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Personalised Mentoring: The Key to Lasting Growth and Development



Intro

Nobody can undermine the role a mentor plays in a child's life. From the moment you're born, you’re susceptible to influence. 


And it’s no different when it comes to mentorship in schools. 


Many children lack role models which can end up leading them astray. At Bouncing, we understand the importance of mentors and their impact on young people's development. 


Below we explore how and why personalisation has a huge impact on how you approach mentoring and why it is essential for the growth of our young people.


Home is Where the Heart Is

Mentoring isn’t this new trend that’s popped up in the last few years. It’s been around way before any of us were alive. The fundamentals of mentoring are simple. 


It's the ability of someone with experience to guide, nurture and develop the next generation.


Mentors are important in helping students identify and reach their full potential. So many young people don’t realise their greatness because they have so many problems weighing them down.


But the moment you can help them develop a support system is the moment they realise they’re capable of more than they think.


Different Types of Mentoring

Mentoring comes in all shapes and sizes.


First, you have the academic approach which focuses on a student's grades and how well they perform in class. This is where a student may start falling behind and may need help to get back on track.


Academic mentoring gives pupils the educational support they need and offers guidance on things such as:


  • study skills

  • time management

  • effective learning strategies


Then you have career mentoring which guides people on how to make vital decisions about their work life. It helps people to navigate their career and professional development.


The main goal of a career mentor is to help mentees achieve their career aspirations and goals. Career mentoring offers; guidance and advice on difficult career decisions, skill development to enhance one's capability and goal setting to ensure mentees know which direction they want to head in.


But then you have what we believe to be the most crucial one of the 3, life mentoring. The modern schooling system doesn’t seem to place enough emphasis on the importance of life skills. 


But we believe life skills play a much more important role than being book smart.


Life skills are essential to teach because they help students to;


  • Understand their emotions

  • Empathise with others

  • Grow in confidence


I’m sure you know loads of adults who are book-smart but lack the necessary skills to help them navigate life whatsoever. Students are taught to learn for grades, not for life which can be detrimental outside of the confines of school.


Last but not least, we have personal growth mentoring. 


Personal growth mentoring and life mentoring are inextricably linked. They go hand in hand. But it's important to know the distinct differences.


Personal growth mentoring is where young people gain the tools they will need to navigate their personal and emotional development. It urges young people to begin the process of self-discovery so they can start to build and nurture their self-esteem. 


Combined, all four types of mentoring will put any young person in a strong position to thrive and succeed in their lives. 


A Personal Approach

Nowadays, a one-size-fits-all approach. Low levels of personalisation does nothing but build distrust and convey laziness. Taking a personalised approach allows both mentor and mentee to build fluidity in their relationship. 


It focuses on the immediate needs of the young person and takes their characteristics, interests and development into consideration. We're all unique in the way we approach life, and it would be stupid to disregard this when it comes to mentoring. 


You want mentees to be able to express their raw selves if they're going to stand a chance of developing. Because without it, young people will never be able to create the future they want for themselves. 


The Importance of Tailored Sessions

Taking a personalised approach to mentoring acknowledges the unique needs of every student. It takes into consideration their hobbies, interests and dreams. A personalised approach doesn’t try to pigeonhole anybody.


Instead, it aims to gain an in-depth understanding of what makes the young person tick and where they want to go in life. The future of our young people can’t be left up to fate. We have to help them craft and uncover all potential paths to success.


Young people all have diverse needs and come from diverse backgrounds with varying strengths and weaknesses. This is why sessions are to be personalised for every one of them you come into contact with.


Everybody's situation is different but when you tailor your approach you ensure all needs are met and voices are heard. Students are more inclined to be active in their learning when they engage in sessions/programmes that are unique to them and the problems they need to solve.


Personalising your approach allows you to pay close attention to an individual's needs and interests so you can refine your approach to their personal development.


Nobody wants to partake in sessions that don't tackle the problems they have. This is why people who use a generic approach by thinking all mentees are the same will inevitably fail.


Implementation



Get to Know Them

Implementation is always a difficult task. 


You have to dedicate time and energy to understand what needs to be done. Then off the back of this, you need to create a plan of action. Personalised mentoring is no different from any other form of mentoring.


You need to devise a plan that will help take your pupil from A > B.


But first things first. You have to get to know your students. 


The first thing we do is run 1-1 sessions where we get to know the young person for who they are. The aim is to listen and get to know them on a deeper level. Figure out what makes them tick. Where their passions lie and what their wildest dreams are. 


This is the most important step because you begin to peel away layers which may prevent you from building trust. A lot of people either skip this process or don't take the amount of time necessary to get to know their mentee. We see this as cutting corners.


This is the most important part of the process. It's where the foundations get built. It's where you get to build a rapport. But most of all, it's where you get to start building trust.


This Way or That Way

No two people in the world are the same. Not even identical twins. 


There are always subtle differences you have to be aware of, and the same goes for young people. Once you begin to understand them as people and begin to figure out what struggles they face you can begin to dive below the surface.


I remember a time in school when I was asked how I would prefer to learn. In all honesty, I was perplexed. I thought everyone learned in the same way. Now I know that's not the case.


While some are visual learners others may be kinesthetic learners or you might have someone who prefers auditory learning. But this is why you need to be aware. Because for your mentee to get the best out of their sessions you need to tailor them to their preferred style of learning.


Once you’re able to uncover what type of learner you have on your hands it’s time to tailor your mentoring style to how your mentee learns.


Be Intentional

Who doesn’t love a good goal-setting exercise? 


I know we do. 


Jokes aside. Less than 5% of people set themselves goals which may be the reason why people never fulfil their potential. There are various ways to approach goal setting. But to set a clear intention you must first understand what your young person wants to achieve. 


Goals shouldn’t be random. 


They need to be both aspirational and achievable. It needs to be so big it scares them but remains relevant to their personal lives.


For example, a young person might want to become an Olympic sprinter. 


So a good goal to set would be to train 3 - 4 times a week for the next six months. Goals like this are both actionable and achievable. It gives a young person a specific timeframe when they can stop to measure their results, but it's comprised of actionable tasks that will begin to edge them closer to their goal.


They’re are dozens of goal-setting frameworks, but the one we see works the best is the beloved SMART concept. Every session you have from this point onwards should align with the goals and mission they want to achieve. 


There’s no need to guess.


Adapt or Get Left Behind

It’s easy for teachers, adults and mentors to fall into the knowledge trap.


I mean, why wouldn’t you? You’ve been on this earth longer.


Well, let me tell you this. For a 1-1 session to be successful you need to be open to feedback. The sessions you run are for them, not for you. And if a young person doesn't feel comfortable telling you how they feel about the session then how do you think progress is going to be made?


Our mentors are always told to keep an open mind and be adaptable to any sudden changes. Remaining agile is the key to progression. 


At first, it might seem like a blow to the ego, but you’ll get over it. 


Feedback is how mentors get better at their job and how we get our young people to thrive. 


Mentors should never be afraid to adapt sessions based on feedback from their young people because, at the end of the day, it’s their future, not yours. 


Put Your Hands Up

Accountability is rare these days. 


Few people like to take responsibility for their actions and instead, they relinquish control to the outside world. How many times have you heard; ‘it’s not my fault’, or ‘I couldn’t do this because. 


The truth is, nobody likes to take accountability. It’s easier to pin the blame on external factors than it is to hold your hands up and admit fault.


At Bouncing we avoid the path of least resistance and we urge our young people to do the same. Mentoring aims to try and instil an internal locus of control within those you work with. The aim is to guide and urge them to take full responsibility in every aspect of their lives, from learning to self-development. 


From the get-go, our young people are taught to take matters into their own hands and be accountable for the quality of their life. 


It might sound intense, but down the line, we know they’ll thank themselves for it. 


Dealing With Challenges

Life is full of twists and turns. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. 


Life is easy to deal with when it’s going in your favour but how do you deal with it when it’s not? It’s not all going to be smooth sailing. The storm will come, and it will try to capsize you. 


And when it does what do you do? A personalised mentor programme teaches students how to deal with the challenges life throws at them. Setbacks are a part of the game. They show that action is being taken. They’re not to be feared but revered. 


Developing a mindset to help young people cope with life difficulties should be a major focus for any mentor. You don't just want them to thrive when they're connected to your hip. You want them to develop their unique character and way of dealing with problems.


How they learn to navigate hard times will be conducive to their success. It’s not about how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get up. 


And this is the mindset we want our young people to adopt. 


Who am I?

Life is a continuous process of self-discovery. 


You may think the process stops when you reach a certain age or a certain destination. But you’re wrong. Self-discovery happens throughout the entirety of a person's life. It never stops and this is the beauty of it.


It’s easy for people to lose their sense of self because they believe we have to conform to stereotypes and stigmas. Young people want acceptance from their friends and this often leads them down the wrong path.


When people, let alone children, begin to lose their sense of identity they'll fall for anything. They'll listen to anyone. And they'll stop living true to themselves.


When you personalise you encourage young people to look within to gain clarity on who they are and what they stand for. What are their values? There belief? Where do they see themselves in the future?


When you know who you are and where you want to go life challenges become a little less daunting and easier to navigate.


A Love for Learning

Once you leave mainstream education behind you end to stop learning. Traditional education teaches you to learn to gain a grade or qualification but not for life. It teaches you to become a cog-ready deployment at the click of a button.


But you need to learn to take. variety of approaches. We’re not diminishing the need for traditional education because we know the fundamentals are a necessity.  Plus, a child's social skills can be enhanced with ease.


However, most people cease don't take the time to learn new things.


By the time you hit age 30, you're going to be stuck in your ways and unable to learn new skills. However, tailoring kids' programmes can lead to better results and better engagement on behalf of your mentee.


We teach them to stay curious. Because you know as well as we do, nobody can ever know everything there is to know. The person who commits themself to a life of learning will go on to succeed much more than those who stop. 


It’s become a core philosophy of ours to help our young people strive for more than they believe possible. 


Here at Bouncing, we believe learning is the key to success.


Because anyone who continues to learn stays young forever.


Conclusion

Personalisation helps to dig up a young person's full potential whether they’re in primary or secondary school. 


Our dedication to personalisation helps young people to hone in on their future. We see how difficult it is for young people, and we want to help them overcome the challenges they’re presented with in life. 


Tailored programmes not only contribute to young people's academic prowess. It also helps to support their emotional and cognitive development. 


A tailored approach extends way beyond the confines of classroom walls. It helps to shape the future of our young people and nurture them into the leaders of tomorrow. 


As Malcolm X once said ‘ The future belongs to those who prepare for it now.’




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