Mentoring For All

Rachel Moss, 23.11.2017
Reflections on the pilot mentoring scheme
As we approach the end of the pilot for Mentoring for All – a project that looks to develop a new model for mentoring for the sector – I have been reflecting on my journey as a mentor.

I applied to be a mentor because I have been unofficially mentored by a number of colleagues, as well as being more formally mentored while doing my AMA (back in 2002).

I felt it was my turn, having worked in museums and galleries for nearly twenty years, to give something back to the sector I love working in. I have always believed in the importance of continuing professional development (CPD), so I was keen to gain new skills from the mentor training, to develop further professional networks, and to be part of a more formal mentoring process that included supervision.

There are two main things I have learned through taking part in Mentoring For All. First, at the initial training day I felt a bit bombarded with the array of tools and techniques we could use with our mentees.

However, I gradually realised that many of the tools were not relevant for the conversations I was actually having with my mentee, and I gained a sense of when to use particular tools in specific situations and when no tools were needed.

Second, in the past I have tended to offer my mentees advice and I have learned that this is not good practice. Providing advice means that you are essentially telling someone what to do when they should be working this out for themselves, and the impact of your advice can also make you feel responsible.

I recently had my own eureka moment – actually with another mentee – where I had been supporting my mentee on a job application, while thinking that this was probably not a good role for her.

When I next saw her I asked if she had got an interview and she sheepishly said that she had not applied for the job after all. At that moment I realised how important it was that she had made her own decision, which will also help her to find her own way in future.

I have enjoyed meeting up with my mentee and we have decided to continue the relationship beyond the scope of the six month pilot. She has just changed jobs and we will be setting new goals for her to work towards in the next six months. Alongside my mentee I have gone on my own journey, learning more about how to formalise mentoring relationships, which I can take forward with future mentees.

Although this is the end of the pilot, hopefully this is just the beginning for Mentoring For All. Early next year, an evaluation report will be published to disseminate this alternative mentoring model and to gain funding for a second cohort. Look out for the call out to apply as I highly recommend the experience.