The term mentoring can be traced back to Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. The original Mentor, a combination of the goddess Athena and man, was entrusted with care and guidance of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. Odysseus went off to fight the Trojan War and left Telemachus in the care of the guardian. In this great tale, Mentor’s complex role was twofold: to care for Telemachus while guiding the young man to adulthood; and to help Odysseus fulfill his life’s quest by preparing Telemachus to stand by his father in their fight to regain control of their home in Ithaca. Throughout The Odyssey, Mentor helps Telemachus to grow and learn.
Classically when you are being mentored you ‘receive’ assistance from a mentor who is a type of ‘personal trainer’, sometimes on a specific issue e.g. moving in to a new role. Developmental Mentoring is more two way – a partnership between two people built upon trust. Here the mentor offers ongoing support to the mentee, addressing issues and blockages identified by the mentee. The mentor offers guidance and support in the form of objective assistance. Both share a common purpose of developing a strong two-way learning relationship based on trust, common purpose & mutual learning.
Mentoring can also give experienced team members a renewed sense of direction. They find themselves using their current skills in a different way which can stretch them but also give them recognition in the eyes of their colleagues.
So what makes a good mentor?
1. Making a commitment to taking the development of your colleague seriously. This includes meeting regularly so the relationship can develop, whilst ensuring that at no time they become dependent on you. It also means you need to ensure there is a structure in place so you can regularly review how things are progressing.
2. Clarity of expectations from both sides.
3. Working on your active listening skills so that you can pick up important cues from what they say that you can reflect back and link to relevant issues.
4. Demonstrating empathy so you can showing you understand their experience without taking the focus off them or offering solutions.
5. Leaving your ego at the door. You must have a desire to work for the general good of the person rather than a personal need to share your worldly experience.
Dedici Workshop recommendations:
- Coaching & Mentoring Tips & Tools
- Professional Healthcare Mentor
- Peer Coaching for SAS Tutors/Leads