Novice principal mentoring and professional development

Nirit Pariente, Dorit Tubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article explores the contribution of mentoring to the professional development of novice principals. Based on Abbott’s (1988) framework, the authors suggest that effective mentoring depends on the extent it develops professional core knowledge, which includes the skills of diagnosis, intervention and inference that are heavily based on academic knowledge, practical experience, self-awareness and reflective ability. Design/methodology/approach: An exploratory qualitative methodology was applied to discover principals’ perceptions of their mentoring. The authors interviewed 15 novice principals about their mentoring events and conducted a category-based analysis to find out how these events reflect contributions to their diagnosis, intervention and inference skills. Findings: The study found that most of the mentoring events provided support for the intervention skill, while ignoring the skills of diagnosis and inference. We suggest that to develop novice principals professionally, mentors should place similar emphasis on all three skills. Research limitations/implications: The small research population and its possible bias toward positive mentoring experience may present only part of the picture. Still, the data provided important insights into how mentoring supports (or not) professional skills development, even in the best cases. Using professional skills in a large sample survey of effective and less effective mentoring relationships would help to validate this framework. Practical implications: First, the findings serve as a guideline for mentor training programs to help develop mentors’ ability to support all three professional skills. Second, the findings may help novice principals to evaluate their mentoring relationships and their contribution to developing professional core knowledge skills. Originality/value: The professional skills framework adds to the principal mentoring literature by emphasizing the importance of diagnosis, intervention and inference skills, in addition to certain content and specific conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-386
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Mentoring in education
  • Novice principal
  • Professional core knowledge
  • Professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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