The role of principal can be a lonely one as it is not always appropriate to discuss some matters with your leadership team or with colleagues in other schools. This is where the value of a mentor becomes apparent. In working with a mentor a principal has the opportunity to work closely with a professional who can question and guide, who can provide another set of eyes and perspectives. This can assist the principal or senior leaders to see the bigger picture, the options and possible outcomes of specific responses to concerns and/or issues.
The strategic nature of the principal’s role is assisted by the one on one discussions that can take place between a mentor and the leader. The mentor also becomes the person to whom the principal can refer to discuss issues which require another view to be included in decision making and is a useful contact readily available. This is done in an entirely confidential manner where difficult questions can be discussed safely. The mentor conversations can also improve confidence and give the leaders the opportunity to ‘rehearse’ possible outcomes and how these could be dealt with.
Ahead Associates has three ex-principals among its associates, two from secondary schools and one from a primary school who are available as mentors.