The Joy of Mentorship
Complimenting Supervision & Peer Consultation
For many of my 17 years working as a psychologist I have been guided by, and received the unconditional support, from a long-term mentor. This mentor-mentee relationship helped me establish and retain a strong foundation upon which I could remain true to my own values as a psychologist, as well as my identity as a human being.
Within a professional field that can take it’s toll on our sense of Self, our Hope Inspired Purpose, as well as our Psychological, Emotional, and at times, Physical Health, such a relationship has been immeasurable in its value. For this reason, I would now like to volunteer myself as a mentor, so that someone else might experience the joy of a mentorship.
How is mentoring different from supervision and/or peer consultation?
Generally, supervision is regarded as a professional, semi-structured, evaluative and performance-based relationship, where the supervisor will, in most cases, charge a fee for his or her services.
Peer consultation, I feel, has a similar flavour, albeit without an associated fee or charge; it is a compulsory process and is fundamentally a professional process. Peer consultation is a meeting of professional minds with a focus on consulting each other about client related difficulties, stuck points, insights, successes etc. Peer consultation does not include or encourage the introduction of personal challenges external to the professional context – the 10 hours of compulsory peer consultation within your annual 30 CPD hours is meant to be ‘strictly business’.
Mentoring is neither performance nor task oriented, and is not evaluative of the individual’s competence as a psychologist. It does not require a reporting process, neither does it require a formal structure – rather it is an open and intuitive process.
I came across the following definitions of mentoring (www.management-mentors.com), and feel they encompass the general spirit and my understanding of what mentoring is:
Mentoring is Relationship Oriented: It seeks to provide a safe environment where the mentee can share whatever critical issues affect his or her professional and personal success. Although specific learning goals or competences may be used as a basis for creating the relationship, mentoring’s focus goes beyond these areas to include things like work/life balance, self-confidence, self perception, and how the personal influences the professional. Content expertise is not as critical for the mentor since he or she plays the role of facilitator rather than [supervisor or] coach
Mentoring is always long term: Mentoring, to be successful, requires time in which both [parties] can learn about one another and build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentoree can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her success. At the beginning of a mentoring relationship, [we are] likely to discuss the more general and task issues rather than ‘hot buttons’ issues – that is until the mentor and mentee achieve a certain level of trust. Once achieved, however, mentoring truly begins.
Mentoring is development driven: Its purpose is to develop the individual not on the current job, but for the future. This distinction helps to differentiate the role of the [mentee’s] manager [boss, supervisor, etc.] and that of the mentor. It also reduces the possibility of creating conflict between the [mentee’s manager, boss, supervisor, etc.] and the mentor.
Mentoring is never remedial: Mentoring is not involved in saving a poor performer – that is the role of the supervisor and/or mentee’s performance manager or boss.
Mentoring is concerned about personal transformation: This may or may not link to specific … competency or area(s) of expertise. Mentoring is concerned with assisting a mentee in maintaining his or her genuine identify as a member of the [profession].
[As a mentor I seek no financial compensation:] The most common reason mentors decide to mentor is because they wish to give something back to someone else and to the [profession]. Since they are not compensated for mentoring, their performance is not tied to the mentee’s. This brings a certain objectivity that is missing in… [supervision].
How to start?
If you are interested, please contact me via my contact page so we can schedule some time for a brief telephone chat.
Where and when would we meet?
It could take the form of meeting up once or twice a month for an hour or two in an agreed upon location (cafe, park, office, etc.), dependent on need, availability, etc. Face to face is often preferred, however once a rapport is established and/or for those living further away, phone contact is an option.
Are we a good fit?
Given the general spirit of mentoring, it is, as you can imagine, good to be somewhat aligned with our values to facilitate greater compatibility and rapport. This might be established quickly by phone or, it might take a few face to face meetings.
I look forward to hearing from you.