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Perspectives on Mentoring

 

Welcome to our bi-monthly blog where members of the WISE Within community share insights and their WISE Within experience.


 

January 1, 2011

WISE Within Mentoring Is a Team Sport


The WISE Within “season” is well underway and, to varying degrees, the interaction among WISE Within mentors and mentees is happening out there. What makes this program so effective are three elements — the careful pairing of mentor and mentee, the focused and specific expectations built into the program (you really can’t mess up) and the midpoint group session.

Why is the midpoint meeting so important?

To use a sports analogy, this mentoring stuff is a team game.
I have been involved with WISE and WISE Within for the past couple of years and, if I have learned anything about WISE, it’s that this group is not a bunch of shrinking violets. This is a dynamic organization of bright, well-schooled industry leaders and leaders-to-be who, like the rising tide, moves to raise all ships. The WISE Within program is a hyper-intense example of WISE mentoring in action, and the midpoint is a unique opportunity for this year’s team of mentors and mentees to get together and share progress and challenges to date.

It’s a network, remember.
So with mentors and mentees all in one room, what happens? Well last year, as I recall, we played this version of “Survivor” with all of us wearing different colored plastic leis. The dynamic in the room was so energizing as we went through the role-playing exercise. No umbrellas in our drinks, but lots of laughs and plenty of learning at the same time. Since this session is not a larger chapter-wide event but smaller and focused, I would encourage the mentees to take advantage and introduce themselves to the other mentors face-to-face at this meeting.

And for mentors, it’s learning as you are mentoring.
I am the first to admit that I don’t know everything (and there are plenty of people who will back me on that). One thing I do know is that we are given one mouth and two ears for a reason — it is to our benefit to do twice as much listening as talking. Beyond that, be an active listener because there is much to learn from other experiences: How does a particular mentor or mentee situation or question apply to me or my mentee?

I look forward to seeing you at the mid-point meeting. You never know what can happen with a bunch of fake plastic flowers around your neck.