What Motivates Mentors?

There are two main types of mentors, Leonie Stanfield, of Careertalk, suggested when we discussed this recently, mentoring from competence or mentoring for challenge. The majority mentor from competence, sharing their expertise. Stanfield, who is completing her masters in career development, believes that mentoring from competence reinforces the mentor’s self-image as a good listener and someone who gives. It is powerful motivation. “Mentoring reinforces their identity and reaffirms their confidence.” She said. Mentoring from competence allows one to remain in the comfort zone.

A different person values the challenge of learning and self-discovery. It’s “a brave and rare person who is willing to experience mentoring from a more vulnerable place.” Stanfield observed. This kind of mentor steps into the unknown, trusting the process. They understand that in facilitating another’s journey to insight they uncover their own. In exploring the needs and goals of another, they reveal their own and in eliciting the values of another they examine their own. For them, mentoring is not so much an affirmation as mutual growth. They do it because they are committed to joint learning. They are learning about themselves at the same time as they assist someone else.

It is not unusual for volunteer to begin with the mentoring from competence model and move to mentoring for challenge. A shift takes place when mentors are equipped with a process for leading a conversation that does not depend on expertise in their field to produce outcomes. Introduce a framework of the mentoring conversation early in your communication to potential mentors. This will provide the security that the mentoring from competence group need and the springboard that will inspire those who will mentor for challenge. That’s how mentoring works!

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About Ann Rolfe

Ann Rolfe is internationally recognised as Australia's leading specialist in mentoring, and is available for speaking, training and consulting. Here Ann shares her knowledge and allows you to ask your most pressing questions about mentoring.

4 Responses to “What Motivates Mentors?”

  1. Anonymous September 5, 2011 6:06 pm #

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  2. Anonymous May 23, 2011 2:00 pm #

    Hi – I am really happy to discover this. cool job!

  3. Anonymous December 4, 2010 9:51 am #

    Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

  4. Anonymous December 2, 2010 12:03 am #

    Good evening

    Awesome blog, great write up, thank you!

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