At this point in the project you should have concluded the preparing and negotiating phase. We will now spend most of our time in the enabling phase. The mentor provides adequate conditions, such as support, challenge and vision, adding feedback and reflection during the enabling phase. Mentors coach and model what they would like us to know, understand and practice, providing continuous feedback and support and creating a learning environment to build and maintain the relationship. The learning environment includes the physical setting, resources and opportunity. Respect, trust and communication are important elements in maintaining the relationship as well.
Zachary (2000) notes that feedback and overcoming obstacles are two strategies to enable support, challenge and vision to occur. You, as the mentee, are responsible for asking for feedback by:
– being specific and descriptive in asking for feedback
– making sure that what you are asking for is clear and understandable
– staying focused
– avoiding being defensive
– seeking alternatives, not answers
– checking for understanding
– making sure you are getting what you need
– asking for feedback on a regular basis
Lastly, how can obstacles be overcome or reduced?
– making sure you are available but not expect they are available at your beg and call
– making sure your mentor is more skilled than you are
– making sure your mentor is focused and meeting your needs
– making sure you commit as a mentee and follow through on your responsibilities
Reflection Questions for Week 11:
1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?
2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?
3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?
4. When you get together what do you talk about?
5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?
6. What are you learning about one another?
Enjoy the learning in the moment!
Mulder ten Kate