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Begin with the End in Mind

“Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey

As many mourn the death of our nation’s steady matriarch, school leaders are not only managing their own personal reaction but, once again, supporting others to do so within their communities. 

You, and they, may be experiencing a sense of loss or grief, relating it to personal grief, both past and anticipatory, and may be tackling those big thoughts on our place in history. These thoughts and feelings can be unsettling and I would like to take this opportunity to offer some kind of positive focus.

Queen Elizabeth II’s strength as a leader has been widely identified as her singularity of purpose: to serve the people of her realm. I am struck by how this key element of her leadership applies equally within the realm of education. 

To my mind, there is little debate to be had around the purpose of modern education. However, there is plenty of thinking to be done around the specific outcomes you want to achieve within your own school, college or MAT. 

I invite you to take a few minutes to consider Stephen Covey’s advice, “Begin with the end in mind”: 

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy – very busy – without being very effective… If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” – S.Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

Within school leadership, there are pressures to lean your ladder against the ‘Ofsted’ wall, or the ‘Data’ wall. But we also have the ‘confident young people’ and ‘staff wellbeing’ walls, amongst others.

  • If you could only choose one wall, what would it be? 

  • What are the deepest, most fundamental values which you want to build into the fabric of your community and leave as your legacy?

  • Is your day-to-day busyness taking you up the right ladder to the right wall? 

We hear a lot about authentic leadership and, to me, this is what it means: knowing your values and using that knowledge to bring about the positive change you believe is important.  


Political ideology aside, I hope you can take inspiration from her Majesty’s example of servant leadership, and check-in with the end you have in mind for 2022-2023, so you can start this academic year with confidence and a clear sense of purpose. 


Leadership Edge is a growing team of experienced school leaders who have seen person-centred coaching create high-performing, happy and healthy cultures within our schools. Our mission is to empower other school leaders to create positive workplaces where staff are solution-focused and actively responsible for their own personal wellbeing and professional development.

Our 3-Tier Coaching Accreditation Programme is low-cost and self-sustaining, providing a systematic and structured model for staff across your school to become powerful coaches for each other, enhancing colleague relationships and their feeling of being valued as an individual within a supportive school community.

Connect with us: Twitter/X @EdgeSchools | Linked In: Leadership Edge – Coaching in Schools

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