October 27th is National Mentoring Day. The European and Mentoring Council (EMCC) has declared it International Mentoring Day. What's it all about?
Do you recall, looking back, ever having some really helpful guidance, or some meaningful and inspirational conversations with someone? Maybe they were older than you, had some relevant experience or understanding of your situation at the time and shared it with you. They weren't a counsellor or therapist, and definitely didn't tell you what to do. In fact, you found your own way, because after every conversation with this person (it might have been just one, half a dozen or even more over a period of time) you were able to understand your own landscape of experience and how you could progress or change or develop or solve a particular problem.
This person was a mentor.
Mentoring can be a formal arrangement and works extremely well in a lot of settings - enterprise, work, career, peer. I continue to be involved in training mentors in high quality schemes nationally, where mentors are professionally matched (and supported) to SMEs and micro business owners. I am also currently working with Apprenticemakers and their clients in the Health and Social Housing sectors where I am providing training in mentoring skills for Managers supporting apprentices in the workplace.
If you have a mentor, then on National Mentoring Day I say take the opportunity to thank him or her and acknowledge the impact and support they are providing. Buy them a coffee! Maybe a cake too!
Mentoring can also be informal, and perhaps until now, when you looked back, you hadn't realised you ever had a mentor. Perhaps neither of you acknowledged that is what it was. So here's the challenge. Could you be a mentor? On National Mentoring Day could you commit to volunteering a small amount of time each month, just an hour, to provide mentoring to someone who would be able to grow and flourish in some way - in their business, their career - with a bit of regular mentoring support from you?
Mentoring helps both people in the relationship grow, develop, find success, learn new things, and more. National Mentoring Day is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the rewarding aspects of mentoring and giving something back as a mentor and also its value as a mentee.
What will I be doing on the day? I will be training a group of managers in mentoring skills. I'll be helping them to develop their knowledge and understanding of what a good mentor is and helping them develop the confidence, skills and tools to go mentor.