Throughout most of my adult life I have been a leader in varying guises: a teacher, a head of year, a deputy, a consultant, an OFSTED inspector, a headteacher and a mum!
As a school leader I often felt like a rogue wave at sea — frequently out of my depth and rolling around in a vast ocean. In 1997, when personal tragedy hit my three-year-old son and I, overwhelming feelings of devastation struck. However, I vowed to lead him and I out of the trauma and for neither of us to be defined by the awful experience.
It was not easy, and at times I wanted to give up. Professionals tried to “fix me” on numerous occasions, but somewhere deep inside, I had a drive; a desire and necessity to overcome the dreadful event and for us to thrive. To live.
When I entered a low point on the wave and my resilience was depleted, I found I couldn’t find the clarity I sorely required. I couldn’t think clearly or would simply feel overpowered and unsure of what to do or say. I never reflected on how I had reached that point (I hadn’t the time!), or indeed, what I had learnt about myself and others during those moments. I never viewed mistakes and failures as learning opportunities, just something to ignore and move on from, as quickly as possible.
I would explain to myself that I was not particularly good at ‘that sort of thing’. I had no tangible strategies to work from, or knowledge of how to effectively examine a problem. I certainly never saw those periods as an opportunity for personal growth.
Over time I attended a myriad of leadership training courses, looking for answers. Colleagues often told me I was a good leader, but I didn’t really understand what they meant. I was just doing and saying what felt right for me; sometimes to the detriment of my health and sanity.
Yet, I learnt to ride the peaked waves of stress, crisis and chaos well. I was good in an emergency: handling the death of staff, of a child, a child losing a finger in a doorway, discovering a 6-foot python (called Bernard) in the playground and even OFSTED.
After years of enabling aspiring leaders in my role as a headteacher, in January 2017 I made the fantastic decision to step away from headship and start a leadership coaching business — Jacqui Frost, The Leaders’ Coach. As time has progressed, I have discovered my passion lies in guiding, supporting and challenging leaders from all walks of life and from a variety of organisations; strengthening resilience in a conscious and proactive way.
My previous working experience in a variety of senior-level positions, combined with my inspirational and motivational coaching-style, ensures all clients are held in safe hands throughout their coaching journey.