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How are mentors trained for their role?




Intro

Mentoring is a powerful tool. It can shape the lives of whoever comes into contact with it. A mentor's role is to guide, support and empower students so they can reach their full potential.


To ensure potential mentors can do their jobs to a high standard, you must train and onboard them so they can become equipped with the necessary skills.


Staff are taught first-aid, safeguarding and other techniques which will aid them well in their future careers.


Below we’ll explore the key aspects of how to train mentors and the importance of training they receive.


Understanding the role

You can’t expect someone to be able to do their job without the proper training or experience.


Training equips potential staff with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they’ll need to support their students.


First things first, mentors need to understand the roles and responsibilities surrounding their jobs and the attitudes that will help them to thrive.


They need to gain an understanding of what’s expected from them and the boundaries they need to abide by when working with young people.


There are a whole host of rules and regulations when it comes to working with kids. Potential members of staff must be up to date so they don’t face any complications when doing their jobs.



Communication

Not everybody is born with excellent communication skills.


But everybody can develop them.


Good communication is at the heart of effective mentoring.


But without it, you won’t be able to build trust or a positive rapport with students.


Mentors have to learn to be good speakers while still being a good listener.


The conversations had between a mentor and their mentee should never be a one-way street. You don’t shout into a speakerphone and expect students to listen.


Instead, you aim to develop strong two-way communication between the pair of you which stands as the foundational key to your relationship.


It’s the only way you can start to facilitate open and honest discussions.


And it’s the only way to build a strong rapport.


Decision making

Your brain conjures up problems like the spells out of Harry Potter.


No matter the situation your brain is designed to find a problem.


It’s what kept us safe through so many years of evolution (depending on who you ask).


But all problems have a solution, all you have to do is find them.


Mentors are put through a series of tasks which highlight their ability to deal with problems. And then depending on how well they did will depend on the level of training they’ll need to engage in.


Your success in life will come down to how well you’re able to deal with stress and overcome problems.


Potential mentors need to have a good understanding of the various frameworks and strategies they can utilise throughout their time with their students.


As a mentor, you don’t want to solve your mentee's problems.


You want to give them the tools they need to solve them for themselves.


Welcome Onboard

The onboarding process is a critical step in the preparation process. It helps you to find your feet, introduce yourself to your new colleagues and begin to understand the culture you’ll be joining.


The process begins with an introduction to your new team which can either be through Zoom or in person.


They’ll then be taken through important company information such as a company's mission, vision and purpose.


Not all organisations do this. But we think it's a necessity. New members need to get up to speed with the standards set by their new organisation and this is the best way we’ve found to do so.


Great organisations hold themselves to the highest standard possible and they make it their job to ensure this runs throughout the entire company.


Remember a company is only as good as its weakest link. So the aim is to get everyone performing to the best of their ability.


Rules & Regs

Nobody likes rules.


And wherever there is a rule you’re bound to find a rulebreaker.


Mentors are obliged to read and understand important policies set by authoritative bodies. It's the only way they’ll be able to fulfil their jobs to the best possible standard.


Because they’ll be the first and main point of contact for their young person, they need to understand the correct protocols when dealing with them.


For example, mentors are taught to refrain from excessive physical contact with kids because they need to maintain a sense of professionalism.


They need to understand the proper procedures when dealing with boisterous and troublesome children, and also the correct way of dealing with potential violence from students.


Although mentors are there to guide, support and make children feel safe, boundaries need to be set so there is a level of understanding.


Without this level of understanding boundaries can easily be crossed which would end up in a breach of contract and mentors may face serious consequences.


The bottom line is this, the main aim of any mentor should first and foremost be the protection and well-being of their students.


And without knowing proper rules and regulations mentors risk not only their livelihood but the safety of the children they mentor.


Noticing Vulnerability

Young people aren’t the best at opening up.


They often keep things to themselves because of how society has taught them to deal with it.


However, mentors need to be able to recognise signs and changes in their

Young people's behaviour so they can report them before they escalate.


Safeguarding is a fundamental aspect of any training.


Training teaches them the best procedures to engage with in terms of safeguarding. It teaches them how to best protect themselves and their mentees and how to recognise signs of vulnerability in their young person.


We’ve all seen it before.


Someone who walks around with a smile isn’t always at peace within. And these are the things you need to be vigilant towards.


Mentors need to pay close attention to:

  • Body language

  • Behaviour

  • Attitude


These are telltale signs people can’t always hide.


Without proper safeguarding training you run the risk of not being able to do your job while indirectly neglecting the needs of the students you engage with.


Safety First

Nobody knows what life might throw at them so mentors must ensure they can face the fires no matter where they come from.


Training which focuses on a variety of safety aspects needs to be administered so work can be done to the best of their ability.


For example, mentors are put through emergency response procedures so they know what to do in case of an emergency and how to administer basic first aid.


They’re taught how to administer basic CPR, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre and provide immediate assistance in the event of a burn, fracture or injury.


Preparation is key when working with young people. You want to be able to eliminate fires before they begin to manifest.


Furthermore, kids are still going through the maturation process and will face a whole heap of emotional and physical changes.


A successful mentor will need to be trained on how to navigate these potential changes in a young person's emotions to ensure their emotions don’t become a hindrance in their life.


Studies show that there are a high number of kids who face serious levels of anxiety and depression due to the pressures of everyday life. Mentors need to become adept at spotting these emotional cues so they don’t materialise into more dangerous actions.


Because at the end of the day, young people are only human and are susceptible to pressure in different forms.


Conclusion

Mentors need to be equipped with a range of skills that stem from good communication to strong emotional intelligence.


Potential mentors need to be trained so they can get up to speed and be upskilled in areas they need to improve.


Thorough training is the only way to ensure mentors, mentees and other staff members are safe.


A robust approach to training ensures all mentors leave with the utmost confidence in their skills and abilities.


And they leave ready to help young people reach their full potential.






















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