Mentorship is dynamic, collaborative, reciprocal relationship that is focused on you, the mentee, and your personal and professional development. Mentors are volunteers who are prepared to openly share the wisdom they have gained from their career experiences - both positive and negative. As a mentee, you benefit from exposure to different styles and approaches, opinions and experiences.
Effective and efficient mentoring is dependent upon the mentor's ability to share insights and observations, articulate potential strategies and identify very specific information on skill development. Being a mentee requires that you take responisbility for your part in the collaborative alliance and to be the leader of the relationship by guiding and facilitating the mentor's efforts to create a satisfying and productive relationship for both of you.
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Benefits of having a mentor
There are many benefits to you, the mentee, for paticipating in a mentoring realtionship. The benefits invlude but are not limited to the following:
- Learn new skills
- Gain insight into career directions
- Better adapt to change
- Make better decisions
- Develop your professional practice
- Develop stronger values
- Develop greater confidence
- Turn weaknesses into strengths
- Obtain opportunities to network with experienced mentors
- Grow networks and future potential
- Work through difficult situations
- Connect with a learning partner who believes in you and your ability
- Make appropriate personal and professional decisions
- Overcome obstacles and challenges
- Gain a third-part nonjudgemental perspective
Mentee Readiness Assessment"How ready am I to be mentored"?
Your rediness will have a signficiant impact on how succsessful and productive the mentoring partnership will be. Before proceeding please reflect on the following statements.
- I want to develop my potential and career.
- I am responisble for my own development and growth.
- I am open to new ideas and approaches in order to tink through complex situations.
- I am prepared to deal openly with setbacks and roadblocks.
- I will look for learning opportunbities amid difficulty.
- I continually try to define and refine what I understand about myself.
- I am prepared to check my ego at the door, be open-minded, willing to change and coachable.
- I am willing to implement changes and take action.
What to look for in a mentorBefore looking for a mentor, first you need to determine:
- What are your goals in choosing a mentor?
- What do you need from a mentor? What skills do you want to develop with your mentor's assistance?
- What charactersitics are you looking for in a mentor?
- Is the mentor's feild of study important?
- Is the mentor's experience key?
- Is the mentor's career position imporant?
- Talk with your prospective mentor about both of your expectations for the mentoring relationship: how it will work, what it will look like, and how often you will communicate.
- Find out what mentoring experience the prospective mentor has.
- Set boundaries relating to confidentiality, time commitments, and the areas you mutually feel the mentor can most help you with.
- Know when it's over. Some mentoring relationships last quite a while, but others are time-limited. Once a specific goal has been accomplished, there may be no further need for interaction.
Making the Most of Mentors: Ten Tips for Mentees
- Initiate. In order to sustain the mentoring relationship, take the initiative to ask your mentor a question, to let him or her know your educational and professional interests and objectives, and to ask about his/her own experience.
- Honour your commitment. Your mentor probably has a very demanding job. He or she has volunteered to take on the added repsonsibility of mentoring. Please be appreciateive of your mentor's time and investment; respond in a timely manner to your mentor's questions and comments. If you don't have the time to respond at length, send a short message letting this person know you will be in contact when you have the opportunity.
- Help your mentor help you. Tell your mentor how she/he can be most helpful to you.
- Expect support, not miracles. You can expect a certain level of support and advice from a mentor, but he or she can't solve your problems for you. Perhaps the most valuable quality a mentor can offer is an alternative point of view. A mentor can put the situation in perspective, offer feedback, serve as a sounding board, and identify others whose brain you might pick or activities you can engage in or small ways you can position your work to meet your goals as well as resources that may be hepful to you.
- Communicate clearly. Initiate contact with your mentor if you have questions or would like to discuss something. Identifying your needs and communicate them as clearly as possible to your mentor. It may be helpful to put some focused energy into roganizing your thoughts and concerns before tlaking to your mentor, so that the time is spent wisely.
- Be teachable. Be willing to learn new things, obtain another perspective, and be responsibe tyo suggestions and contrcutive criticism.
Expectations of the mentorOne of the key features of ACSW's mentoring program is its flexibility. The mentor and mentee decide on how the relationship will work. ACSW, however, does have some minimal expectations of mentors and mentees including:
What is expected of a mentor?
- Spend at least two hours per month building the mentoring relationship.
- Have a face-to-face exchange at least once every six months.
- Set expectations with the mentee for how and when you will contact each other.
- Help your mentee with identifying and setting goals. Track progress and make changes as needed.
- Approach the mentoring relationship with an open mind, professionalism and respect.
- Support the mentee's professional behavior. define professional behavior if needed.
- Keep the content of discussions within the mentoring relationship confidential. All of your exchanges with your mentee - both personal and professional - are subject to the expectations of the professional confidentiality.
- Communicate problems with the mentoring relationship to ACSW program staff.
Expectations of the menteeThe following are expectations of the mentee:
- Spend at least 2 hours per month building the mentoring relationship.
- Make the first contact with the sleected mentor and respond to all communications
- Set specific goals for the mentoring relationship with the mentor.
- Commit to agreed-upon expectations and goals set with the mentor.
- Be appropriate in your requests of your mentor; in particular do NOT ask for a job.
- Approach the mentoring relationship with an open mind, professionalism and respect
- Be receptive to suggestions and feedback.
- Share your career plans with the mentor, recount your intitiatives for professional development, ask for advice, reflect on the mentors obeservation and inform the mentor about the restulst of various efforts.
- Keep the content of discssions within the mentoring relationship confidential. All your exchanges with your mentor - both pesonal and professional - are subject to the expectations of professional confidentiality.
- Refrain from asking mentors for evaluative advice; rather, take advantage of the mentor's suggestions about resources for the feedback adn objective evaluation.
- Communicate problems with the mentoring relationship top ACSW program staff.
Please Note: Participation in ACSW's Mentor Roster is voluntary and the roster is intended to be a resource for Social Workers seeking mentorship.