Introduction: Rationale Why Mentoring Is Important
What is important about the concept of mentoring is an opportunity for a person to acquire new knowledge and obtain new skills from a coach or mentor. Moreover, it enables a person to get personal support and individual approach to the problems they may encounter. Therefore, success in various spheres can be facilitated and a new experience will no longer be frightening for a beginner who can move faster using the hints from a mentor. It provides a person with an opportunity to know about the pitfalls from a more experienced mentor and avoid them owing to that knowledge; thus, it helps a person to fulfill one’s potential. Having a mentor can even be seen as a factor that in some cases directly influences one’s fate, leading them either to failure or success.
On the one hand, for a mentee, mentoring can be considered the key to sustainable development and progress. One can learn, grow professionally and accomplish various types of goals in various fields of the contemporary world where competition is of utmost importance and strategic advice can enable a person to move forward instead of being confused. An effective mentor is expected to serve a mentee as an ally, a coach, an advocate or a guide who empowers, provides with confidence, promotes successful outcomes and encourages undertaking new challenges.
On the other hand, for a mentor, there are a number of benefits that they get from teaching the mentees and learning from them. They enhance their own professional knowledge and leadership skills as every new situation enables a mentor to get a new perspective on the similar problem. Furthermore, a mentor can meet new challenges and get a new sense of purpose while cooperating with a person who can become a well-trained and knowledgeable colleague. Another benefit for a mentor is considerable broadening of the network of mentoring relationships and getting the feeling of joy and satisfaction of paying forward the services done for them previously by other people.
Comparing and Contrasting Two Mentor Interviews
Support, criticism and advice can be crucial at some stages of the professional and personal development. The assistance may be obtained from different kinds of people whose attitude to mentoring, reasons why they have started doing that and view of the most efficient approaches can differ considerably; however, the relationship between any mentor and any mentee should be mutually beneficial. Two examples of special approaches to mentoring of Randy Curtis, a chaplain, and Mishiki Mcintyre, a youth leader/counselor at the country school, demonstrate what common features effective mentoring has and what weaknesses the mentoring approach of each of the interviewed people has.
While Randy Curtis advocates for those young people who are willing to care about the sick and provide help for those who need it, Mishiki Mcintyre works with young people in urban communities that encounter numerous problems and cannot resolve them without somebody’s assistance. Therefore, the target groups of the interviewed mentors are absolutely different; it is evident that different audience requires a different approach and particular set of applied techniques.
The motivation of both mentors and the reason why they started working in the chosen fields can be considered similar. Both of them had personal reasons to start helping people, and that cannot but impact the efficiency of the services they provide. Randy Curtis mentioned certain issues he had in the past without providing any specific details; however, it is clear that the particular role he has chosen is of great importance to him because of some personal and religious concerns. Mishiki Mcintyre is also motivated to be a good mentor by personal concerns as she understands the problems the youth has in the community because of having two African American sons. Acting as a positive role model, both mentors show the young people how to be successful and get their own satisfaction out of the process. Mishiki Mcintyre tries her best to turn the community into a better place for her own children and other young people who cannot be successful due to the numerous obstacles. Randy Curtis follows the God’s calling and does mentoring and chaplaincy to ensure that he fulfills the mission he thinks he has. Therefore, both of them take a personal interest in the practice of mentoring, and that is of significant importance to the efficiency of establishing the corresponding relationships.
Both of the interviewed mentors have external and internal pressures and show some signs of stress as their work is challenging. However, both of them demonstrate that their attitude to mentoring activity has a number of strengths. For instance, Randy Curtis mentions dedication, trustworthiness, and integrity as the traits of outstanding mentors, and he has the indicated personal characteristics. He believes in the concept of ‘Vision’ that guides a mentor and makes his or her approach convincing and highly effective. Talking to him, I believed that he has this special vision that enables him to be effective in his work and cooperate with young people efficiently. I also realized that his view of the skill necessary for a ‘great communicator’ is absolutely right. He is very persuasive and clear in his messages; therefore, I think that he is also very clear while communicating with the people he is mentoring. He refers to the example of Jesus’ way of talking to people; so, he also tries to be as concise and effective in his explanations as possible. Moreover, it is evident that Randy Curtis as a chaplain refers to religious values and insists on the importance of bringing all his mentees to a common ground in terms of the values. That is understandable as it is the approach of a religious leader and mentor; however, I believe that his weakness is being too dominative, moralistic and overly cautious. His system of values is defined sharply and he is unbending and imperturbable. It may result in the inability of young people to meet the high requirements he sets and their fear to be not good enough in the work they are going to do caring about the sick.
As for Mishiki Mcintyre, she managed to inspire me while being interviewed. She seems to be open-hearted, supportive and thorough in her approach. She is definitely focused on her goals being absolutely confident in the crucial importance of her mission.
She had no difficulties seeing the details and tried her best to help me see the big picture of the mentoring practice using her own example; thus, I can conclude that she does the same with her mentees. I liked her ability to explain to me the peculiarities of changes that take place in the community and her idea that there are numerous things to learn even if one has extensive experience. I could feel the energy she has and understood that the mentees will find it rewarding to follow her example of a leader. It seemed to me that the weakness of her style of mentoring is being overprotective. Being a caring mother, she may have an excessive concern for her mentees in some cases.
Conclusion: Three Lessons on Mentoring
The interviews enabled me to expand my knowledge of mentoring techniques and made my vision of being a mentor much clearer. I could see what qualities are of crucial importance while mentoring, and what weaknesses can a mentor have.
First of all, I have realized how much time and commitment mentoring requires. It is an ongoing support that cannot be taken lightly. My view of the implementation of mentoring has changed considerably as I started to value the personal attributes of the mentor and understood that only being productive and successful, one can act as a role model for other people. Even though there may be different motives for establishing the mentoring relationships, the aim of a good mentor is the same: to empower the mentees and enable them to find their own way out of a challenging situation. It is important to let the mentees overcome the problems using the knowledge and encouragement a mentor can provide.
Secondly, the interview with Randy Curtis made me think about the role of excellent communication skills that a mentor should have. I believe there should be a special talent to discover the best in the people and not to be overprotective or too imperturbable. Besides, reflecting on the work of Mishiki Mcintyre who deals with young people from underprivileged sections of the community, I realized that in some cases, the communication should be adjusted to the personal style of a person you work with. I will definitely base my style of communication on the peculiarities of the people I will work with and focus on making my feedback on the mentees as constructive as possible when I do my mentoring.
Thirdly, I realized how important it is to take into consideration the motives of other people and to be persuasive in facilitating the personal or professional success of the mentees. Besides, being too controlling or unbending is a weakness of a good mentor; so, the most effective approach is to be affirming, encouraging, warmly affectionate, but not too insisting.
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