If you missed my introductory blog last week you can find it here http://wp.me/p7Xkia-4.
The Importance of Mentors and Managing Self-Doubt
The importance and benefits of having a mentor(s) is irrefutable. At some point in your life, through sport, music, work or other interests, you may have considered someone your mentor. What made them standout in your mind? Their experience? Their advice and support? Maybe it was the way in which they gave advice – with empathy and understanding. To me a mentor is someone who could provide me with trusted advice, support, and guidance at a level I can understand in a non-judgemental manner. Whoever your mentor may have been or still continues to be, motivates you to be the best and inspires you to be even more.
”Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction” John C.Crosby.
I have always sought out a mentor to guide me in the right direction. For me I have mentors who are friends, family members, sports coaches and college lecturers. These people have life experience and education in areas I want to improve in. To me these people are experts, who have attained a certain level of mastery in these areas – fully competent and confident in their ability. But often, this is not how they perceive or see themselves. A certain level of self-doubt exists in all of us but that is not to say that self-doubt is a bad thing. Self- doubt is what makes us stop and search for alternatives,what makes us question if we are doing the right thing – self-doubt,ultimately, is a means to prepare. Self-doubt becomes destructive when it consumes you and undermines your self-worth but self-doubt that leads to resolution, is a powerful trait that must be cultivated. Indeed, Galileo professed self-doubt as the ”father of all invention”.
Self-doubt ”the father of all invention” Galileo.
Active Future Programme Mentor Training
I had my own self-doubts with the Active Future Programme soon approaching. Will it run smoothly? Will it reach the people who need it most? Will it be worthwhile and benefit the participants? I had self-doubts about my own capabilities in co-coordinating the programme, but most of all, I had self-doubts in my ability to be a mentor. How could I be the best possible mentor to the Sport Science students delivering the programme and to the participants engaging in the programme? I was also concerned that the Sports Science students might have similar self-doubts about mentoring. This is why mentor training is so important when designing programmes of this nature – to nurture confidence and competence and strive for self-efficacy in delivering the programme.
Michael Byrne – the co-designer and coordinator of the programme – delivered an excellent session on mentor training with our Sport Science students this past week. The focus of the training was to provide our students with the tools necessary to be the best possible mentor, to answer any worries or concerns they might have and to educate on child protection and health and safety practices.
The mentors engaged in group discussions exploring how to effectively deal with various scenarios. Some of these scenarios included how to involve participants who don’t want to participate, how to deal with bullying issues and what to do in the event of participants becoming physically aggressive. An input on managing behaviours proved to be very useful to the students, outlining the do’s, don’t and tips of managing behaviours. Some interesting things I learned to consider when managing behaviours were; (i) to consider how you (as a mentor) are feeling (stressed, angry, distracted) and how this might impact managing behaviours (ii) what does the young person need, want, or feel – how do you provide or support this in the correct manner (iii) who else is involved – others within earshot might further distress the individual and (iv) your surroundings – blocking off a participant’s route to leave the surroundings might further cause distress and potentially put yourself at risk.
Michael guided the mentors through leader boundaries and responsibilities some of which included; avoiding connection with participants on social media, how to develop a professional, supportive and appropriate relationship with participants, and how to handle different types of disclosures from participants. The mentor training was wrapped up with a very comprehensive health and safety input covering mentor safety in engaging with this cohort, child protection in sport, and screening equipment to ensure it is fit for purpose.
I know I found the mentor training extremely useful and I believe the mentors did too. It certainly has made me feel more capable to engage with the participants, dismiss some of my fears and deliver the inputs in the best possible way. If it wasn’t for self-doubt none of this would have been possible!
Follow my blog next week to get an update on how the first week of the Active Future Programme went.
The Active Future Programme begins the 7th of October. This blog will be updated each week to follow the progress of the programme! If would like more information on the programme or have any questions in general you can contact me by email – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org