How do you train mentors?
Mentoring is a powerful tool with the ability to shape the lives of those who embrace it. A mentor's role is to guide, support and empower their mentees so they can reach their full potential.
We hate to cut corners here at Bouncing.
To ensure effective mentorship we train and onboard staff so they are equipped with the skills they need to do their jobs to a high standard.
Staff are taught first-aid, safeguarding and other techniques which will aid them well in their career as a mentor.
Below we’ll explore the key aspects of how we train our mentors and the importance of training they receive.
Understanding the role
The cornerstone of success in any endeavour is proper training and practice.
You can’t expect somebody to do something without any experience.
Rigorous training equips mentors with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they’ll need to support their mentees.
First things first, mentors need to understand their roles and responsibilities.
They need to come to terms with what’s expected of them, boundaries they need to abide by and rules and regulations when working with young people.
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, mentors won’t be able to build trust or a positive rapport with their mentees.
Mentors have to learn to be good speakers and also good listeners.
Mentoring isn’t a one-way conversation. You don’t shout into a speakerphone and expect your mentee to listen.
The aim is to develop strong two-way communication between the mentor and the mentee.
It’s the only way you can start to facilitate open and honest discussions.
It’s the perfect recipe for success.
Our brains conjure problems like 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 it.
Mentors are put through a series of tasks which highlight their ability to deal with problems. And then depending on how they did will depend on the level of training they’ll need in this area.
Your success in life will come down to how well you’re able to deal with stress and overcome problems.
Mentors need to learn various frameworks and strategies they can utilise throughout their time with their mentees.
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 to the family
The onboarding process is a critical step in a mentor's preparation. It helps them to find their feet, meet their new colleagues and begin to understand the culture they’ll be joining.
The process begins with an introduction to their new team which can either be through Zoom or in person.
We then go through important company information such as our history, mission and values.
Not all organisations do this. But we think it's a necessity. New members need to come to get to grips with the standards their company sets.
Great organisations hold themselves to the highest standard possible and they make it their job to ensure this runs throughout the entire company.
Rules are rules
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 so they can fulfil their jobs to the best possible standard.
Because they will be the first and main point of contact for their young person, they need to understand the correct protocol 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.
Although mentors are there to guide, support and make children feel safe, boundaries need to be set so there is a level of understanding.
Young people aren’t the best at opening up.
They often keep things to themselves because it's how society has taught them to deal with it.
However, mentors need to be able to recognise signs and changes in their mentee's behaviour so they can report them before they escalate.
Safeguarding is a fundamental aspect of mentorship.
Young people who engage with mentors are at risk of falling behind in their education, risk expulsion or worse.
Training teaches mentors how to safeguard themselves and their mentees and how to recognise signs of vulnerability in their young persons.
We’ve all seen it before.
Someone who walks around with a smile isn’t always at peace within. And these are the things mentors need to be vigilant about.
Mentors need to pay close attention to:
These are telltale signs people can’t always hide.
So be sure to pay attention.
You can never be too safe
A young person's safety is important but so is the safety of your mentor.
Nobody knows what life might throw at them so it’s our job to ensure mentors are ready to face the fire if need be.
Mentors need to be trained on a variety of different safety aspects.
For example, they’re put through emergency response procedures so they know what to do in case of an emergency and how to administer basic first aid.
Mentors are taught how to do basic CPR, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre and provide immediate assistance in the event of a burn, fracture or injury.
When you work with young people preparation is key.
Mentors need to be able to provide young people with both emotional and physical safety.
Because at the end of the day, anything could happen and you have to be prepared.
Prevention is better than cure
We see a lot of incidents that could have been prevented.
A lot of them only happen because proper producers and safety checks aren’t carried out by the person in charge.
We get it, risk assessments are long and tedious. But they’re important.
They give you insight into what could go wrong and give you the chance to prevent the worst-case scenario.
Don’t get it wrong, you can prep all you want and an incident could still occur.
Mentors need to be able to create a safe environment for mentees by learning how to conduct proper safety checks.
As we always say, prevention is better than cure.
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.