Watson Chronicle


Support for Educators in the Field

Mentoring Expert Delivers Keynote at Conference at the Watson College

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Robert Garvey, professor at the York St. John School of Business in the United Kingdom and a leading European expert on mentoring and coaching, delivered the keynote address at a conference titled "Building Leaders: Using Mentoring, Coaching and Self-MentoringTM to Lead." The conference was held at the Watson College on April 11.

"The heart of all learning is critical reflection and reflexivity," Garvey said. Mentoring and coaching have been mentioned in literature that dates back centuries and they're both commonly practiced today because many people need help with the process of self-reflection, he said.

The terms "coaching" and "mentoring" are sometimes used interchangeably, but Garvey said there's a difference. "Mentoring is built around a relationship that involves trust, support and encouragement, and education is holistic," he said. "With coaching, subject matter is stressed. The subject could be academics, sports or something else, but the goal is always performance improvement."

Garvey, who has mentored people from a variety of organizations and walks of life for decades, said he was intrigued to learn about self-mentoring last summer when WCE assistant professor Marsha Carr was a Fulbright Specialist at the York St. John School of Business.

Mentory2Carr developed the Self-MentoringTM program to help individuals grow professionally and take charge of their own success. Participants in the program learn to improve research, collaboration and networking skills as they work through four levels of self-mentoring. The levels include self-awareness, self-development, self-reflection and self-monitoring.

"Self-mentoring offers a new model that has yet to be explored," Garvey said. "It could help bridge gaps and solve problems in the mentoring and coaching process."

Garvey joined a panel of college faculty and teachers at the conference to discuss "What is self-mentoring as it relates to you?" The panelists had all personally participated in the Self-MentoringTM program or introduced it to students. Participants were: Keisha Bennett-Smith, program director at Isaac Bear Early College High School; Diane Pastor, associate professor in UNCW's School of Nursing; Donna Thomas, science teacher at Union High School in Sampson County; Candace Thompson, associate professor at the Watson College; and LaTerri Underwood, science teacher at Wallace-Rose Hill High School in Duplin County.

Thomas has introduced the program to five teachers in Sampson County over the past two years. "I see cognitive coaching as the right hand and self-mentoring as the left," she said. "Teachers have been very responsive to the process."

Underwood said the program taught her "to celebrate successes more and focus on failures less."

Pastor is introducing Self-MentoringTM to graduate students enrolled in a hybrid distance learning program and said she hopes it will help them overcome occasional feelings of isolation.

Bennett-Smith and Thompson are introducing the program to select students at Isaac Bear. "Mentoring is a commitment to honor goals, and self-mentoring is a commitment to yourself," Thompson said. "It's time-consuming in the beginning because there's a foundation to be built, but once it's ingrained it will help students be more self-reflective. They won't need to say, 'It's time to do self-mentoring' anymore."

Bennett-Smith said it's too early to assess results, but indications are that the program is helping students at Isaac Bear boost their self-confidence. "We're seeing students raise their hands and participate more often," she said.

Donyell Roseboro, chair of the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education was also a featured presenter. Addressing diversity, she said mentoring, coaching and self-mentoring can all help teachers recognize personal biases and find new ways to engage students of diverse backgrounds.

Carr coordinated the conference with assistance from graduate students Bethany Meighen, Bethany Tap and Kevin Derajtys, and Lisa Hunt, administrative associate in the Department of Educational Leadership. The event was sponsored by UNCW's Graduate School, Center for Teaching Excellence and Center for Faculty Leadership, the Watson College of Education, WCE's Department of Educational Leadership and EDU-TELL, LLC.

For more information on the Self-MentoringTM program visit www.selfmentoring.net