My research provides an account of evaluating my mentoring practice using an Action Research design complemented by a mixed methods approach and the Hermann Whole Brain® Model (Herrmann, 1995). I explored how I can transform my mentoring practice using the principles of Whole Brain® thinking and how I can contribute to enriching the professional development of academic staff. My research has proceeded from an innovative idea and existing practice as an asset-based approach (Du Toit, 2009).
By utilising an Action Research design my research articulates the construction of my understanding of mentoring of other academic staff in their professional practice. I followed a constructivist approach as used by Piaget (1952, 1970) that is considered an appropriate epistemological underpinning of Action Research. My research design shows thinking style flexibility as an action researcher in that I have drawn on each quadrant of the Whole Brain® Theory as developed by Herrmann (1995). This enabled me to construct meaning with my peer mentees through the assessing of practice-based evidence, engagement and reflection. As my goal in mentoring is to assist in developing independent reflexive practitioners, I have chosen to use the constructs contribute to and catalyse to express my awareness that responsibility for professional development remains with the individual and that a mentor is not the only source of professional development in the context of a Private Higher Education Institution.
I have found that my peer mentees have differing thinking style preferences and varying professional experiences that required of me to engage with each in distinct ways to support the development of their professional practices. I position Whole Brain® Mentoring as a practice of mentoring that utilises multiple strategies for professional learning, both formal and non-formal, to engage the thinking preferences and disinclinations of mentees to catalyse the professional development of both the mentor and mentees. Many of my peer mentees perceive themselves as mentors, both of students and, in some cases, of other academic staff (our peers) as well. There is evidence that I utilise multiple strategies to facilitate professional learning and contribute to the professional development of peer mentees and that they have contributed to mine. My research provides evidence that I have become a more reflective practitioner, able to transform my Whole Brain® Mentoring Practice.