Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Mentoring and the Master Innholders.

So towards the end of 2016, we had a meeting with the some of the marvelous MIALD Alumni, generously supported by the Apex City of London with Aliaks Jos and Oliver Raggett.

We chose Mentoring because it is topical as we are trying to successfully grow our mentoring network within the Master Innholders' family.

The grand plan is to build a cascade from "top down" with Master Innholders mentoring St. Julian's Scholars and then St.Julian's Scholars mentoring the MIALD Alumni once their programme finishes.

The outgoing MIALD cohort also buddies up with the new cohort each year, so currently the much-missed folk from Cohort 5 are doing sterling work with supporting The Sixy Ones in Cohort 6 who have just started their programme for the year.

On April 20th at the St. Julian's Scholars' Spring Meeting, we will be discussing the process of creating a more formalised Mentoring programme between them and the MIALD graduates. (I rather like MI-Mentor as a potential name for it!)

So the purpose of this particular blog is to share everything that we did on that day in the Autumn in the hope that it will provide a good framework for the future. It might also just be useful for people who are considering mentoring in general...

Shopping List for the Day
As a starting point, we got together and pooled ideas for what we wanted to know about mentoring. Huddled in familiar fashion around various flipcharts, the outputs included:

  • What it is exactly - and how to be involved
  • How to do it and be successful
  • Formal versus informal 
  • Benchmarking - so what does good look like?
  • How to choose the best fit
  • What are the boundaries and how to set them?
  • How to define the purpose
  • How to find a mentor
  • How to squeeze the juice from the process and get the maximum benefit.
From the shopping list we created a menu for our day including:
  • What is mentoring?- and what it isn't
  • Why do it and what benefits are there to be gained?
  • How to do it really well
  • Being a successful mentor and mentee
The origin of mentoring is from Homer's Odyssey which tells the tale of Odysseus, King of Ithaca who sets off to fight in the Trojan Wars and entrusts the care of his entire household, including his son Telemachus, to Mentor. So from this story, the word has evolved to mean trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person.

For further definitions we can use:

Mentoring is a supportive learning relationship between a caring individual who shares knowledge, experience and wisdom with another individual who is ready and willing to benefit from this exchange, to enrich their professional journey. Suzanne Faure

Mentoring involves primarily listening with empathy, sharing experience (usually mutually), professional friendship, developing insight through reflection, being a sounding board, encouraging. David Clutterbuck

or closer to home... A powerful process in which a more skilled and experienced person serving as a role model advises and encourage a less skilled and less experienced person. The purpose is to help the mentee realise their full potential and achieve their career aspirations.
Harry Murray in The Caterer, August 19 2016; p26.

So it is helpful to consider that there are different forms of mentoring and that it can be formal or informal. 

Either can work and be extremely effective - it is important to be clear about the purpose...

..and what are the benefits? 

More huddling round a flipchart produced:

Benefits for Mentees:
Gain knowledge and experiences
Find your own potential
Self confidence
Safe environment
Progression and development
Increased drive

and for the Mentor:
Coming full circle and putting something back
Satisfaction - knowing we are helping someone else
Gaining new perspectives and ideas
Business benefits - a whole range for the business and for the industry in general
Confidence building
Increased self awareness 

And while we are exploring...exactly what is the difference between mentoring and coaching?

Skills and Attitudes of the Mentee:
Being open to feedback
Being open and honest
Listening and patience
Driven and wanting to develop
Participative and open to advice

And for the Mentor....

So now we have established what it is and isn't, Part 2 will follow on with some hints and tips we developed for making sure that mentoring is a success, gains all the benefits for both parties and avoids the disadvantages.

PS - If you missed that Alumni gathering, then keep an eye on your in-box because we've another one hatching for May 22nd...

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