Mentoring – It needs to be authentic, engaging and trustworthy

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

For the past few years I’ve had the great experience of participating in professional learning networks. Some are online: edmodo, twitter, blogging and LinkedIn meanwhile others are face-to-face: teachmeet, local HoDs meetings, hosting visitors to our school and also mentoring partnerships. Each of the networks have provided learning experiences in a number of areas including leadership, edtech, learning science, design thinking, innovation, cognitive development, Maths teaching and learning, project based learning and government education policy. The mentoring partnerships have played a significant role in my professional learning and now I’m aiming to develop my mentoring skills so that I will be better equipped in leadership.

I’ve just finished reading a book called ‘The heart of mentoring’. The author writes that effective mentoring is authentic, engaging and trustworthy. He runs through ten principles that mentors should consider and identifies how best to operate as a reflective mentor. Some of the principles that I’ll be considering are:

Perseverance – Stoddard writes that the mentor is not the problem solver for the mentee. The mentor takes a ‘side-by-side’ approach and this means that progress will not be constant. Perseverance is required to deal with the natural ups and downs of life.

Wholistic approach – Even though mentoring partnerships normally begin in a professional capacity, there needs to be room to talk about issues of happiness, contentment, successful relationships, achievement, physical, mental and emotional well-being. These issues do have an impact on professional competency and sometimes they will require conversation and reflection.

Modeling character – Stoddard notes that effective mentors model character. The traits of honesty and integrity are not developed overnight nor are they highly valued by everyone. It’s in the stressful and demanding times that these issues of character are tested. By talking about these traits and having accountability it’s hoped that solid character can be modeled and lived out.

While I’m being mentored I think it’s helpful to have these things in mind so that I can be better equipped as I mentor others.

20130325-164008.jpg @markliddell

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