Claire is an Assistant Head in a secondary school. “I was promoted because I was good at my job,” Claire says. Now she wants to develop as a leader. Helen runs her own business – she has been fortunate in her career, benefiting from the support and energy of others and wanted to give something back.
“Claire was a really strong leader to begin with, and through our work she has learnt to step back and think through each interaction which is improving the outcomes of conversations.” Helen says. “Helen is amazing. I can bounce ideas off her. She is practical and helpful and I have learnt a lot about communication.” Claire says.
The partnership works both ways. Helen has gained a perspective and insight into leadership in a school context. “I’m really enjoying it. It allows me to learn, get better and pay it forward.” Both leaders recommend the programme. Claire says. “Everyone would benefit from it massively. It’s really good to have that insight and access to someone has achieved so much. It’s a privilege.”
"The programme enabled me to create some space for reflection"
Josephine, a new Head Teacher in a school that has been through a lot of changes, reflects on why she wanted a mentor: “For me it was a personal development tool to ensure that, as a leader, I continue to develop and sharpen my skills.”
Bill, a Senior Vice President, became a mentor because he wanted to give back to the education community. “Education has been fundamental in helping me to achieve my life goals and this was a great opportunity to get connected to leaders in schools to provide help for developing the skills needed as they move from management to leadership.”
Josephine says of Bill, “He will navigate me through and that’s what’s been really helpful. In school you reel from one thing to another which is hard because it’s so hands on and operational”. Josephine says it is difficult to be strategic and “he has kept me on that path.”
Bill says of Josephine “I have a great deal of respect for her. She’s so driven and committed to make a difference and do the best she can do for her school and for her learners. It’s very humbling.”
"It’s given me confidence, to have a sounding board from somebody outside of teaching"
Debbie, an experienced business manager in a challenging school wanted a mentor to help her gain a new perspective on her work. Helen, a successful business leader, wanted to share what she has learned in her career to help others which inspired her to become a mentor.
“It’s a great match,” says Helen. “Debbie has been very open which has been an honor. She has been thoughtful and gained confidence. There has been so much change in the school it has been hard to stay resilient.”
Debbie says she hit it off straight away with her business mentor, Helen. “It’s helped with communication and my confidence, little light bulbs going off. It’s transforming. My mentor is great, she has empathy and is warm natured.” Debbie says the sad part is that the programme has a start and a finish, “I feel it should be valued and be part of CPD because it makes you a better leader and supports your team.”
Helen says that mentoring a school leader “has given me confidence in my own abilities, I realize I have something useful to share. It feels great to be doing something good”
"You can test the waters before you take ideas into the workplace"
Jay, a Vice Principal in an inner city secondary school was matched with James , a Business Director.
“James was able to diagnose some of the systematic problems I was dealing with and gave me strategies and tools to go away and do what I am capable of to the best of my ability” says Jay.
James says of Jay “He has a real heart for the job, working in a challenging school, and he’s very humble. He really listens and doesn’t thinks he knows everything which is so refreshing compared to a business environment”. Jay adds “It feels like we have a shared ownership of the outcome. I’m really enjoying it”