through is only going to help that they have new friends. They were walking away being like, look at my new friends!

You know we could take the word coaching out and just call it a human conversation where both parties are able to listen and ask a question that helps that person open up and share and feel safe.


Tell us the process for Graydin when a school contacts, you, or you contact a school from beginning to end. How does the process work?


So the first kind of moment of, or like our conversation is very much about what are the growth areas that the school is looking to work towards. So maybe they have a kind of five-year plan or strategy. We want to know what that is so we can figure out what aspect of that coaching can work with.

But then there's the other side, which is just like, what are the challenges that you're facing? What are the things that are just like, not going well right now that we could also bring coaching into and not to say that we're going to? Only target those areas, but it's really important that the person who is going to do this has a really strong purpose.

Like they know exactly where coaching is going to go, what it's going to do, and who it's going to help because they need to be able to enroll everyone else in this. Purpose quickly turns into vision because then it's not just like kind of that Y root of, you know, what am I trying to do it then becomes like, and what would it look like if it happened?

So that's kind of part of the process.

Identifying that person. It's no different from when we go into a corporation or business. There's always an advocate or the raving fan–perhaps it's someone that is a coach themselves already, or they've been exposed to coaching, the impact of it.

They have a coach and they know that this is going to transform the culture and this is going to support whatever areas need to move forward. And so step one is identifying that advocate and then ensuring they understand what they're getting by signing up for it.


A hundred percent.

And whether they're initially a champion and advocate, whatever you want to call them–then eventually it becomes either their job role or someone's job role.


It's critical. Right. Really, coaching cultures, someone needs to hold this. It needs to be part of their role.

I think it's interesting because a lot of the time people will say, “They won't understand kind of why it needs to be someone's job or why is it so important about someone holding it?”

Was there an IT person at a school you know, in the 1920s that was working on computers? No. Again, as times change, we need to change with it, and we need to create literal role job roles that support the effort. So if a school doesn't have a director of well-being, how do you think anyone's going to pay attention to that?

Everyone is so busy, and focused on their little domains, especially in a school because it's so siloed. You know, like the geography teachers, they're all working together. And then in a primary school, you know, like grades three and up may be working together more than grades three and below.

Sometimes they have a vision like sometimes it's just depending on the school context there, they can be so separate.

Like they're the adults in the classroom, they literally call me and they're like, “I want to do this. I want to see this change. I want to work on this and I want to go here.” I'm like, “Great. I don't need to do much work here.” But sometimes they don't.

And so what I say to them, “Come in, come and take the first course, take the foundational course, which we call the anatomy. And once you've taken the anatomy, you'll be able to shape the vision.” And then if they can afford it; if they have the budget for it, I would push it further and say, bring three or four other team members with you so you can all form a vision together.

To rely on one person is too much. And the idea that they can come together and be like, “okay, well, this is how it's going to work in our organization. This is what’s going to be different about us.” I think there's a really important moment for them to do that.

They can't do that if they don't understand what coaching is. So they absolutely have to take that course. Yeah.


Can they take your courses through an open enrollment process?


So, we have both. We have an open enrollment set of courses throughout the year, and then we have private courses within a school.

You know, it takes a certain type of school, a certain type of budget to be able to go the full distance in one year, for example. So like the Longy School of Music, which is a conservatory in Boston, they really felt like having a career coaching program was important to them. And so they did our three courses in succession.

It was in March, May, and August and they were running their own courses by January. hey literally, within like less than a year, they had trained a good number of their staff and were able to train more and bring it into the student context really easily. But they came with a vision. They came with a purpose and an understanding of exactly what they wanted to do.

The average school doesn't know that yet. So they're looking at coaching and they're thinking to themselves, okay. So how can I make this work in our context? And that can take in itself like six months, that, that process of where does this fit? How are we going to do that?


And this one particular school that you've just mentioned where so many of them really sounded like they had the vision.

There was a like-minded value system around the way that they wanted the culture of the school to go. What's been the impact in that particular school from having so many people share the vision?


Well, I'd say that's actually maybe a different context because it was less about culture change and more of.

I can talk more about culture change in another organization, but about Longy, which I do think is a really interesting org. They just saw that musicians, so many musicians were setting themselves up for failure because they were like, “I want to be in the best symphony in the world.” And then when they didn't get into it, they didn't have a career backup plan and Longy felt like it was their responsibility to help them.

I think it was like about the career coaching program, you know, it was like, how do we do that?

And I think that what I was shocked by actually, and what I was so delighted to see was how many, like most of the staff, if not every single staff member, is an excellent musician themselves, and a lot of them were just so, what is the word, like just kind of–not floored because that feels more dramatic, but just very touched or hit by the idea that they didn't have to be perfect.

Did you hit every note? Did you play it well? And I think that transfers into lots of parts of our world too. But I think that just bringing that energy into the, into Longy was important for them.

Ashley has been the director there for a long time, the last three years, and she's done an incredible job of bringing it into the students' lives in that, like they have coaching conversations throughout the year. So the students are really supported by those conversations as they work through their other musical practices and everything they're there for.


I mean, clearly, this is a really motivated group of humans. What have you seen in a school where there's resistance or there's not an awareness of coaching, but you've got one person that's we need to do this? What's your guidance for that person?


Yeah. So, I mean, that's typical. That's usually what happens, there's one person that may have told their friends and they want to make it happen. But the thing like, so we talked about like purpose and vision and that's wonderful, but ultimately, people can't coach unless they know how to coach. So there has to be a time when everyone is trained in how to do it. And so, yeah, they need to believe that it's a great thing. But coaching can feel for so many people quite abstract.

I think it's a really important stage where we kind of look at it as there's the learning stage and then there's the sharing stage. And so the learning stage is like, everyone needs to learn what this is. Everyone needs to sink their teeth and they need to be coached. They need to coach. They need to see it in lots of different contexts.

They need to hear their senior leadership team talk about it in lots of different ways. Then once that's happened, which could for some schools take five years you know, it depends on the context once that's established and everyone knows what it is, then they can start to think about “how do we share this further? How do we bring it to our students? How do we bring it to our parents?”

If there's any long-term goal that Graydin has always had. It's like that it's shared within the community that it's not just siloed to an organization. And just within this little like organisms. But that it's like being sprung outwards so that when parents are coming in for the parent-teacher night, or they're calling the school, or they're sending an email, they know that the interaction they're going to get is more coach-like.

And that's what they're even asking for. They're not saying to the teacher, “Give me ideas, give me advice, tell me what to do.” But rather instead that the teacher/educator, whoever they are, is going to coach them. And they know that and they want that because how can you expect, how can you tell your child to want to be coached if you don't want to be coached.


No, that is so, so that is so key. And so for the folks that have been asking about how do you influence your organization? I think Quinn's pulled up a couple of really important steps. And if it feels like, wow, that's a long time. And I don't know if I have that time and it's a lot of energy and you probably have another role on top of your passion to bring coaching into your organization.

And so make sure you have a coach, you have someone supporting you in your role so that you can talk about this vision that you're holding and where Quinn's pointing us is expose the other people into the organization. Maybe you yourself, if you are a coach trained, can have mini life coaching sessions so they can see the impact. Host little Lunch and Learns where you bring in coaching skills so that they can again, experience it.

That is really key. So, Quinn, I want to make sure we're getting the process of Graydin out. Because I know we're going in a few different places, but what feels important about if a school is hiring Graydin to come in, that you want to make sure people understand what happens?


I think, I mean, our bottom line has always been that everyone needs to understand what it is. So I think the thing that people are that need to know about working with Graydin is that we're not going to do a one-hour workshop.

I don't believe in that. I don't think it's going to do anything. And if you want real change, everyone needs to sink their teeth into this. I also often say when people are on the wall, not ready for this, or if people leave the school–Good riddance. That's excellent, because who wants people who don’t get the vision?

If you have a vision for your organization and enough other people have the same vision, you don't want these people to stay, who don't believe in it, who don't see it too. You actually want them to leave. And that can be really hard to swallow for a senior administrator or senior leader, whatever their role is.


You made a mention of what if somebody kind of wants, you know, five years, that's a long time. How do I do this faster?


There, there is no faster, and there is a faster all at the same time. There is no faster because culture change doesn't happen overnight.

So if you actually want a culture change, you need to know that culture change is a progressive type of change. And it's going to have lots of little steps and milestones along the way. And the first moment in my eyes for every school that learns coaching is that everyone is capable and everyone is whole; no one is broken.

We're not here to fix people, you know? No one wants your advice. So stop giving it, those are the early things. And I feel like that once people start treating each other better, we have better conversations with heart.

And really what this is about is how can everyone have better conversations every single day? How can we have events where people never leave feeling like they didn't have a voice and that they didn't get to say what they wanted to say? No coaching conversation would ever allow for that.


I appreciate the stand you are for the culture-shifting, not just having a one-off great learning experience, but really it's like, how do we embed this into the entire organization? And your stand for, yeah–some people might leave.

That's real and that's a good thing, you know, and that is a place that people will push back and the kind of business development process of this. So I appreciate your fierceness around that.


What if the people are actually the senior leadership? They're the resistance. Well, one, you probably might want to leave the school. Cause if that's how they are, I don't know why you'd want to work for those kinds of people. And that's very unfortunate, but two, I also think some people need time.

They need you to show them in little microdoses, what is possible. I remember a rugby school in the UK I was in. It was in a very stuffy boardroom; it was pretty much all men. I think the only woman that was on the leadership team wasn't there and they were all like very you know, “Britishey” and I was talking, and then this person actually said this was going to go down like a lead balloon. And I was like, “okay. Okay, cool. Thanks for the feedback. Right.” And then I kept doing my thing. I kept trying to explain it in different ways.

And I said, “Can you just let me show you? If someone in the room is willing for me to coach someone for five minutes and let me show you what is possible with coaching.” That person is now the head of coaching there and has been doing it for a decade.

Basically that school is a different world, not because of coaching, but it's because of coaching and all the things that came with it as well. And it was that moment when they saw someone who typically. It was that they didn't see them as someone that would be coached. And that person opened up to me.

And he, I remember him being like, “I'm sharing this in front of all these people.” And I was like, “You're not; you're sharing this with me. They just happened to be here. It's fine. We're doing this.” And they were like, if that's what's possible in five minutes with one of our staff members, everyone needs this.

And they have been. Their whole mission is the whole person. Hopefully. And so, you know, it was already there. They were a strong breeding ground, which is interesting because it's like a 600-year-old school. This is where rugby comes from.

So, you know, it's this is not a young little school. Rugby is a really old school. That's been in the town of Rugby for a very long time and probably shaped and shifted over the years, but has shifted knowing they can always do more. You ultimately need that as a breeding ground, you can't really go to a school where everyone's completely miserable and think you can bring in coaching and it's going to change overnight.


So for that question, get Quinn. Bring her into your senior team and do her dance and have her coach the toughest critic–have her coach the toughest critic. It is key. It's the experiential piece and coach the toughest critic; have them have an experience of it.

It's incredible. So when we were prepping for this. You talked about the impact of creating the coaching culture in the organization. And that's what you've been speaking to. It helps the administrators and the teachers work more effectively. The teachers work together more effectively, and the teachers with the students.

It's that web, if you will, that then creates the culture of coaching that creates a mindset of inclusion of diversity, of supporting the whole person, and really having these skillsets that create this type of culture.

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And. I think the other thing that is like on the flip side of all of that if you do better; if you have better conversations every day and you change, people are going to be like, “what are you, what was that? I liked that it was different. How did you do that?”

So I also think the other side is just like John Whitmore was telling me like, you know, “don't change one person at a time.” He was right. And he was wrong all at the same time. You know, like I do believe that one person can make a difference and one person can be the start of the waterfall effect.

And that might have to have you change significantly; you might have to be really different than you were before, but you know, there's this there's one teacher at a school–although I know I can say her name; I won't say her name just for the sake of this. But every time these tough people would come on the course. I was like, “so how'd you hear about the course?” And they would always say that one person's name. They were like, “well, if she liked it then I need to know what this is, you know?” You want to target the early adopters in the early majority.

But sometimes getting someone to completely shift who they are, like the toughest critic type of person–sometimes that is really important. And so when you're running your first course in a school, I always say to them, I'm like, “you know, don't tell anyone to take this course. This has to be completely voluntary, but if there are one or two people whose eyes you need on this to say, this is right for our school or this isn't, then encourage them to come so that they can be that for you, ask them to be there. So they can actually judge for themselves if this is right or wrong.” And I would say nine times out of 10, they want to take the advanced course. They want to become a certified facilitator.

Like they end up loving it so much. So I think when we think about resistance, it's often in our own heads. People are less resistant than we think they are.


This is good stuff. So those are the five critical steps you need to take to embed the coaching culture. If you're going to give us those rapid-fire so that people can hang on to them, what are the five critical steps to embed a coaching culture?


So have a purpose, clarify your vision, make it someone's job, and enroll people to come in a completely voluntary way. I don't know if this is just going to end up being six, but then build momentum fast. So this can't just be like, have one person take a course one year and think that's going to do anything.

You got to get the masses involved as fast as possible. And I do think that the people who are going to be convinced that this is going to work might need research. They might need some evidence. And so, I don't normally say this, or I wouldn't often say this, but I think the last piece has to be something on track the progress, track the brief, do the research on what is happening and make sure it's actually doing what you want it to do.



And where would you point people who are trying to embed the culture? Use these five steps to get some data. Where's the, there's some good documentation that they could use for their internal business.


So we have two coaching libraries. We have a coaching library for new coaches and one for advanced coaches.

And in those, we've actually collected a lot of different research papers. I think what's hard–the hardest part about convincing people with research is that "science suggests..."

I'm not convinced by that. I'm like, “well, that's cool that, that worked there. That does not really mean it's going to work here.” Or even if it worked in like 40,000 schools, your school might be the anomaly. And so ultimately what I try to say to people is you need to be hooked on the purpose and vision more.

Neuroscience is still such a young field, you know, like we're still trying to figure out what, like culture change. I don't find anything that convincing, but I do think that you will be convinced when you start to see it happening in your school. So the best thing is just to start doing it and see what happens.

If it doesn't work, do something else. But you have to try it. You have to test it for yourself because every school, every context, everything is so different. Like how can we be like, “oh, they're doing it in Zambia. So we should do it over here.” It's well, maybe, but maybe not. You know? And so how can you be culturally sensitive and aware and context-specific whilst also maintaining the beliefs of other places?


Quinn Simpson. It's so good to talk to you and to drink from the well of Graydin, from the well of your passion. And when we were preparing, you did talk about just going and sitting in the staff room, but you can't always, obviously do that. Yeah. And as, as we wrap this up today, I want to know your vision for staff rooms and hallways of schools.


Love it. Thank you for reminding me of that. It's a little bit of a sore spot kind of thing of the experiences of being in staff rooms when they don't know who I am. That's the key thing. If they know who I am, they wouldn't probably do what they did.

Yeah. Hearing people talk at each other, hearing people complain about students as simple as oh, like “I had to help them find their backpack.” How is that even coming out of your mouth to another human being in a staff room? And do you think the other person cares?

No. No one cares about that. And that actual person, she came on our course, she was about to retire and she said she had the best two days of her entire teaching career. And it was so interesting to me cause I'd seen her in the staff room say that and then saw her transform over the two days.

And she said, “I just wish I'd known about this 30 years ago.” And I was like, “yeah, I wish I had been like, you know, not five years old so that I could've helped you, but I was five.” So anyway, so I think what I want to see in schools is a teacher is having a bad day challenging work. Like they just have a challenging class or they had a challenging moment with a student…

And either another teacher identifies that by saying “Hey, it seems like something's going on with you right now. You know, hey, I've got 10 minutes, you know, do you want to do some coaching?” And then the person's like “yeah, that would be really helpful. Let's just you know what, actually, let's just have a five-minute coaching conversation. I don't want to take up too much of your time.”

That conversation could happen with students again with a child coming to an adult saying I need coaching. I know that would improve every single day in a life of all these people because that's what's happening in the schools that we work in. But also, I just believe that that's beneficial to anyone in any context.

It's what I have in my family. You know, like we have a partnership agreement, my husband and I as my children get older, want to have a partnership agreement as a family. I want us to be able to coach each other and have important conversations, you know, as they come up, not just oh, go speak to your therapist about that next week.

You know, as it should be five minutes here and there. And that's that, and in the hallway is an example of that, because there are lots of students sitting in hallways that aren't happy and are struggling with the exam they're prepping for. And how can you go over to them and say “Hey, I've got five minutes. Like why don't I walk you to your next class and I'll coach you.” Well, I'll ask you some questions. I'll get you to think for yourself or do it stealthily. You know, it's obvious that you can't just do that overnight. So the initial thing is that you just ask more questions. Like, how are you really feeling what support do you need right now? What are you working through? Get curious with each other.

When I moved to America, I felt like everyone was so busy, worried about these big problems.

And I was like, everyone kind of hates themselves. Can we talk about that? Can we talk about like, How people really need to learn to love themselves? And that isn't just something that we're all going to do in our little silos that we can actually help each other learn to love ourselves. And if we loved ourselves, a lot of these things that people love to talk about as the big problems of the world would dissipate.


Yes, that's for the sake of humanity. I mean, and in each of our conversations, that's why we're having these conversations because it is for the sake of humanity and it's for the sake of our wellbeing as we're here on this planet. Self-love is the foundation. Quinn, where can people find you and pursue Graydin if this is something that's resonating for them and they're ready to bring it into the school?


Yeah. So our website's the best place where we're creating something for a school, like a coaching plan, a little survey that people can fill out. It's not on our website yet, but we're launching our new website in the next couple of weeks. And yeah. So just come to

I don't want to sit on social media all day long and talk to teachers that way. But we do tweet and we write blogs. And I think for us, you know, you want to learn about coaching, come take a course. Like you're not gonna learn that much by reading blogs and random tweets and one-minute videos.

If you want to transform your life, you have to actually put the time and effort in. That's not just a one-shot thing. We also run monthly practice coaching sessions, and we always say even if you don't know how to coach, “come and we'll teach you some skills first, and then you'll go and practice.” Like for us, everyone learns, and everyone can coach.

There's no one on planet earth that can't learn how to coach. Everyone can just not everyone has access to learning the skills. So come get access.


Follow up with Quinn. Find Graydin. Take that first course if you haven't already, get some coaching and just think about the impact of bringing this into schools, and what Quinn and Mackenzie have been doing is a taste of it. And the vision that you're holding is so key for humanity. So, so key.

And so for all the other people passionate about creating a coaching culture in the space of education, you've got a really good ally here. So, you know, we gotta do this work together because like you said, one person can make a difference. And let's also go in system-wide so we can really create the transformation that we're having.

Thank you, Quinn. We love you. All right, we'll see y'all soon.


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