b'FEATURED ARTICLEThe real value of mentoringThe saying that it can be lonely at the top doesnt just apply to our Principals, it is equally relevant to anyone who is the leading expert in a field within the school. S chools are relatively small organisations, whichAm I ready to be a mentor?means many of us in Marketing, Communication andDemand for mentors greatly outstrips supply: recent Development roles will struggle to find a colleagueresearch by LinkedIn found that although 41% of with equal or greater experience and expertise in our fieldAustralians would like to have a mentor, only 29% do.So to turn to for support and advice.could you help fill this gap?There are some excellent professional coaches andYou dont need any formal qualifications to become consultants you can call upon, but what if you dont havea mentor and there arent many training programs the budget? out there, at least not tailored for our sector. Im not convinced you need to spend $1,000+ on a course Fortunately, ours is a very giving sector, and there arebecause, (i) the principles are relatively simple, (ii) there many people who are happy to help. Educate Plus offersare plenty of free resources on the internet, and (iii) by the a simple and effective service to connect mentors andtime you are ready to be a mentor, you are likely to have mentees, so you can quickly find someone who has thethe maturity and experience to be able to tackle pretty right match of experience - and values - for your needs. much anything that is thrown at you.What is mentoring? I believe the most important criteria to be a successful mentor are simply:Ive noticed that many people are uncertain about1.A desire to help a fellow professional have a what qualifies as mentoring rather than coaching andsuccessful careercounselling. However, the broad consensus appears to be that mentoring tends to be longer term, is2.Sufficient experience to be able to provide guidance relationship-driven rather than transactional, and takesbased on direct knowledge and experience, rather a more directive formwith the mentor giving advice,than just intuition.suggestions and direction, where a coach would be more reflective, using questions to help you navigate to your own solutions. If you are contemplating becoming a mentor for the first time, the check lists built into Educate Pluss online mentoring platform can provide a helpful guide, to frame The lack of fixed structures and processes can beyour conversations. Another great starting point can be challenging, potentially leaving mentor and mentee bothto consider your experiences of being mentored yourself, questioning am I doing this right?. But this freedom isand whether there was anything that worked or didnt one of mentorings greatest strengths, in allowing everywork for you? mentoring relationship to be entirely bespoke. A key characteristic of mentoring is that the agenda is driven by the mentee, and they need to feel free to discuss whateverAlso, if you ever feel in need of some extra guidance, life is throwing at them that week rather than sticking to akeep in mind that you are never too senior to have a fixed agenda. mentor yourself, and there is nothing stopping you from simultaneously being both mentor and mentee. 5 6 FACE 2 FACE MAGAZINE'