UWTSD’s Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning leads the way in Coaching and Mentoring in Wales


Last November, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning (WIWBL) hosted its inaugural conference focusing on Coaching and Mentoring in the Workplace.

Annette Fillery-Travis

Linking performance with wellbeing, the Conference provided an excellent opportunity to hear from international experts in the field with keynote speeches by eminent academics and practitioners, including Professor Stephen Palmer (Professor of Practice at UWTSD’s Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning) and Dr Peggy Marshall (CEO of Imago Performance).  Delegates also participated in a range of workshops on coaching practice and supervision. 

 “The Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning (WIWBL) has a strong background in training coaches and mentors for the workplace and we were delighted to welcome buyers of coaching, practitioners, Masters and Doctoral researchers as well as our alumni to share best practice and research in the field,” says Dr Annette Fillery-Travis, Head of the Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning and special adviser for the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC).

“We are fast becoming home to professionals throughout their careers - from novices through to advanced practitioners, providing thought-leadership in their fields as we enable people to flourish in their work and thereby drive flourishing organisations,” continues Dr Fillery-Travis.

“We see this type of work based learning as enabled by excellent coaching and mentoring. It is the way we support our mature students as seasoned practitioners and enable them to make sense of their own experience by reflective dialogue with another whose only agenda is their success. We know that the evidence now points to coaching as being the premier way of developing self-efficacy in adult and this is being taken up by organisations. One of our Masters students recently researched uptake of coaching in Wales and found that 90% of respondents said that coaching by line managers was one of the major modes of Learning and Development support within their company, and 40% of respondents are now using coaching by external coaches. This is a serious investment.

“We have driven this agenda in a number of professional fields - from developing social workers during their first year of practice to developing clinicians seeking to discover their leadership – and from encouraging teachers to become practitioner researchers, helping them discover the best pedagogy for THEIR children in THEIR context; to working with teachers of Voice, using performance coaching to work with children, single mothers, brain damaged stroke survivors.  More recently, we’ve also been involved in developing apprentices in the police.

“We are also driving the evidence base for what we do with an established research base in coaching and mentoring. Our doctoral community has grown to 28 professionals in only three years with students undertaking professional doctorates and more recently PhDs in a range of fields.  I believe that WIWBL epitomises the University’s mission statement of transforming education; transforming live - specifically developing a learning offer fit for Wales, its people and its context.


“I strongly believe that my own professional career has flourished, in part, because of the coaching and mentoring I received from key people in my life. From teachers who took the time to see my potential; professors who mentored me throughout my university career and to leaders who have nurtured me enabling me to give my best. When I am teaching I always ask my new students to think about the coaches and mentors who have made a real difference to them and I have never been disappointed.

“This has led me to research and work to get coaching and mentoring for us all in the way that suits us and enhances our learning and hence our self-mastery.  I am fond of quoting Daoist sages and my favourite quotation is from one who identifies - the only thing we need to do on this earth is learn - and coaching and mentoring is best way this can be done. For in learning we achieve self-mastery and wellbeing in our lives. 

“During our first conference we wanted to look at the range of ways coaching is used and how it is used, hearing from our very own Professor of Practice, Stephen Palmer and then from senior practitioners in the field, including Peggy Marshall, CEO of Imago Performance and research fellow at UWTSD who looked at coaching culture; exploring how coaching can be used across an organisation. It was also very beneficial to be able to look specifically at coaching within Education and Professional Development with Peter Jackson as well as a having a coaching supervision demonstration and education workshop with Professor Kay Livingston.

“I was struck when helping to put this conference programme by the increase in the number of papers and publications on Coaching and Mentoring.  When I wrote the CIPD book The Case for Coaching back in 2005/6 I reviewed the literature that existed on the subject at that time. There were a couple of hundred papers that included case studies and the number of doctorates was in double figures only - usually relating to leadership. Today, my bibliography software holds over 1000 publications, and this is just a snap shot of what is available. We have a number of Professional Doctorates in Coaching and/or Mentoring as well as PhDs and masters programmes with excellent research. Therefore, we can now ask the question: how do practitioners use this body of knowledge and engage with it and participate within the research so that our clients get the best value from it?

“It is through conferences such as this, that we can critique and engage with both practice and research, to see what is coming on the horizon from research as well as what has worked well in practice,” concludes Dr Annette Fillery-Travis.

UWTSD’s Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning prides itself in developing people to help them value the experiences and learning gained in the workplace through a variety of different pathways. The provision offered at WIWBL learner-centred and encourages inclusion, widening access and lifelong learning.  WIWBL has a distinctive portfolio of multi-award winning employment-focused programmes that are delivered through blended learning routes delivered by a highly respected team of staff, many of whom have influenced and shaped regional and national agendas and polices in their respective areas.

Dr Annette Fillery-Travis is a senior coach educator, researcher and author. After a successful career as a research scientist, where she was Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and author of over 50 academic papers, Annette began a second career with the Professional Development Foundation after attaining a Masters in Professional Development. She became CEO and designed leadership programmes for public sector managers and school leaders, and manager coach training programmes across a range of sectors.

During a sabbatical at the University of Manchester in 2008 she was responsible for the overhaul of the Masters in Educational Leadership and in 2010 Annette moved to Middlesex University where she was Head of the faculty for the Professional Doctorate where she has supervised over twenty coaching doctorates and ran the Work and Learning Research Group. She has also worked as a consultant to a range of Fortune 500 organisations including Nationwide US across a range of sectors.

She was principal investigator for a EU funded pan-European project on the Modern Doctorate and took up the post of Head of the Wales Institute for Work Based Learning at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David two years ago where she is perusing her passion for the facilitation of professional development of individuals.


Further Information

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