The Magic of Mentoring
We are thrilled to report that e-Advantage has already trained 130 peer mentors, 90 more than our original target of 40. There are still another six months of our pilot peer mentor training programme to go and we hope to train even more.
There has been an explosion of mentoring and coaching related training and support over the last two years both on and offline. This is not surprising as the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed most people’s resilience to the limit. Women have been particularly affected: for example, their unpaid care work increased when schools and care homes closed their doors and gender-based violence grew alarmingly as a result of the lockdowns and they are more likely to experience the effects of Long Covid.
“Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex.”
United Nations, Policy Brief
Against this background, peer-mentoring is enabling women to regroup and plan how they will continue to develop their business and personal lives in today’s world that has a very different landscape to that of 2019. Many have had to put their plans on hold, deal with redundancy, bereavement or chronic illness in their families.
The routine difficulties and struggles we are used to dealing with have been exacerbated by the pandemic which has also, of course, introduced many new stresses. For many, the support of a peer mentor has been invaluable, the updates below show how e-Advantage is helping women in our 5 partner countries.
Wandsworth Lifelong Learning, London
In Wandsworth we’ve been talking about what makes a good peer mentor. Nearly 40 women have trained as e-Advantage peer mentors in Wandsworth and without exception, say that being trustworthy, non-judgmental and able to listen are essential qualities for a peer mentor. Many of Wandsworth’s peer mentors have also been mentees and they feel that experiencing both sides of the process has given them great insights and certainly enhanced their peer mentoring skills.
While most enjoyed doing their training and mentoring online, many also really relish meeting face-to-face. Several have now set up their own WhatsApp groups to keep in touch and organise social as well as mentoring meetings.
e-Advantage and our earlier sister project, BREW, are showing how women aged 45+ continue to build their resilience, support one another and plan for their future.
“I can really say that this [e-Advantage], has kept me sane over the past few months. Meeting other women in the online workshops was great and we learnt a lot from the tutor who had great experience and was really able to communicate it. For me, it certainly helped me become more confident. And,I found out that I could do something like be a peer mentor that I hadn’t even thought I could do before. I think I helped my mentee to work out what she needed to do to take the next steps in talking to her manager at work and, she gave me some good ideas on setting up my business plan – so we were co-mentoring each other for a while. It felt like magic!”
Spektrum Educational Center Foundation, Romania
We had clear goals and a well paved path, when we started the peer-mentoring course with 25 women. On the first meeting, we realised, that the participants come from various backgrounds and the question was, how can we build o community of such different women. But we soon realised that they are looking for the same things: reassurance, self-esteem, a way to give back to society, a lot of doubts about the usefulness of their knowledge. They were eager to pass over their experienced, but all of them were convinced, that they are not ready to mentor somebody.
As we passed through the courses, they realised, that they have a mean to become mentor, but they lacked the confidence. So, we created micro-communities, where there was a mentor, a mentee, and a supervisor. Everyone had 2-3 topics, that they felt, they need help as a mentee. Then everyone read the list, and chose the topic, they felt they could be of use. The supervisor was a person, who was interested by the topic. All mentoring groups followed through. More than 2/3 of the participants tried all three roles, in different groups. The results were just mesmerising.
At the evaluation event we saw women with changed posture, you could read a healthy self-esteem from their body-language. We went through all mentoring processes from all three perspectives. The common gain in every process was: all participants realised, that they have valuable information to offer. Everyone tried to stick to the method they have learnt, but soon realised, that the theory is a safe grid, and they can freely express themselves. All feedback showed that they implemented the courses and even developed it, furthermore.
At the end we have a very compact community of mentors, with a wide perspective and experience-based knowledge about mentoring. They have plans to work together in the future and mentor women from a local entrepreneurial community. This programme was a success, and we are in the process of facilitating the follow-up of this project. May it be so empowering as this programme was.
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V EDUCE současné době probíhá praktické trénování dovedností, kdy mentorky zkouší aplikovat získané znalosti v praxi. To znamená, že mentorky mentorují zájemkyně o mentorování nebo se mentorují i navzájem. Zkouší si otevřené otázky, ale i aktivní naslouchání, neposuzování, stanovování a upřesňování cílů a podávání zpětné vazby. Tím vším jsme si prošly v on-line a prezenčních kurzech.
Zorganizovali jsme celkem 3 kurzy mentorování, z toho jeden byl ve spolupráci s Česko-Moravskou asociací podnikatelek a probíhal v Ostravě. Naše kurzy celkem navštěvovalo asi 50 zájemkyň o mentorování z toho se kurzů pravidelně účastnilo a bylo vyškoleno 27 mentorek.
Budoucím mentorkám poskytujeme podporu i formou individuálních konzultací. Rovněž se jedenkrát měsíčně se scházíme většinou on-line pro výměnu zkušeností. Na těchto setkáních dáváme možnost budoucím mentorkám, aby se prezentovaly. Informace a novinky o mentorování sdílíme navzájem v naší skupině na Whats App.
V sobotu 11. června jsme připravily celodenní setkání naší komunity mentorek a mentorovaných u nás v Jablonci, kde jsme sdílely zkušenosti a nové zážitky z mentorování.
A co chystáme? Rády bychom podpořily další ženy, aby se účastnily mentoringu. Dále plánujeme připravit další setkání prezenčně i on-line, webinář a konferenci.
Pokud jste žena 45+ a měla byste zájem se do naší skupiny zapojit a být mentorovaná, případně i absolvovat kurz mentorování, ozvěte se nám na email@example.com. Ještě není pozdě.