Tips for Mentoring

As you embark on this journey to create a rising tide of women's voices and solutions, you may become a mentor to many of the women who participate in your trainings and events. As a mentor or community leader, you may be asked to help support and empower these womento reach their goals and address their challenges. While you will be sharing with them your knowledge and experiences, keep in mind that your journeys, dreams, and obstacles are intertwined. By connecting and supporting each other you will transform the world around you. Below we've outlined a few tips for developing a mentoring relationship. Also, reflect on your personal experience with the VOF Vision Mentors. Write down a few key things you felt made a difference for you in being able to complete the program, help you brainstorm, or achieve your long-term goals. Remember these lessons as you go forward with your workshops and trainings! Support their visions and solutions. Each participant in your trainings or workshops will bring their own dreams, goals, and expectations. Find out from them want they want from the training or workshop and ask them how you can best support them. Their solutions may be very different from yours, however, they will be more relevant and responsive to their own lives, interests, skills, dreams, and ways of communicating. Continue to make time for connecting and sharing lessons, experiences, frustrations, and confusions. Be specific and keep it simple. Learning new information, skills, and methods can be overwhelming, confusing, and will take patience from everyone involved. If your participant is struggling with an issue, help her pinpoint the problem. For example, if she is having trouble with a training, what part is the most difficult? Does she need help with setting up a blog or finding the time to write an Op-Ed article? Also, be specific when asking questions or giving feedback about an assignment. Be willing to explain ideas and information more than once and in many different ways. Flexibility and adaptability are key. Life always has its twists and turns. As new challenges arise, listen and be willing to adapt the training or event according to your participants' needs. If someone has missed meetings or seems to be losing interest, check in with her. Is the training different than what she had expected? Does she no longer have enough time for assignments or meetings? Is transportation or the training too expensive? Is the material confusing, overwhelming, or seem irrelevant? Share any resources that you think might help support your participants and their work. Creative solutions make an event or training both possible and successful. One step at a time. With any journey, time, resources, and energy can be scarce and obstacles may seem to add up fast. Break up issues or challenges into smaller tasks when necessary, then approach each piece one step at a time.