Mentoring for School Leaders

I spent a day this week facilitating a team of very experienced educators who have served as international school heads and superintendents around the world. They will be serving as mentors for AAIE’s -Association for the Advancement of International Education new Institute for International School Leadership.

The goal of the Institute is to advance the preparation and continuing professional development of leaders in international schools. Specifically, this initiative is designed to deliver critically important knowledge from experienced international school leaders to assist in the development and growth of currently-serving as well as aspiring school leaders.”– Elsa Lamb, AAIE Executive Director

I opened the session with participants paired to discuss the following:


List and describe experiences you have had with being mentored. Were they formal or informal? Assigned to you or selected by you? What were the critical elements of the successful relationships?


In a very short time the participants identified the following list of critical elements:

  • Trust
  • Self Reflection
  • Knowledge
  • Relevance
  • Growth
  • Safety
  • Encouragement

Their words matched the purposes of the training activities that followed.

Here are two examples:

Self reflection: Participants identified how to phrase questions using the Questions for Life to conduct initial goal setting conferences at the program’s outset. (Click on picture to make larger.)

Reflecting Conference 1:

Creating Goals:
The mentor and participant create achievable professional goals as an international school leader. This conference must take place before the start of the first course of the program. Goals should be documented and stored in the participant’s personal digital portfolio to be reviewed and revised appropriately throughout the entire two-year program.


Encouragement: Two verbal skills were practiced that help to communicate encouragement.

Confirmatory Paraphrase









Cite the Specifics


As an example, in a conference the mentee might say…

“I really can’t get the teachers to take the responsibility for change without more support from the head of the school.”

The mentor might respond with a confirmatory paraphrase:
You see that you have a need to increase teachers’ commitment to the efforts.
You want to find ways to persuade the head as well as the teachers.

An approval statement might follow:
Your willingness to challenge yourself and perhaps take risks is a sign of commitment to your students

If you are preparing training for mentors these experienced international educators provide a great list of elements to consider. I’ve posted my power point if you are looking for additional ideas.

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Pondering Topics

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email