The growth and evolution of a Special Interest Group

The growth and evolution of a Special Interest Group

students discuss an assignment

22 September 2023

Tarek Jomaa, who helps lead the EMCC Higher Education Special Interest Group, reflects on its growth since launching early in 2023.

The EMCC Higher Education Special Interest Group (SIG) has come a long way since its inception. With a commitment to fostering collaboration, disseminating research, and enhancing good practices, the SIG has seen significant growth and evolution over the past sessions. In this blog post, we will take you through the journey of the group and how it has evolved to serve the higher education sector effectively.

Inaugural session: defining the purpose – the journey began with the launch of the SIG in January. In its first session, the focus was on defining the purpose and setting clear goals. We invited participants to consider how coaching and mentoring could serve higher education. The GROW model by John Whitmore provided a structured framework for reflections. This stage laid the foundation for the SIG’s mission and objectives.

Second session: refining the focus – following a successful launch, the second session aimed to refine the group’s focus, based on valuable feedback from participants. The key question was whether the primary focus should be on leadership, professional development, or student success. This stage allowed us to shape the SIG’s direction, ensuring it aligned with our needs and priorities.

Third session: exploring opportunities – building on the momentum from the second session, the third session delved into the current reality of coaching and mentoring in higher education, particularly in relation to student success. Participants provided feedback on challenges and opportunities. This stage allowed for an exploration of options and opportunities for embedding coaching and mentoring in higher education.

Fourth session: charting the way forward – the fourth session marked a significant milestone for the SIG. It focused on the ‘way forward’ phase of the GROW model. Discussions centred on diversity and inclusion, and overcoming leadership resistance to coaching and mentoring adoption. We considered the need for more research and effective strategies for influencing senior leaders. This stage showcased the group’s commitment to continuous improvement and growth

Ongoing growth and reflection

The Higher Education Special Interest Group has grown organically, providing a safe space for professionals to reflect on how coaching and mentoring can enhance the complexities of academic life. As it continues to evolve, the SIG aims to serve the higher education sector by fostering collaboration, disseminating research, and enhancing best practices.

The journey of the group highlights the importance of structured reflection and collaboration in the higher education sector. By adopting the GROW model and continuously refining its focus, the SIG remains committed to its mission of enhancing coaching and mentoring within higher education. As it looks to the future, the SIG seeks to accelerate its impact and contribute to the growth and success of the higher education community.

Our next SIG meeting is on 9 November, when we will be debating whether more research is needed, or better strategies, for persuading senior leaders to adopt coaching and mentoring as standard practice in offering support to all layers of higher education.

Save the date and join the conversation to be a part of this exciting journey!

Photo by Yunus Tuğ on Unsplash