CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS

Liz Hall talks to mentoring expert, Bob Garvey, professor of business education at York St John Business School, former school teacher and full-time dad, and 2014 winner of the Coaching at Work ‘Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award’
When I interviewed Bob Garvey in September, he was “still floating” after being awarded the Coaching at Work ‘Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award’ in July (vol 9, issue 5, p16).

Listening to the judges’ comments at the awards ceremony, he “couldn’t believe it was about me”.

Fittingly, there were comments about his humility, as well as his impressive contributions to the world of mentoring – and coaching. It’s true that Garvey quietly goes about his business. But the professor of business education at York St John Business School is certainly not afraid to speak out and to rattle cages, nor is he one to follow the crowd.

This much was apparent early on in his working life. He started out as the only male early years teacher in London at that time, at a school in East Acton, then a highly deprived area.

“I saw my job as socialising these kids, who were very feral, running wild.” Even back then, he encouraged enquiry.

“When kids came running in saying, ‘Look what I’ve found, what is it?’ the teacher would say, ‘It’s a conker, put it down over there.’ Whereas I’d say, ‘Where did you find it; what colour is it; what do you think we should do with it?’ to start them investigating and enquiring.”

“What’s the point of saying, ‘It’s a conker, dear’, because that’s the end of the story. So we explored principles of science, like being able to ask questions and observe well. Naming is at the end of the line.”

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