The Essential High Impact Mentoring Strategy
©
2001, Barry Sweeny

INDEX:




A. The Deceptive Nature of Simplicity

A word of CAUTION is in order here. Essential ideas must, by definition, be simple. (I said "simple", not necessarily easy.) Therein lies the danger. There is simple powerful truth behind what is shared on this web page which you may tend to gloss over and MISS or MISunderstand precisely because it is simple. Don't let the simplicity fool you.

The understanding and use of this essential strategy solves so many problems and is so powerful in transforming practice, you simply MUST grasp and use it if you want a high impact mentoring program that delivers quicker results.


B. FUNDAMENTAL PREMISES OF THE ESSENTIAL MENTORING STRATEGY:

  1. We must receive the gift of effective mentoring before we can effectively give it to others.

  2. When we are given the gift of effective mentoring, we will feel that we can never adequately repay our mentor for giving us such a valuable gift, and we will only be satisfied by passing the gift on to others. (Eleanor Roosevelt said this.)
  3. We must understand why the gift we received was valuable to us, so it will be just as valued when we give it to others.
  4. If WE are the mentors, we will probably need a mentor of mentors to do these things and then help us understand the process..




C. The Essential Mentoring Strategy

1. Provide a high impact learning experience to the individual learner. Try to do so without explaining what you are doing or why. "Just do it".

2. Afterwards, as open-ended questions to guide the learner to reflect on & analyze that experience & WHY it had a high impact on them. Once that is done, then...

3. Ask questions to prompt the learner to discover the parallel work strategy* which made it a high impact learning experience.

4. Facilitate the learners planning for how to use that high impact work strategy in his/her own work to improve learning, growth, performance, and results.

5. Mentor and support the learner in using & mastering the work strategy in his/her own work.


* A "work strategy" is any "truth" or growth strategy which is required in your organization and work to be truly excellent, such as:


D. How Might Use of This Strategy Look in Actual Settings?

The Essential Mentoring Strategy just presented was intentionally stated in very general terms. This was done to ensure it's applicability for every ready into ant setting. However, that generality of leanguage may make it difficult for the reader to imagine how it would actually work in their specific mentoring context.

Let's "translate" the language of the Essential Mentoring Strategy to help you see a couple of such specific applications. What we will change are the words:

In an educational (K-12 schools or higher education) setting, the essential strategy might look like this:

1. Provide a high impact mentoring experience to the individual protege. Try to do so without explaining what you are doing or why. "Just do it".

2. Afterwards, as open-ended questions to guide the protege to reflect on & analyze that experience & WHY it had a high impact on them. Once that is done, then...

3. Ask questions to prompt the protege to discover the parallel instructional which made it a high impact learning experience.

4. Facilitate the protege's planning for how to use that high impact instructional strategy in his/her own teaching to improve learning, growth, performance, and results.

5. Mentor and support the protege in using & mastering the teaching strategy in his/her own classroom.



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