At the February Ohio STC meeting, Pam Bichsel of Academic Coaching Specialists discussed the lies we tell ourselves about why we can’t be mentors and provided sound advice about being a mentor
Some of the excuses included “I’m too young (or too old),” “I’m no expert,” “I’m not good enough,” and “I don’t have time.” Mentors can have many different roles: Teachers, parents, peers, and coaches can all be mentors. Mentors do not necessarily offer only technical skills. They also help with soft skills, like attitudes, understanding other people’s perspectives, and other advice.
To manage a mentorship, it’s better to step in at specific events instead of having a fixed meeting time every week. For example, make a note of when the person you are mentoring has an assignment due. Check in a few days before the due date to help offer specific advice and address issues that may have come up.
She also discussed workplaces that have forced mentorships. In general, it is better if mentors can be matched with mentorees. Academic Coaching Specialists tests mentorees to make sure they are willing to accept advice. This avoids frustrating mentors with uncooperative mentorees.
If mentoring sounds like something you are would like to do, the STC Florida chapter is looking for mentors for students at the University of Central Florida. See https://stc-orlando.org/education/mentoring-program/.
Reviewed by Barb Philbrick