WHAT IS MENTORING?
There are many studies which highlight the effectiveness of mentoring interventions, across different disciplines and professions (Clutterbuck, 2014; Law, 2013; Hamlin & Sage, 2011).
Mentoring can take many forms and can be both formal and informal, depending upon the situation.
Interventions can be tailored to the individual client who is being mentored, for example, engaging younger people in positive activities to improve behaviour.
Mentoring is often steered towards a goal or specific outcome, which is mutually agreed between the mentor and mentee.
For this reason, mentoring is very targeted and focused on making the changes that are identified in the first phase of the mentoring journey. Mentoring interventions can be short in duration and the relationship ends when the mentoring outcomes are achieved.
INITIATION, ORIENTATION or COURTSHIP
Agreeing a contract - As you have already met with your client, now is the time to form an alliance and start to explore what the client wants from the mentoring relationship.
Each client is different and will have different needs, so there is no "one size fits all" contract available.
This allows you to really listen and hear the client and is an excellent opportunity to build rapport and get to know each other.
GETTING ESTABLISHED, ADOLESCENCE, DEPENDENCY, NURTURING or HONEYMOON
During this stage the client will need friendly support and guidance.
They need to feel safe in order to tell their story, describe the areas in which they require support and what they want for the future.
During this time, you should focus upon their current strengths, weaknesses and areas for development, as mentoring needs to be worthwhile for them.
Use this stage to refine and develop your skills in active listening, open questioning (not challenging), getting to know each other, mind mapping and seeing the problems and areas for change.
Use your communication skills to really understand these issues from the clients perspective i.e. 'seeing the problem through their eyes'.
MATURING, DEVELOPING INDEPENDENCE or AUTONOMY
During this stage, you will now know your client relatively well.
They will feel safe, non-judged and be able to share their thoughts openly and freely with you.
Now is the time, to think about using your skills to develop SMART actions plans, encouraging your client to reflect on their own situations and solutions.
During this stage the client should be demonstrating increasing confidence, due to the feelings of empowerment gained from the mentoring relationship.
They may need less support than previously and start to demonstrate decision making in their thoughts and behaviours.
In essence they will start to become more independent and rely on you less, which is the ultimate goal!
ENDING, TERMINATION or DIVORCE
At this stage the mentoring relationship will either become prematurely ended or come to a natural depart.
The mentoring relationship has either been exhausted and the client has made the changes they initially identified or the relationship has ended for other reasons.
Where possible the ending needs to be carefully planned, so that client do not experience feelings of abandonment.
Some mentoring relationships are extremely emotional and deep and at times feelings of loss and separation can be experienced by both the mentor and client when the relationship comes to an end.
As a mentor, this is an area which you will be required to self-monitor and reflect upon if necessary and you may wish to take your feelings to group clinical supervision.
When deciding whether a mentoring relationship has come to a natural end, it's always useful to reflect on the initial contract and any actions plans, to identify goals and recognise successes and to ensure that there are still not outstanding matters, as this could impact on the client negatively.
BECOME A MENTOR
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