Celebrating mentoring this Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 14, 2018

Elaine Mowat has shared her love of mentoring to help us celebrate Valentine’s Day and to encourage anyone who is considering becoming a mentor to sign up!

What I love about mentoring

From the mentor’s perspective, there is lots to like about mentoring. It’s a way to meet new people, develop skills, understand different lives and support someone through important personal change. But what do mentors really love about it? I have volunteered as a ProjectScotland mentor for a number of years and have hugely enjoyed the opportunities that it has offered. In this article, I pick out three of the things that can make mentoring such a special experience. 

1. Mentoring is unpredictable

When you start working with someone, you have no idea where it is going to go and what you will both find out. Sometimes the mentoring doesn’t really take off – perhaps the chemistry isn’t quite right or the timing not ideal. But when it does come together, it can open up an amazing journey of discovery. Supported by a mentor’s careful listening and compassionate questioning, the mentee can reflect on experience, check assumptions, address challenges, clarify values, generate insights, identify options and make plans. Mentoring conversations have a great habit of shining a light on things not previously explored or properly understood. My favourite moments have been when we are both exclaiming ‘wow’ at insights or ideas that have emerged.  

2. Mentoring is non-judgmental

Everyday we are surrounded by judgments, opinions and TripAdvisor reviews. How refreshing to be in the mentoring space where you can talk about your experiences without being judged. A mentor cares about learning and understanding not about imposing their own values and opinions about what’s been said or done, and honest and open reflections are the best way to get there.  

3. Mentoring is hopeful

Sitting down together to explore the way ahead is essentially an act of courage and hope. Oprah Winfrey has said that ‘a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.’ To which I would add that a mentee is someone who reminds you how important it is to be hopeful, and what a fantastic energy comes from working towards hopes and dreams and being determined to achieve your potential.  

Everyone needs a mentor

A final thing I love about mentoring is that it is for everyone. I have my own mentor for the stage I’m at in my career and my ProjectScotland mentee is just about to take on her own mentoring role with a younger person in school. We’re all here to support one another and mentoring, with its emphasis on shared learning and strong relationships, is a great way to do it! 

Has Elaine’s blog inspired you? Sign up to be a mentor today!