Monday, January 11, 2016

Mentoring reflection

Time for some deep reflection on my mentoring...

Before I head into my mentoring sessions for 2016 I want to reflect deeply on the 2016 journey. Hazel has framed some wonderful questions for me to reflect on, so I will start there.   I will move on to a framework I saw in a Dr Libby write up, and will conclude with some goals for myself heading into the new year. 

Hazel's questions:

What has surprised you?
I guess the biggest surprise for me this year has been the growth in my mentoring 'comfortableness'.  I have had a large number of mentees this year and I am in awe of the journey we have all made. Without a doubt virtual mentoring has enabled us all to get to a place of increased capacity.  Relationship building has been crucial to the journey.  With regular mentoring sessions it has been possible to develop trusting relationship where we have been comfortable to journey into, at times challenging, at times difficult and at times unknown territory.  I have been most surprised by the development of my listening skills, listening as much for what is unsaid as what is said.  Organisational capacity has also surprised me this year.  We have, in many cases, developed clever systems of notetaking and recording an action from a current session, which we report on prior to the next session. I am surprised at my confidence in supporting action plans.

What has challenged you?
I have been challenged by time.  I am often reading through notes immediately prior to a session, when I am sure I would gain a lot more if I read them a day earlier and mulled them over before the next session.  I have also been remiss with re-reading notes from a current session before I close the document for that session.  This is definitely a goal I want to work on for this year. I continue to be challenged by having the 'right' questions or provocation at my finger tips.  I have developed a folder of resources to have at hand to further support me.

How do you feel as a mentor now?
Early in 2015 I had a lot of doubts.  I lacked confidence in my ability to be the 'right' mentor for my mentees.  I lacked trust in myself to work the best mix of support, motivation, challenge. I had also not spent enough time on the modules to support me in my journey... Well so much has changed.  2015 has seen significant growth in my confidence, my awareness, and my enjoyment.  I am absolutely loving being a mentor.  I think it is one of the most powerful things anyone can be and have.  I know, without a doubt, that without a mentor, I would not be anywhere near where I am today.  (Which triggers another blogpost - who has mentored me?)

What does this tell you about yourself as a learner?
I love challenge, I am very determined, very reflective, empathetic and genuinely want to be able to support educators to see their strengths and work through their challenges and not only survive but shine. I deeply value the role of my mentor and continually strive to emulate this experience.

How can we support each other more as learners (mentors) and through the UChoose online community of practice?
For me - it is essential that I communicate with other mentors. The strength gained from conversations and interactions with mentors, face to face at hui, or virtual through our modules and webinars has been immense.  I have had the privilege of sharing some of the success of mentoring journeys… we could be sharing more… I should be sharing more… I will share a story on the VPLD site TODAY!!!!!!

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