Participants of the 6th cycle of the “Creative Mentorship” program gathered for the Mid-term training
After the first six months of working online, the participants of the current 6th cycle of the Creative Mentorship program gathered in person for the first time on May 28th and 29th in Nova Iskra. They had an opportunity to complete the first half of mutual cooperation through workshops, exchange of experiences, networking, and decide on the direction of work for the forthcoming period. Let us remind you that the 6th cycle of the Creative Mentorship program is being realized for the first time regionally, so 50 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia came to the gathering in Belgrade.
The focus of the Midterm meeting was on connecting and networking among the participants of the current cycle. It took place within a great, inspiring and creative group that can help the participants in their further work and personal and professional growth. The Creative Mentorship team is proud that the participants, during two days of work, as well as targeted speed-dating, met and understood how they can cooperate in the coming period. It was also an occasion for many mentoring pairs to meet in person for the first time, so this meeting added a new dimension to their relationship. In addition to that, the focus of the two-day workshop was on rethinking the mentoring relationship and work, examining the goals, planning further direction, and additional exchange about mentoring. We also discussed the possibility and practicality of creating an application for mentoring programs.
The meeting of mentors in person was especially valuable because they were able to once again confirm the fact that the mentoring relationship is a two-way process of learning and that it opens new perspectives, experiences, and understandings. Besides that, it offers a unique opportunity to expand the network and gain new contacts for potential cooperation colleagues. These days, many of them recognized opportunities for joint projects and some have even already set frameworks for cooperation in the coming period!
Saturday was reserved for a feedback session, in which the focus was on adopting tools for a finer reflection, but also for more successful communication. During this session, led by Dragana Jevtic, program director, and Larisa Halilovic, chairwoman of the Creative Mentorship Advisory Board, they talked about how and whether participants listen to each other. The conclusions are that the key points of a successful mentoring relationship are reciprocity, regularity, mentee’s initiative, and support and understanding of the mentor. Both mentors and mentees are expected to prepare for the meetings so that each meeting would be as constructive and useful as possible. Regular mentoring meetings also lead to trust-building and establishing a form of closeness, which are all key elements for a strong mentoring relationship. Mentoring couples were shown that they can use the reflection on the previous mentoring relationship in order to improve their joint work in the upcoming period.
Marina Delic from GI Group, the main educational partner of Creative Mentorship, held a workshop “Reviewing the goals and direction of our development.” Through this workshop, program participants gained insights on how and with what tools they can improve the setting, planning, and achieving the direction in which they want to develop. Marina pointed out several key elements that can help in that, and those are a clear vision (direction) towards which we want to go; understanding the context in which we create and act, but also setting short-term goals, in order to facilitate the path to achieving long-term plans. Courage and adaptability are qualities that are especially emphasized as important if we care about achieving certain goals. Through the feedback session, a “review” was made of the experience so far, in order to improve the mentoring relationship, and through the goal-setting workshop, the focus was on the future and what the program participants want to achieve in the next six months and how they can do it.
The Creative Mentorship team used this gathering to examine the attendees as they imagine a good and useful potential mobile application that would be intended for various mentoring programs. Numerous participants actively cooperated, giving suggestions, comments, and useful information. Through this conversation, we tried to find answers to the questions: Do we use applications for different programs, and to what extent? What is important that they contain? What characteristics do they need to fulfill? Is privacy important to us? What already exists in the market? The conversation was led by Tatjana NIkolić, program associate and member of our Advisory Board.
The second day of the gathering was dedicated to working in mentoring pairs, with a focus on how and in what direction they see the mentoring relationship and cooperation in the next six months. Formulation and evaluation of goals, the definition of certain areas of action in relation to skills and values, as well as setting priorities in relation to current needs. The Creative Mentorship team offered and suggested to the participants some joint activities that can deepen the mentoring relationship and their work, in addition to the classic one-on-one mentoring meetings. Mentors are encouraged to support their mentors in several additional ways if they wish to do so. For example, they can share their contacts they find relevant to the mentee’s work and connect them with colleagues whose support would be useful, visit the training or conference together with the menus, get acquainted with the mentee’s team and work environment, direct the mentees to additional literature or useful sources, design and implement a work activity together, go through annual reports (both mentors’ and mentees’) and discuss them, etc. Participants are also encouraged to use mentoring tools that can help them learn even more about mentoring and further develop their capacities.
We are looking forward to the realization of the second half of the current 6th cycle of the program, the continuation of the Educational Program, as well as the final gathering of all participants in Belgrade in the fall, completing the mentoring relationship and celebrating our mutual success.