Gatekeepers of the Profession
Those of us with years of training and experience are Gatekeepers of the Profession.
When we mentor, we are training people for the future.
The effective Mentor carries out the following;
4. Provision to the Mentee of continuous feedback in a positive and constructive manner
Characteristics of an Effective Mentor
Characteristics of an Effective Mentor;
1. Willingness to share knowledge and skill
2. Excellent communication skills
3. Good grasp of the language spoken by the Mentee
4. Ability to encourage
5. Ability to be supportive of the Mentee
6. Ability to give constructive feedback
7. Ability to be approachable
8. Has up to date knowledge
9. Is enthusiastic about the field of knowledge/work
10.Good Mentors need to have genuine concern for the Mentee as individual
The Mentor's Role;
The Mentor needs to be able to do the following;
1. Act an an effective role model
2. Plan learning experiences
3. Share expertise
4. Demonstrate best practice
5. Identify the student's learning needs
Mentors are Gatekeeper in that they, through years of studies, qualification and experience, are qualified practitioners who have the ability and gravitas to mentor a student to achieve competence and, indeed, excellence in the field.
The Mentor does this by;
2. Monitoring of progress
3. Identification of Mentee's strengths and areas for improvement
The Mentor assists the Mentee achieve optimum knowledge in the field.
So; How does This Work?
How do the above principles apply in reality?
Here is an Imaginary Example;
I am a Herbalist who has a thriving Practice. I am asked to Mentor a student who is struggling with both her academic and practical lessons in the College of Herbalism in my local area.
I am Gatekeeper of the Profession of Herbalism, as I have many years of training, I have qualifications and many years of experience. I have had much success in my Practice, and have helped many in the Field of Healing through my knowledge of herbs.
By mentoring the struggling student, I am training someone for the future. I will not always be around, as the time will come for me to make the next step in my journey into the next life. However, I can leave a wonderful legacy in the form of an enthusiastic and well trained student, who has become a Healer and eventually a Master in the Field of Healing. This is turn, means that my student - effectively mentored by myself - may pass the light of knowledge and the mastery of Herbalism on to many others. So; my contribution to my global society will not cease when my time to move on to the next life comes; my influence will continue to quietly affect the lives of others in future generations and centuries, for their good.
I supervise the Mentee as needed, and note (assess) where the Mentee is struggling (with the practical knowledge of the different types of plants). I also note that the Mentee is shy, and struggles somewhat with talking to people. I make an assessment of the different types of herbs the student gets confused with (lavender, plantain, chamomile, rosemary). I sit down and have a chat with the student about the issue with the herbs in a gentle and understanding manner (Provision of Feedback). The student realises that yes, she gets confused between the different plants. (Student Learning Needs).
I spend time explaining the differences between the herbs, what they look like and their herbal uses (Teaching).
I spend time with the student in the Herbal Garden, letting the student crush leaves of the herbs between her fingers so as to become familiar with the different characteristic scents of the herbs. I encourage the student to garden among the herbs, learning the difference in shapes and flowers and leaves of the various herbs (Share expertise and Teaching).
When the student feels discouraged, I encourage her (Encouragement and positive feedback).
I give the Mentee homework. The student does a written essay on the herbs lavender, plantain, chamomile and rosemary (Self study, research and reflection).
I read through the essay, mark it with suggestions, point out errors and write in the corrections (study resource tool for student). I go through the essay thereafter with the student (strengthen the academic learning experience).
Now I draw up a creative plan of action to help the student (Plan Learning Experience). There is a Herb Fair in the City the next month. I enrol the student (with both her and her parents' written permission) in the Herb Fair, to work on the Herbal Stall (Share expertise and supervision).
I entrust the Student to sell the lavender, plantain, chamomile and rosemary both prepared and checked by the two of us beforehand. I will sell the other herbs. I also place the student in the main part of the stall, with myself at the other end of the stall. This gives the student a chance to interact first with potential purchasers. If the student becomes flustered or unsure, I can smoothly come in from the other end of the stall, and assist with the conversation if needed. I can also assess that the student gives the correct information and practises the selling of herbs safely (Supervision).
So; the student is given a chance to improve her knowledge of the particular herbs she struggles with (by sight, feel, sense, fragrance of herbs) as she sells the herbs. The Mentee also interacts with the public, and by practising, is given the opportunity to improve her communication and social skills.
The Mentee is also given the opportunity to build confidence, expertise and knowledge. This she does in a controlled environment, gaining expertise in the knowledge of herbs under the expert supervision of a Herbal Master, myself (Practise and development of Mentee Skills).
I observe how things go (well, as it turns out). The student no longer calls plantain lavender, or lavender plantain. She is now sure of the difference (I monitor progress).
The student has helped me to present the herbs in a professional manner with the correct identification labels
(best practice). I have helped the student learn more by my enthusiasm for my field of work (I love being a Healer Herbalist). I reflect back to the student later that she did really well at the stall (encouragement and support). I explain that she correctly identified the herbs. I endorse that she explained the use of the herbs in a correct and professional manner to those buying the herbs. However, I noted that the Mentee had ignored people repeatedly when they came from the left side of the shop (Identification of Mentee's strengths and areas of improvement.)
The student, flustered (continuing the imaginary scenario) confides that she has problems hearing with her left ear. This is where her shyness is coming from, as she feels uncertain due to this fact. We chat about this, the student then informs her parents about her hearing problem of which they were not aware.
The student then goes for a hearing test, gets the latest in small hearing aids. She now no longer has problems with hearing in her left ear. This, in turn, gives her greater confidence. She now no longer seems to ignore people and appear aloof. The Mentee feels empowered through her hearing being at optimum level. The student is doing well.
I continue over the years with ongoing assessment, encouragement, mentoring and evaluation of progress. One day my student passes her Final examinations, and comes happily to say goodbye. She is going on, as Herbalist, to further fields. She thanks me for all I have done. And off she goes.
My task, as Mentor is done. And the pride and joy I feel at the confidence and supreme ability of the Mentee to face her future and heal others is payment enough.
Good luck with your mentoring!
Disclaimer; the example above is from the imagination of the author. It is not intended to replicate any life or professional experience. Please use the example as a springboard of principles which can be applied to any field of work