A lot can be said about the power of mentorship. Through good organisation to proactive use of technology. Finding the right people can lead to success stories for years to come. The idea behind mentorship programs is passing on of wisdom, tips, and providing a support system for someone who wants to further themselves in their education, career or even personal life. The good thing is it is not confined to one area.
Mentors can appear in everyday life as well as through organised programs at work. The focus is usually on building up existing strengths rather than focus fully on negative aspects and trying to learn a new skill. We are all capable of learning and taking in new information that we need to do a particular task. A mentor would be someone who helps to get that task complete by showing you new ways of thinking or learning, not holding your hand through the task itself.
It is great to have a structure in place, and ideas of what to expect when entering a fresh mentorship with regards to a schedule, meetings, content and topics, but both parties have an important role to play that involves time and dedication to the program to be able to see it through. This is why looking into the psychology of mentorship can be beneficial before you start so that you have the correct mindset and expectations. This applies to both the mentor and mentee., There are fantastic tips to think about before you set off on your journey into a mentoring program.
The psychology of mentoring isn’t a scary subject that needs to be remembered word for word when becoming a mentor, it is just good to know how the thought process works from a mentee aspect so you are able to focus on their strengths and help improve aspects of their working lives. By identifying talents and skills, the mentorship becomes instantly more productive. Positive psychology works on what is going well and what can be broadened, not focusing on problems areas like ill health as traditional psychology does.
As a mentor, if you are able to help shift a person’s mindset from what is not working to what is working and how they can build from that point, you are off to a flying start. Change is not something that everybody adapts well too, especially initially.There has been huge amounts of work done on “resistance to change” and “change management”. A typical example is when a person knows they want to change something, or maybe it is not so much a want and they need to change something to progress in their careers, but they don’t know how as it means changing life long habits. Learning and adapting to change is not easy, but a good mentor will have faced difficult obstacles themselves and drawing upon and sharing experiences is the foundation to successful growth in any program.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got.”
This quote has been around for many years, and many have claimed they coined the phrase. However, what really matters is the point it is trying to make. It is very easy in business to see things working and keep doing them the same way. But in many ways, in order to move any business or career forward, change is imperative to be able to adapt and grow. Sure, financial reports might tell a positive story, but that story ends with you if you don’t expand and share the knowledge for future generations to either learn from or aspire to.
From the perspective of the mentee the reason for change may be simply because they are stuck in a rut, even if they are enjoying their day to day work. Complacency might mean that they are no longer pushing forward. The desire to change or advanced can be enabled when it is backed up by the motivation and channels of support and experience a mentoring program brings with it.
“What can you change about yourself?”
“What can you change about the situation?”
For the most part, changing the situation is a lot harder than making a smaller change within yourself. An event within the mentee’s career may be causing a lot of stress in their life and can initiate reactions that are less positive. This can be a stumbling block for the next move in their career. In order to adapt to the idea of change and to move away from the stressful and into the positive, it would be better to look at their reaction to the situation and how that can be changed in order to move away from it. It is very important to remember you can’t necessarily change the events, but you can change your responses to them. Once this realisation becomes a reality it leaves room for growth in a career. This is hugely linked to positive psychology of mentoring and the idea of resilience.
Encouraging resilience in a mentee can help them in their professional life and personal life. Being able to deal with difficult situations instead of sinking behind them, looking at them as opportunities is an important life skill that can help anybody. Think of an actor starting to look for roles in the industry. They may have to go on hundreds of auditions, travel long distances and learn how to network to try and find a way in. At the first knock back, it would not work out well for their career if they heard only the bad in the critiques and decided not to go to any further auditions. The way they work is to take on board the positives and suggestions to improve their craft and practice, practice, practice. Resilience doesn’t come easily, but it is something that everyone can benefit from in their personal lives and careers.
Having the ability to deal with difficult situations and pressures in any industry requires resilience. Getting back on the horse, so to speak, can be hard for anyone to do, but learning how to turn this into a skill can open many doors. Becoming a mentor and talking about this subject with a mentee can be a huge stepping stone and even greater starting off point for the mentorship. If you can find out what kind of setbacks a person has encountered, it will create great subject matter for meetings.It can give mentees an initial purpose to keep pushing forward and avoid the stresses of potential challenges of future endeavours before they have even had the chance to happen.
Mentors will always talk about networking as one of the most important parts of their career, so time should be spent really taking this into account and doing something about it. Think about smaller businesses or self-employed tradespeople. Without the power of networking and connecting their businesses would not be able to thrive. Even the biggest companies started out somewhere and it may even take one person to see a social media post, to read a flyer, or to stumble across an advert to help take that business to the next level. Networking now is more important than ever in making the connections needed to take you to the next step and having resilience will make finding these connections a whole lot easier.
A great sign of resilience is somebody who has the confidence to bring new ideas to the table and invite discussion about it to ensure everyone is onboard. When it comes to a mentee’s personal workload, creativity can be in the form of making changes to their organisation, creating schedules, and changing the way they handle day-to-day tasks. Taking a risk on something can lead to bigger and better opportunities so this should always be encouraged.
Managing emotional responses cannot be taught directly but the seed can be planted in a mentee so that they can manage their own ways of coping and build a fantastic work and personal life relationship. Being able to control these emotional responses and remain optimistic throughout various career challenges is a challenge in itself. Using this in a positive way shows great resilience and growth.
When you put all of those four patterns of resilience together, they make perfect sense.They cover all areas that can be worked through in a mentoring program. So if you are embarking on a mentor/mentee relationship remember the four C’s – Clarifying, Connecting, Creating and Coping and think about where you fall under these categories and how you can build resilience from them.
Now we have covered the subjects and the patterns of resilience, we can delve a little deeper into the workings behind it. These ideas are a little more specific and can work for a mentoring relationship to provide direct ideas on what to change to improve resilience. The psychology of mentoring is about dissecting how you think, and carefully changing things to have an impact on your future.
The psychology of mentoring is not an expectation of the mentor to be able to break down a mentee’s exact problems and learn how to solve them using a series of psychological tricks, but to encourage them to change their way of thinking and build a new structure for success. It is so important to take time out and analyse the situation, and perhaps realise that the stumbling block they need to get past is their own lack of faith in themselves and their abilities. These patterns and dimensions of resilience can be used to positively change anyone’s work life around with guidance from the right mentor.