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The Magic in the Space Between: How a unique mentoring programme is transforming women's leadership

The Magic in the Space Between: How a unique mentoring programme is transforming women's leadership

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Responding to a challenge posed by independent and state school leaders, Ian Wigston put together a team of experienced leaders from business, the public sector and the military to enable nearly a hundred women to explore their potential for school leadership.

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Responding to a challenge posed by state and independent school leaders, Ian Wigston put together a team of experienced leaders from business, the public sector and the military to enable nearly a hundred women to explore their potential for school leadership.
The Magic in the Space Between explores how mentoring, in tandem with a variety of innovative community projects undertaken by the women, provided a platform for each of them to develop a range of skills which saw more than a quarter achieve promotion within two years.
As well as telling the stories of individual success, frequently challenging their own assumptions, the book includes contributions from former Schools Minister David Laws, actor Juliet Stevenson and Commodore Mel Robinson, one of the most senior women in the Navy.
The book concludes with proposals to address the continuing problem of building a pipeline of future women’s leadership in education.

About the Author 

Ian has been an independent consultant and coach for more than 25 years. He specialises in coaching, innovation, and leadership development. He has undertaken projects for organisations as diverse as Barclaycard, Boeing, Boots Healthcare International, Santander and the Church of England and has been an advisor to the UK Government on Education Policy. 

Prior to establishing his own business, Ian built and ran Barclays’ innovation unit in the early 1990s. The team worked with external clients including ICI and Shell, and also undertook internal projects in retail and wholesale banking. Prior to this, his career had spanned relationship management in the Natural Resources team, the development of the Strategic Planning function for the Markets Division of BZW and the design and development of Electronic Banking Department. He was responsible for introducing coaching into Barclays.

Ian and his wife Hilary established Bright Field Consulting in 2013 and presently work with more than 100 state and independent schools in the UK. In one project, described by The Times as “unique”, Bright Field is enabling nearly 100 future women leaders by helping them develop their personal brands and marketing themselves more effectively in order to secure promotion. More than 25% of the cohort have won new roles. 

He is a Trustee of Multi-Academy Trusts in Peterborough and Romford and is also a Trustee of the Church of England Diocesan Board of Finance in Suffolk. He holds a BA (Econ) from Nottingham University, and an MBA from Henley Management College. For his work in education and elsewhere he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005, and is also a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

"An insightful book on mentoring with a unique focus on transforming women’s leadership."
Charlotte Avery, Headmistress, St Mary's School, Cambridge

"A magnificent, enterprising and exciting project but also a great book which captures so much of the richness of a programme like that. Very impactful.
Ian Clarkson, non-executive director of Mentore

Additional Information

Author Ian Wigston, with Hilary Wigston
ISBN 9781913622527
No of pages 154
Format Paperback
Publication Date 15 Jun 2021

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    Review by Jill Berryon 25/06/2021
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    Ian’s book focusses on the ‘space between’ the coach/mentor and the person they are working with – and what can be achieved in this space. It is an enjoyable and easily readable narrative of a mentoring programme offered to women currently teaching in girls’ schools (both state and independent), with support offered by professionals outside the field of education. The book centres on the development of leaders, rather than simply the preparation of headteachers. The pairing of female leaders across the sectors, the inclusion of cross-sector community projects and the organisation of conferences extended the scope of the scheme.
    The book covers the relationship between coaching and mentoring; the use of telephone/online coaching interactions; and the importance of choosing your location wisely. It also explores the role of personality profiling with respect to building self-awareness and giving participants in the programme a clear sense of direction. Ian outlines the general principles underpinning the coaching and mentoring process and offers specific advice as to how these supportive relationships can be as effective as possible, fleshed out with specific examples to illustrate the points he is making.
    Detailed interviews with those involved in the programme (both as mentor and as mentees), case studies which highlight specific issues, approaches and benefits and contributions from leaders from different fields who spoke at the conferences all serve to provide a strong sense of the value of the scheme and the power of all that can be accomplished in ‘the space between’.