Yesterday I attended one of the best training courses I’ve ever experienced – on mentoring – organised by my workplace and facilitated by Peter Renwick. I’m struggling to say exactly why it was so good, as really it was a pretty typical in-house training course – we began with some introductions then worked our way through the syllabus for the day, with a nice balance of theoretical and discussion sessions and practical exercises. The day absolutely flew past – I didn’t look at my watch during the morning session until around 12:30 (following a 9am start), and it was after 5pm before we realised it. In brief, we examined some definitions of mentoring, considered the qualities which lend themselves to being a good mentor, practised asking open questions, discussed what to include in a mentoring contract, and looked at how mentoring works in action.
I think what made the day stand out for me was how very good the trainer was – in addition to obviously knowing his subject extremely well (and being a current practitioner as well as a trainer) Peter was a fantastic communicator, clear and jargon- free. He also created a really comfortable environment in which we all felt able to ask questions and contribute our thoughts, and (most importantly) to get out of our comfort zones in presenting our issues for the live mentoring examples we worked on in the afternoon. We also received lots of feedback during the day, both from Peter and from each other, which really helped instill confidence in our new-found skills, and gave us all food for thought and things to work on improving.
I was keen to attend the course as part of my ongoing development of management skills, and because I like the idea of being able to be a mentor myself someday, but I quickly realised that it was going to help me improve my existing mentoring relationships too. I currently have two mentors – a brand-new one for Chartership and a workplace mentor of around 18 months – and I’ve been conscious for a while that I don’t make the best use of the second of these, but haven’t been able to pin down why, or what to do about it. Things I learned in the training course have really helped me to crystallise the vague ‘this isn’t quite what I want’ feeling, and I’m now looking forward to our next mentoring meeting as I have a much better idea of how to deal with it. It has also made me take a hard look at myself as a mentee, and I realised that I’ve been pretty rubbish in some ways, but now I know what to do to improve!
8 Comments so far
Leave a comment