Why we should celebrate mentoring...

“Mentors clearly make (and experience) a life changing difference for individuals.”


Two weeks after ACOSVO’s first cross-sectoral mentoring conference in conjunction with the Law Society of Scotland, Phili Wetton, ACOSVO’s Engagement Manager, and mentoring programme co-ordinator, reflects on the event and the impact mentoring has for individuals, no matter what stage of life they are at.


The idea behind this mini mentoring conference was to provide an informal, engaging and reflective forum - a chance for individuals to share experiences and best practice, learn about new practical mentoring tools & techniques, and to celebrate the impact of mentoring.


Following an early, frosty start, the chatter and networking of the incoming delegates soon warmed the room.  With a rough split of 67% third and public, and 33% private sector delegates, and individuals spanning environmental, education, health, arts & culture, finance, manufacturing, legal, and various government departments, we were happy we had a broad range of interests and expertise reflected in the room.

 

The morning began with an inspiring keynote from Dr Iain MacRitchie, Founder of MCR Pathways, a Glasgow-based charity providing mentoring support and talent development programmes to disadvantaged young people.  With staff now in every secondary school in Glasgow, and many others across Scotland, thousands of the most disadvantaged young people are being supported each week by the charity. 

 

“Mentoring is a bridge helping individuals reflect on where they are now and supporting them to get where they want to be.” – Dr Iain MacRitchie

 

Throughout the day it became evident that mentoring relationships are all about soft indicators - the human element really makes the difference, that invaluable support from someone who wants to be there and wants to listen.  But it is the hard indicators that are needed to be able to demonstrate the positive impact mentoring is having on people’s lives.

 

Case studies from both mentors and mentees were shared and we learned the value both sides place on these relationships.  The sharing of experiences, supporting, and empowering others to reach their full potential very much sits at the heart of successful mentoring, enabling individuals to grow and believe in themselves. Taking stock, we all face similar issues no matter what sector or role we work in - “confidence, capacity & resilience”. Some key quotes from the session included:

 

“We should all be content with who we are, find your potential & strive to deliver it!"


“It's about helping mentees navigate through their challenges, listening and asking the right questions". 

 

What followed was a late morning of workshops looking at the tools & techniques of advanced mentoring skills and ways to reflect & refresh the relationships.  Both rooms were buzzing with enthusiastic conversation which continued through to the discussion panel, covering a variety of topics including; mentoring models, accreditation, questioning, and disengaging relationships.

 

It became very apparent throughout the day that mentoring also changes the work environment. It helps individuals manage conversations within their own teams better.  It enables openness & confidence, helping mentees feel more empowered.  Being able to open up a different mind-set, see more clearly, and then be able to navigate the road ahead with confidence.

 

I left that afternoon feeling refreshed, empowered and motivated to spread the word of mentoring more than ever, and in parting words from one of the conference delegates: “It was a truly inspirational day and what a great feeling to be surrounded by so many people who are committed to the power of mentoring!”. I couldn’t agree more.


For more information about ACOSVO’s mentoring programme, please see www.acosvo.org.uk/mentoring or contact programme coordinator Phili Wetton on 0131 510 8940 or phili.wetton@acosvo.org.uk.