Monday, 15 August 2011

Mentor: n. an experienced and trusted advisor

Image by ky_olsen

It's been really useful and timely to read and think about mentoring as I'm just about to embark on a new mentoring relationship at work.

 Having read a couple of blog posts from fellow 23 Thingers who talk about the scariness of asking someone if they will mentor you, and whilst not wanting to diminish the very real courage that this can take, I know that I was flattered to be asked to mentor a colleague who is just about to take on new responsibilities.   The asking is like an acknowledgement of competency and experience in the people skills that we all want to feel we are OK at.

Particularly pertinent for me, from the article Developing Workplace Coaching Skills by Jennifer Osborn, was the ability to ask good questions.

How frustrating is it when somebody tries to solve your problems for you from their perspective?  Nobody can have the insight that you yourself have about any given situation.  That's not to say that a fresh perspective isn't helpful but it is not usually the solution chosen.  So a slightly different approach is needed in order to ask
questions that elicit the right answers from the coachee.

Natalie's point about the impact of the tough economic climate and the time available to take part in  mentoring was interesting.  I would love to know how other school librarians felt about this one.  I certainly feel that the school environment, being very teacher-centric, creates additional challenges for me as far as professional development is concerned.

All this has got me thinking...what skills do I need to acquire next... and who might I possibly ask?  

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