Sunday, November 12, 2006

The secret mentor

Have you ever admired someone and aspired to capture a quality in them for you? Some people I have spoken to have searched for 'secret' mentors and observed, interacted but essentially were guided by these people. While they may not have formally been assigned the title the mentee still sees the person as a significant influence in their lives.

Alternatively, you may have decided to mentor someone in your life without labelling it as a mentor relationship.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why start a mentoring blog?

This blog is a place for me (and others) to reflect and explore about mentoring. I've been mentored and have also run mentoring programs for schools and government departments in Australia. Mentoring has for some time held a strong interest with me and I have seen first hand how powerfully it can assist people to meet goals, clarify options and work to becoming stronger in themselves. My experience is that generally mentoring attracts a really nice bunch of people.

While mentoring has traditionally been the domain of business and in particular the management strata I'm interested in how mentoring can be used in communities and to assist people to survive and thrive with some guidance from someone wiser.

What is mentoring anyway? An older, wiser person? A younger more experienced person? A guide, teacher, counsellor? Can anyone mentor or are there special qualities that can’t be taught? Can we train someone to be a mentor just like we train counsellors and teachers? It's only in recent times that we have adapted this mentoring relationship, analysed the characteristics and qualities of effective mentors and put it in the context of organized programs. We have been doing this because some of our traditional mentoring structures such as the master and apprentice, parent/child bonds are diminishing due to a myriad of factors.

So...some of the things that I am interested in are:
Cross-cultural mentoring
Whether you can trainin someone to be a mentor or whether there are intrinsic abilities some mentors possess that can''t be taught
How to find a mentor ...can you have 'secret' mentors? People who mentor without knowing it?
Boundaries and mentoring - can and should mentor and mentee be friends?

I don't like the word mentee but so far nothing else has emerged.