Saturday, 14 April 2012

CILIP Mentor Training Programme

Ever since I successfully Chartered last September (and even in some ways before then), I have thought that I would quite like to give something back to the profession my becoming a mentor myself. Not to mention the fact that I believe I would also find the experience a rewarding one. So when a Mentor Training Day was arranged at UWE in March, it seemed foolish to pass up the opportunity.

The day was a great way to learn both about the skills a mentor needs generally, and how to become a mentor as part of the CILIP system. The morning focused on different learning styles, mentoring experiences, skills and styles. It also included a range of useful exercises, such as discussing your experiences of being mentored, an active listening exercise, a questioning exercise and a chance to practice your mentoring skills in small groups. A lot of these exercises are things that I've done before in various situations (during my A levels, during my Masters, during leadership management courses etc...), but they were still a good reminder - and a good way to show the range of skills needed in a mentoring situation.

The afternoon was a little more CILIP-driven, and looked at how mentoring worked within the context of CILIP. For example, advice was given about how mentees (officially) find mentors, what should go in the mentoring agenda and happen at the first formal meeting, details about the mentoring process and information on the assessment criteria. There was a lot of information to cover, and at this point I was glad that I had Chartered quite recently - meaning I had a headstart on some of the other attendees, as I had learnt a lot of this myself by going through the process.

All this made me quite confident that I have the ability, the knowledge and the skills to become a mentor. I know I won't be perfect, but I think I could give it a good shot! I can see that having additional mentors is a massive benefit for all those mentees who are struggling to find a mentor, and I think there are benefits to me as a mentor as well. These include a broader knowledge of the profession (I'd be more than happy to mentor somebody not in the same sector as me), a clear commitment to continuing professional development, and a great opportunity to stay involved with the profession even if you're not currently working.

This final point is quite a relevant one for me, as come September I'll be on maternity leave. However, that's also the reason I've been hesitant about signing up to the CILIP mentor list. Whilst I think maintaining links with my profession in this way when I'm on maternity leave is a good idea, I'm also conscious that I will have something else very significant happening in my life. The last thing I want to do is let a mentee down by not having enough time, or energy, to mentor them properly before they have gone through the full process. So I'm still undecided...

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