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The blend of mentoring

Date Created: 18th Oct 2021

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Artswork Professional Development’s Calvin tells us about the relationship between mentors and mentees, the benefits of both sides, and why seeking mentorship is a sign of strength that can propel your career forward.

Every generation possesses certain tastes, values, and ways of thinking that set them apart from previous generations. The circumstances in which a generation of people grow up in, shape them as individuals and this leads to a variety of different perspectives and outlooks.   

Any generation, whilst in their youth, acts as a wheel of change that sets society on a pathway. This wheel is constantly moving and with every generation it brings something new. Good change, bad change, it doesn’t matter, part of being young is breathing new life and fresh perspective into the places you inhabit. Over time, as a person ages, they gain wisdom and experience. We often look back with hindsight and think if only we knew then what we know now, things could’ve been so much easier. Although both youth and experience are valuable in their own way, they also pose challenges. 

Being young can often involve lack of perspective, whereas vast experience can sometimes lead to rigidity of thought and closed mindedness. For this reason, youth and wisdom complement each other perfectly, one making up for the others weakness. A coupling of youthful wonder and priceless experience can move mountains, this is the art of mentoring and if done right can benefit both parties immensely.   

The Mentee

One of the reasons mentoring can be so beneficial to a young person, is that it instils both knowledge and confidence within them simultaneously. Being young in such a competitive world, confidence particularly is an invaluable trait to have, and a mentor’s job is to foster that. Two things that often prevent people achieving in the long run are the mistakes they make that halt progress, but more importantly the de-motivating effect those setbacks have on the person. Although making mistakes is totally natural and should sometimes be encouraged, that doesn’t always mean it’s easy to bounce back from them. A mentor not only decreases the chance you will make critical mistakes, but they also make the recovery process much smoother via their tailored encouragement. For this reason, a mentor acts as a kind of elastic netting that softens a fall, and then rebounds to give you a boost.

Even incredibly successful people at one time lacked confidence or found benefit in a mentor. Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg, the two were known for taking long walks together discussing how Zuckerberg could develop Facebook. Maya Angelou, the American poet and civil rights activist was the well-known mentor of Oprah Winfrey who described her as a ‘guiding light’. Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama have all accredited a significant proportion of their success to their mentors.  Wanting a mentor is not a sign of weakness or lack of success, in fact a lot of already successful people actively searched for a mentor as part of their development. 

The Mentor

On the other hand, the mentor also gains from the relationship. Mentoring is often presented as a one-way street in which the mentor helps the mentee with their problems and questions, and the mentee takes it all in. However, the mentor/mentee relationship is closer to a merging of two worlds, more like a chemical reaction. One informs the other in different ways.   

It’s important to remember that if you are a mentor, you may also experience significant learning as a result of the relationship.  Having the influence of a young mind in your life can bring a new refreshing perspective. So often as we age, we close our mind off and lose that ability to look at something with excited eyes and a desire to learn. As we grow and gain experience, we don’t feel we need to listen to others as much or realise we might not know something. Many of histories’ most successful scientists were not people of hardcore fact and a dismissive attitude, they were in fact inquisitive and open minded, exploring ‘unrealistic’ theories despite the scientific narrative at the time. Albert Einstein in particular had such a playful and childlike attitude. When we are younger, we understand we don’t know things, and this is often why children learn so much so quickly.  Holding onto this acceptance of learning into our future is phenomenally beneficial and becoming someone’s mentor can foster this within you.

It’s often easy to believe mentoring is something only particular people need, or that it should be a formalised sit-down event. Neither of these things are true. Anybody can benefit in some way from having a mentor and the process of mentoring can happen anywhere at any time. In the same way we don’t plan other relationships, you don’t need to necessarily plan a mentorship. Most of the time it happens naturally.

Book onto our mentoring course to gain the skills to build productive mentor-mentee relationships and guide the next generation of creatives here.

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Mentoring Professional Development Training

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