Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mentoring...

is not Mothering...
 

It's been a month, since I wrote about Mentoring...so seems like a good time to build on the topic. Most women I know have a "Mothering" instinct and it sometimes comes through so clearly when they are mentoring others. Now there are some similarities or shall I say there as some things mothers do that are valuable mentoring tips. 
Here are some that come to mind: 
  1. Pushing: Most mothers had to push - and push hard at that - to get their child(ren) here in the first place - so pushing come naturally and stays with us even after our children become adults. Have you ever watched "Everybody loves Raymond?" Whenever I watch it - which is often, I remind myself never to become like Matriach Marie - she's quite the pusher. In mentoring, the "push" exists & is about challenging your mentee to get to the next level.

  2. Wanting the best for her child(ren):  Every parent - good parent that is  - wants the best for their child. Now this can be tricky when it comes to mentoring, I'll explain how. A lot of parents sincerely want their children to achieve more than they did - I know that I do. The challenge is when parents want their children to be better versions of themselves i.e. wanting to live their lives through their children. Now that is stifling. When mentoring, you should want the best for your mentee but remember that the definition of that "best" is the mentee's decision not yours.
  3. Wanting to be your child(ren)'s confidant: It's really an honour to be anyone's confidant and mothers do enjoy that pride of place - just because they knew their child(ren) from day 1. As children grow, they look out for others that they can confide in and that is not necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to mentoring, if you want to be everything to your mentee - you'll fail miserably because neither of you will get the best from the relationship. In fact I quite like the piece of mentoring advice above - one that I have done without knowing why I did it - now it makes sense.
  4. Never letting go: It's difficult to see a child who was once "totally" dependent on you to now be confidently independent of you. One piece of advice I apply to my children and I believe is one mentors should also take is: "Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them." ~ Jonas Salk Like mothers have to, mentors also need to know when to  "Let go." When you think about it, you'll realize that you learn more by doing - not by people doing things for you. Just as a mother can't for her child(ren), a mentor can't do everything for their mentee(s). Remain a example - and source of encouragement.
Most importantly, Mentoring, like Mothering requires committment. Whether you're a mentor or mentee, I encourage you to be committed to the mentoring relationship because you only get as much you put into it. Good mentoring like good mothering makes a difference - even though Mothering tops mentoring :) 
Let's celebrate our Mentors and Mothers...
... January is Mentoring Month; 
Mothers are celebrated in March & May
for their impact in our lives every day.


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