In the course of developing mentoring programmes, we have been faced with the challenges of how to support and educate mentors at varying stages of development in order to facilitate their ethical practice and ongoing progression as a mentor. This may be frequently complicated by the mentors being part of a wider organisational programme, where access to the mentors, resources (people and funding) and motivation to spend more time on the programme, can all be very limited.
Mentors tend to be volunteers who are mentoring for a very small part of their working time and tend to have busy and stressful day jobs. In contrast to professional full time coaches, selling the benefits of mentor supervision to part time voluntary mentors can be a harder sell.
However, offering supervision to your mentors is now seen as an essential ingredient of a high quality mentoring programme. Our sessions look to offer mentors:
- Mentoring on their own practice
- The time to explore techniques and help with their problems
- An opportunity to reflect on their own practice
- Help and support if they feel out of their depth
- Support with ethical issues.
We work with you to define the level of supervision that is required and look at the stages for mentor development defined by Lis Merrick and Paul Stokes through their practice in mentoring programmes.
The novice mentor
Someone who may be new to mentoring. This does not mean they are totally untrained or unskilled, but that they have relatively little experience as a mentor. Superivison provides an ethical check on their skills from both their own and the programme perspective.
The developing mentor
Who has some experience of mentoring ‘under their belt’ and understands the ‘rules’ within their particular scheme/context. They will now need to explore a wider range of approaches to improve their effectiveness.
The reflective mentor
Someone with a fair amount of experience as a mentor. They are probably aware of most of the different approaches to mentoring theory and practice and are looking for deeper critical reflection.
And don’t forget the mentees!
Mentees also benefit from regular group support during the programme to ensure they are using their mentors in the most effective manner and to give them a safe space in which to reflect. Developing mentees is critical in producing a skilled mentee who is in the driving seat and can get the most out of their mentoring experience!