The job of a mentor, part II

Posted by Debby on 24th March and posted in EDC 639

Sue says:”This is a great segue to thinking about the difference between supervision and mentoring. Is it possible to be a good supervisor and a good mentor? Are there differences in the role you need to play?

I think there are differences in the roles. As a supervisor, you have to see that the job gets done, whatever the job is. It’s ok to be buddies, or to encourage, or whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to make sure things get done. A mentor on the other hand, doesn’t usually have a stake in the mentee’s issues. They are there to guide and support, but at the end of the day, it is the mentee’s responsibility to make their own strides and progress.

“Is it possible, Debby, that in the beginning of your relationship with this person you were a true newbie and he was the “more experienced other”? As you become much more knowledgeable how does the relationship need to change? Or, is it possible that the “mentor” still sees that you have some naivete and a need to continue to grow — and this makes you feel uncomfortable when you think you do know things?”

I think you hit this right on the head. In the beginning I knew almost nothing, but I did have some good instincts in this area. He nurtured me, encouraged me, exposed me to new ideas. I learned to apply what I knew and was able to encourage others to follow along and learn too. I am sure he still feels that I am naive, and I do understand that I still have so much more to learn. That’s what makes this a sad situation for me. He appears unable to enjoy my successes with me while continuing as a mentor at the same time.

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