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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2017

Andrew J. Hobson and Linda J. Searby

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International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

Andrew J. Hobson, Linda J. Searby, Lorraine Harrison and Pam Firth

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294

Abstract

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International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Linda J. Searby and Denise Armstrong

The purpose of this paper is to introduce readers to the special issue on “middle space” education leaders (those individuals who are second-in-command in schools). The…

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626

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce readers to the special issue on “middle space” education leaders (those individuals who are second-in-command in schools). The special issue contains papers pertaining to mentoring those preparing for and aspiring to the assistant school leader role, as well as papers on programs that support new assistant principals/vice-principals through mentoring and coaching. The authors provide background on middle space leadership and mentoring from existing research literature, introduce the international papers selected for the issue, and identify unifying themes across the papers.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors provide highlights of relevant research literature on the importance of mentoring for school leaders in general, but also specifically address the need for mentoring for middle space leaders from the scant literature that exists on the topic. After reviewing the relevant literature, the authors provide an overview of the seven papers that were chosen for the issue through a rigorous peer-review process.

Findings

The co-editors of this special issue identify common themes that emerged from the papers chosen for the issue. In general, authors note that middle space leaders have unique mentoring and coaching needs, and there are few formal programs that address their needs. However, there is a growing awareness of the need to support assistant principals through structured mentoring programs, as well as preparing and mentoring those who aspire to the position.

Research limitations/implications

The seven papers chosen for the special issue represent a variety of research methodologies. A limitation is that the majority of the studies are qualitative, with small sample populations. However, even with small sample sizes, commonalities can be seen across the studies and across international contexts.

Practical implications

This review summarizes the issues facing middle space leaders in education and how they can be effectively addressed. The global audience that can benefit from engaging with the papers in this special issue includes educational leadership faculty, educational governing bodies, policymakers, school district central office personnel, senior principals, and assistant principals themselves.

Originality/value

This paper and the seven that follow extend the scant research literature in the realm of middle space leaders in education. They provide unique insights – from different international contexts including the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, and New Zealand – into the need for and potential benefits of mentoring and coaching aspiring and new middle space leaders.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2014

Linda J. Searby

The purpose of this paper is to define and describe the mentoring mindset in a protégé. The central research question was: What constitutes a mentoring mindset in a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to define and describe the mentoring mindset in a protégé. The central research question was: What constitutes a mentoring mindset in a protégé who is poised to receive maximum benefits from a mentoring relationship, as described by the mentor?

Design/methodology/approach

A phenomenological approach was used to conduct this study. Interviews were conducted with veteran school principals who were trained mentors, assigned and paired with newly appointed principals for a year of mentoring. The identification of the phenomenon of the mentoring mindset of the protégé was derived from the mentors’ perspectives of their protégés’ behaviors, dispositions, attitudes, and competencies, as they were conveyed in the research interviews.

Findings

A definition of the protégé's mentoring mindset was created after analysis of the interview data, and indicators of the presence and absence of the mindset were formulated into a Protégé Mentoring Mindset Framework that provides information on protégé competencies. The protégé with a mentoring mindset takes initiative, possesses a learning orientation, has a goal orientation, is relational and reflective. Conversely, the protégé who does not have a mentoring mindset lacks initiative, lacks a learning orientation, a goal orientation, and is not relational or reflective.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of the study is that it only gathered the perceptions of the mentor, but the protégé is the one being described. This, however, is consistent with other studies of protégé competencies. The study was conducted with a specific population (school principals) in a southern state of the USA. Hence, it cannot be assumed to be generalizable to other populations or fields of study. Replication of this research in other settings is suggested, so that the Framework can be further affirmed, disconfirmed, or augmented. Implications of this research could be that the Mentoring Mindset Framework can be used for considering the varied competencies of the protégé, and can be used in both mentor and protégé training.

Originality/value

To this researcher's knowledge, there has not been a Protégé Mentoring Mindset Framework of competencies created in mentoring research.

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Paula Kwan and Yuet-man Benjamin Li

The purpose of this paper is to understand the dilemmas facing Hong Kong vice-principals in discharging their roles and to further explore their engagement in informal…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the dilemmas facing Hong Kong vice-principals in discharging their roles and to further explore their engagement in informal mentoring as a coping mechanism in the absence of a structured professional development program.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative study was conducted in the form of in-depth face-to-face, loosely structured individual interviews with ten informants from a variety of personal and school backgrounds, contributing to a set of data that unveiled the basic themes.

Findings

Three dilemmas facing Hong Kong vice-principals were identified: juggling administrative work with teaching, standing by management or siding with peer teachers, and forced innovation vs omnipresent conservatism. The findings also suggested that the informants tended toward external resources intentionally with a view to gaining emotional support as well as professional stimulation. They also engaged in informal mentoring, which took the form of observing principals’ behaviors, joining support groups organized by school governing bodies, and enrolling in academic programs offered by universities and/or professional bodies, as a way to resolve the dilemmas.

Research limitations/implications

Informal mentoring has been identified as an effective approach for Hong Kong vice-principals to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to overcome workplace challenges and the feelings of loneliness experienced upon changing their role. The findings point to the importance of formalizing mentoring in vice-principal development programs.

Originality/value

This study is the first of its kind to explore the impact of informal mentoring on vice-principals in Hong Kong where both dual-career track systems and a structured mentoring programs are missing.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Catherine Marshall and Elizabeth Phelps Davidson

The purpose of this paper is to offer a viewpoint on the challenges that assistant principals (APs) face and to make the case for intentional mentoring, coaching, and…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a viewpoint on the challenges that assistant principals (APs) face and to make the case for intentional mentoring, coaching, and sponsorship of individuals in these roles.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors provide a professional viewpoint based on scholarly literature and their practitioner observation.

Findings

The authors propose that by focussing on APs, being systematic about supporting APs, and expanding and deepening understandings of the hurdles and dilemmas they face, the schools will have a more robust leadership pipeline and more satisfied and effective APs. They recommend that school districts, whether in the USA or internationally, consider adopting specific and intentional strategies to mentor, coach, and sponsor new APs, with what they call Mentor-Sponsor Models.

Originality/value

The author recommendation for school districts to create Mentor Banks of qualified, exemplary senior principals who can sponsor and mentor new APs as an “in house” model for developing district talent is an original idea that could be easily implemented in larger school districts.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Kathleen M. Cowin, Gordon S. Gates and Kathleen Luckett

Studies uniformly portray the assistant principal (AP) position as challenging given a number of systemic issues that negatively impact job satisfaction and performance…

Abstract

Purpose

Studies uniformly portray the assistant principal (AP) position as challenging given a number of systemic issues that negatively impact job satisfaction and performance. Mentoring has been proposed as a way to redress these problems. The purpose of this paper is to illuminate an alternative to traditional mentoring and make recommendations for how to utilize this approach in supporting APs and principal interns.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employ a retrospective and conversational approach, sharing incidents and interactions from their professional experience and making connections to existing research literature. The authors explain the relevance of three concepts developed in relational cultural theory (RCT) including: interdependent self-in-relation, growth-fostering interactions, and an exploration of systemic power.

Findings

The narrative exposes the ambiguity of school leadership and its toll, as well as how relational mentoring facilitates integration and making sense of challenging experiences for improved coping. Barriers in communication are described and the ways relational mentoring addresses these weaknesses by building trust, recognizing the expertise of mentor and protégé, and encouraging protégé empowerment and judgment.

Research limitations/implications

Potential research limitations such as inaccuracies in recall, reliance on a single method, and hindsight bias are recognized and addressed to reduce their threat.

Practical implications

RCT may provide ways to develop and structure more effective mentoring programs and educate both aspiring leaders and their mentors in their work together to provide for leadership development.

Social implications

Improved mentoring practices have the potential to help APs socialize into the role more quickly and become more effective school leaders.

Originality/value

The authors describe the use of RCT in a new context. The paper provides insights and guidance for APs, principals, principal interns, and leadership preparation faculty to offer a pathway on which to prepare the next generation of school leaders equipped with the desired competences and experiences to transform schools.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Jia Liang and Donna Augustine-Shaw

The purpose of this paper is to present findings from an initial year of mentoring and induction provided to new assistant principals (APs) served by the Kansas…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present findings from an initial year of mentoring and induction provided to new assistant principals (APs) served by the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute (KELI) and to identify program characteristics that support leadership development for first year APs.

Design/methodology/approach

The current research utilized surveys and interviews for data collection. The participants included 12 new AP mentees and five mentors currently participating in the KELI program. Two comparable questionnaires are designed to examine perceptions of both groups on the effectiveness of the program in general, mentoring/induction approaches used, and the appropriateness of the intensity of engagement required. The semi-structured interviews provide contextualized understanding of the same aspects examined in the surveys.

Findings

The findings reveal that mentees found mentoring/induction experiences with KELI highly valuable. The mentor-mentee matching mechanism together with other structured components in the KELI program such as mentor coaching training and multiple professional learning opportunities was instrumental for promoting a trustful relationship, reciprocal learning, and personalized and growth-based assistance that are key to successful mentoring/induction experiences.

Research limitations/implications

The study findings will inform the research-based requirements in KELI’s model and further define effective components in serving the unique and varied responsibilities inherent in the AP position.

Originality/value

There is a need to identify elements in effective mentoring and induction support for new APs and to encapsulate best practices to further develop skills and dispositions for this important leadership position.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Chad R. Lochmiller and Jennifer R Karnopp

– The purpose of this paper is to explore how school principals influenced or controlled leadership coaches working with assistant principals in urban secondary schools.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how school principals influenced or controlled leadership coaches working with assistant principals in urban secondary schools.

Design/methodology/approach

This longitudinal qualitative case study drew upon semi-structured interviews and program documents obtained from participants in a university-based leadership coaching program across three academic years. The study included 22 total participants, including ten assistant principals, nine leadership coaches, and three program staff.

Findings

A thematic analysis of the data produced three themes. First, principals controlled coaches’ work with assistant principals both directly and indirectly. Second, the extent of principal control influenced how coaches developed a confidential relationship with the assistant principals and what strategies they used to preserve the confidential nature of the coaching relationship. Third, the focus of the coaching support evolved in response to the assignment of responsibilities and duties to the assistant principals, which were largely outside the assistant principal and leadership coach’s control. The absence of alignment between coaching priorities and leadership responsibilities frustrated coaches.

Originality/value

The findings from this study make two significant empirical contributions to the literature. First, the study provides critical new insights about the extent to which politics generated by principals and administrative teams may influence the work of leadership coaches. Second, the study contributes to the sparse literature about leadership coaching for assistant principals, particularly those working in secondary school settings in the USA.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Brenda Service, Gulay Erin Dalgic and Kate Thornton

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of a shadowing/mentoring component of a post-graduate programme designed to prepare deputy and assistant principals for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of a shadowing/mentoring component of a post-graduate programme designed to prepare deputy and assistant principals for the principalship.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design is a qualitative evaluation of the shadowing/mentoring component of a principal preparation programme. The experiences of 13 individual aspiring principals who had taken part in the programme were explored using semi-structured interviews.

Findings

The shadowing/mentoring component of this programme allowed the aspiring principals to gain an understanding of the complexity of a principal’s role by shadowing and being mentored by experienced principals in a range of New Zealand schools. In addition to providing them with a network of effective principals, the experience led the aspiring principals to reflect on their leadership development.

Research limitations/implications

The study drew on a small sample of 27 students enroled in the programme, 13 of whom were included in the data collection process.

Originality/value

This study presents the views of aspiring principals who valued the opportunity to relate theory to practice as part of a post-graduate programme.

Details

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6854

Keywords

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