“Creative mentorship” affirms mentoring as a tool of personal and professional development, strengthens the capacities of the cultural sector and provides support to prospective professionals interested in developing, networking and sharing knowledge and experience. We want to build, gather and support a community of motivated and socially responsible individuals that will contribute to the development of a society based on creativity, culture, knowledge and mutual cooperation.

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THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS MENTORSHIP

If you heard about the mentorship for the first time, reading these texts could be a great start!

The idea of mentorship

Mentorship implies a specific, interactive relationship that entails the exchange of knowledge and experiences between a mentor (a more experienced person) and a mentee (someone less experienced). By using this approach, the mentor supports the mentee in his/her personal and professional growth. Also, they work together on exploring and developing mentee’s skills, talents and abilities. Therefore, the main aim of mentorship is to create a space for thinking, self-reflection, personal and professional development. In this joint journey, the mentor is the one who listens, supports and follows.

*The word ’mentor’ originates from Greek mithology! Mentor was a trusted friend and advisor of Odysseus, king of Ithaca. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War, he asked Mentor to be the teacher and tutor of his son, Telemachus. Mentor guided Telemachus through his childhood: he was teaching, supporting and inspiring him. Moreover, he was  sharing his knowledge and experiences with him as well.
Why would you enter a mentoring relationship?

Do you have a need to ask for an advice someone who you believe that could provide you with relevant knowledge and experience? Do you want to share the challenges you face with someone reliable, talk about available options or possibilities that may occur but that you have not even thought about? Are you interested in the life path of the people you admire – how did they reach their goals and overcome obstacles?

If your answer is YES, you are in the right place!

Or – do you want to share your knowledge and experience in order to support important initiatives and projects? Do you want to create a better society? Do you often think what would have happen if some advice had been given to you when you were younger? Would you like to have an insight into the minds of other generations and people with different interests than yours?

If YES, you are still in the right place!

Who is the mentor?

The mentor is a coach, a guide, a facilitator and a trusted advisor on mentee’s personal and professional development journey. (S)he is someone willing to invest his/her time and expertise to direct the development of a mentee, without asking for anything in return. The mentor uses techniques of active listening and asking questions in order to provoke mentee’s new way of thinking and acting, and to provide support in challenging situations. It is not important if the mentor is younger or older than the mentee, from the same or different background, but (s)he should be chosen based on mentee’s needs, goals and challenges.

In practice, there are many expectations from the mentor. Some of them are:

-To establish and maintain a good rapport and trustful relationship with the mentee;

-Provide optimal instructions, suggestions, explanations, guidance and advice;

-Provide necessary and useful contacts for the mentee’s development;

-Provide stable support for mentee’s development in a specific period of time;

-Be conscious of the realistic options for mentee’s career development and provide guidance accordingly;

– Provide new perspectives on mentee’s questions and doubts;

-Analyse mentee’s skills and provide constructive feedback.

*One of the most common myths about mentorship is that it is an exclusive relationship and that mentorship couples are formed only between famous and successful people. This is not true – mentorship is one of the most common informal ways of knowledge transfer and everyone experiences it at least once in life. On the other hand, knowing that even the most successful people have a need to establish a mentoring relationship can inspire us to do the same. Steve Jobs was a mentor to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg; fashion designer Christian Dior was a mentor to his colleague, Iv Sent Loren; musician Ray Charles was a mentor to Quincy Jones; physicists and astronaut Sally Reid (the first American who went into space in 1983) was a mentee of her high school professor, Artur Walker; artist Jackson Pollock was a mentee of the painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton…
What does a mentor get out of the mentoring process?

The mentor gets to know a person that (s)he probably would not meet otherwise, thus gaining a thorough insight into the attitudes and values of different generations. Mentoring relationship brings personal satisfaction through the contribution to the development of other people, and vice versa – the opportunity for self-improvement through the exchange of views and discussions with a mentee. Individuals who are entrusted with the role of being a mentor also strengthen their position in a professional and personal environment.

Who is the mentee?

According to the dictionary, the mentee is a chosen student. (S)he is a person who has a need for mentor’s  support, who wishes to improve his/her knowledge, develop on a personal level, learn something new, and receive concrete advice and guidance. The mentee is personally responsible for his/her own learning and growth, but has a support of a mentor on that path. Being a mentee requires openness to the new ways of working and communicating, willingness to explore oneself, readiness for challenges and changes…

What does a mentee get out of the mentoring process?

The mentee gets the precious opportunity to gain a better insight into his/her own capabilities, knowledge, interests and possible choices. (S)he learns how to define the goals of his/her lifelong learning, improve his/her own capacities and expand his/her existing network of contacts.

Breaking common myths about mentorship
  1. Mentorship is a waste of time.

It is often very difficult to think about the things that are the most important to us, and we are reluctant to devote time to the development of strategies for personal growth. Mentoring process makes us more productive in a long run because it teaches us how to communicate efficiently, to define our long term goals, to persevere in our attempts and plan successfully.

  1. Mentor has to be older than a mentee.

Mentoring process entails knowledge exchange and a change of perspective – often a person who is younger than us can provide inspiring food for thought.

  1. Only a mentee benefits from a mentoring relationship.

Mentorship is comprised of two equal interlocutors: it is a two-way relationship. Both mentor and mentee give and receive, they learn and grow together.

  1. Mentorship is comprised of long, 1-on-1 meetings, with endless philosophising on the meaning of life

Mentoring process has a clear structure. Each session is organized in accordance with clearly defined mentee’s goals. In addition to meetings in person, the mentoring relationship develops via Skype, e-mails and other means of communication.

  1. Mentoring process is led by a mentor.

Even though a mentor is the one who provides support, the whole relationship depends largely on a mentee who formulates his/her own goals in a defined time frame, asks important and relevant questions and chooses topics for the mentoring sessions.

  1. Mentorship is only for those who have a problem.

Mentorship is not problem-oriented but it focuses on the process of communication and personal growth. Everybody needs a mentor, at every moment of their life.

Dive deeper into the meaning of mentoring, the rules of the game, its stages and characteristics.

Plan your mentoring sessions with practical step-by-step tips.

Explore and develop your mentoring relationship with examples and tool suggestions that you can use at meetings.

Download the latest edition of the MENTORING GUIDE, published by “Creative Mentorship”, which includes a series of short texts and practical advice on the role of mentors and mentees, building a successful mentoring relationship, designing meetings and avoiding potential problems. It is intended not only for program participants, but for everyone who wants to enter the mentoring adventure! The manual is free to download and use, but whenever you publicly publish a part of the content, it is necessary to indicate where the content is downloaded. You can download the manual here!