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Transcript - Open-to-Learning (OTL™) Leadership - Nick Lynch

Well I'm the principal of Hopetuon P-12 College which, clearly, is in Hopetuon. It's a remote rural school with around 40 kids in the primary component and around 80 kids in the secondary component.

It's my first time appointment as a principal and I relocated there from Torquay.

So one of the issues was getting a handle on the community and also establishing credibility with the teachers, the students and the parents of course.

I did the OTLC course through Bastow at Horsham.

It was a 1-day course and was basically a cluster of local principals and assistant principals.

To be honest I'd always felt that I was like a people person with, you know, the right degree of empathy so I thought it was a skillset I had but at the same time, you know, you make your choice about developing strengths or improving things that you're not good at. So it was more a self-awareness that I could learn more in an area where I felt I was skilled.

I think what I liked about it was that I could pick it up, take it away and use it the next day and I felt that, especially being new in a school, I didn't need to build rapport with anyone to actually use it could have application in the first conversation that I'd have with anyone else and equally I actually used it at a parent meeting so in a public forum and then in some one-on-one discussions as well.

So really versatile technique.

If someone wants to ask a challenging question, which is really code for starting a challenging conversation, I just feel way better at dealing with it also. I feel that for example in parent meetings we've all encountered that parent that wants to I guess ark up in front of an audience and the ability to just slip into a kind of structured response is way better than thinking well what am I going to say, what am I going to do.

It's just to simply check in, hear the person, acknowledge that you've heard the person and move on.

And it's a real great way of dealing with that in public as much as in the one-to-one.

The second week back in the school there was a really confronting situation that challenged some teachers, some parents and some students, and I think that it enabled me to keep things calm and to move forward rather than continually rehearsing the issue, going back over ground but helped me move things forward.

I've been a teacher for a long time and come late to the principal class and in some ways you are going against your true nature as a principal because l have always been a helper and a facilitator, but now I'm a manager of conflict. And at first it was really really difficult for me to be the mediator between 2 adults, one of whom was upset but the other. So I found the OTLC course just invaluable for me going to that other person and saying well what is your perspective on those comments and words as simple as that overcame a real kind of road block in my work as a principal.

You know we all look at a kind of magic wand things and you think yeah sure, but really and truly what it says it does it actually does deliver.

So its very genuine, very authentic and it is a magic wand.​