SUPPORT TO MENTORS IN “CREATIVE MENTORSHIP”
In mid-september we organized the second annual group mentors consultations, where mentors had the chance to get to know each other better, exchange their experience of mentorsing, share with other mentors, “Creative Mentorship” team and partners from Gi Group HR Solutions their doubts as well as to receive answers to some of the questions they havce. This is also a chance for “Creative Mentorship” team to receive suggestions for improvements of our work and our system for supporting mentoring couples.
As well as in April, again this time consultations were held in the venue of Gi Group and with their expert support. Olga Svoboda, who was until recently their Country Manager for Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, and who is now International Solutions Development Director, was facilitating the group exchange. We are sharing with you here the summary of the consultations, since some parts of our dicusssion and our advices might be useful.
Mentors shared what they learned during the mentoring process:
- better balance between personal and professional
- acquired new contacts and networked
- understood how valuable tools can be
- changed some of their paradigms
- improved their listening skills and adapting their reactions to the topic and the situation they are in.
Challenges in mentoring relations:
- balansing between wishes and possibilities, realistic and ideal
- lack of time
- shift in goals in the middle of mentoring
- giving feedback
- need of both mentee and mentor to feel successful during and after the process, to achieve progress
- lack of structure
- lack of knowledge in relevant fields for achieving the goal.
When mentors feel they achieved success?
- mentee chose the right way
- mentee formed priorities and gave up at least some of current activities
- recognition and professional status of the mente are achieved
- goals for the future period are defined
- mentee has rational approach toward goals
- motivation towards facing and overcoming challenges
- defined goals are achieved with both mentee and mentor being satisfied.
Mentors perceive that their mentees learned:
- better prioritizing
- new ideas and better understanding of their realization
- realistic evaluation of others and selves
- acquired relevant business tools
- accepting another opinion
- they grew professionally
- new perspectives opened up
- they networked and became more connected.
For mentors it is very important to receive feedback – from mentees as well as from other mentors and “Creative Mentorship” team – about how their work is perceived, if they fulfill expectations, if they are successful. We agreed to share in the future more positive feedback with mentors when there is opportunity to do so, and not only advices for improving. On the other side, we reminded mentors that mentoring as a method of learning most often gives long-term results, that are not immediately visible, so there should not be a frustration where there are no instant results and changes by mentees.
Mentors confirmed that developing this kind of relationship with another person, and participating in this program, is also a chance for them to get to know themselves better and get new personal insights and experience, as well as to improve their skills.
Besides these topics, we also discussed the importance of nonverbal communication, being role model and giving personal examples. It is always good to be aware of our own feelings, thoughts, prejudices… since the person on the other side anyhow gets this information even without us knowing it.
Also, we pointed out the significance of setting the SMART goals whenever that is possible. What is a SMART goal?
- Attainable / Agreed
- Time bound
Some of useful questions in operationalization of goals are:
- Why are these goals important to us?
- How they influence all the other?
- Why is this relevant to me?
- How will it look like when I achieve the goal?
- What should I do in order to achieve it?
One of the advices mentors got is to write down what they concluded and agreed with mentees at their mentoring sessions, and to go back to those notes afterwards together with them, maybe at the beginning of the next meeting. It is important to periodically check if the goals of mentee changed and in which way – so we can direct our actions towards changed goals. If our goals are key for our mentoring – are we aware of them enough, do we know them precisely and all the time? Are we going back to the goals set at the beginning and work mainly on them or our current problems occupy us too much?
We shared with mentors the matrix of priorities (and the difference betwen urgent and important), discussed a cognitive bias “curse of knowledge”, and advised them to assume as little as possible, and to speak with mentees openly and directly.
Finally, we reminded mentors that their formal collaboration with mentees lasts until the end of January, when the last mentoring session should be held. After that, their potential continuation of relationship, communication and collaboration, as well as its format and dynamic, depends solely on their individual and independent agreement within the couple.
“Creative Mentorship” websites includes “Knowledge Base” and especially “Mentoring Tools” for mentors and mentees. Some of the tools are closed only for members of CM community and partners. We believe that Mentoring tools as weel as other materials from “Knowledge Base” can be useful and significant support in mentoring relationships.