Reflections on Mentoring

I shared these reflections on mentoring with a leadership program cohort on my campus and decided to share them here as well.

Being part of the IUPUI Mentoring Academy, from my role as an IUPUI University Library representative to the program to my time as Director of Faculty Mentoring, has given me the opportunity for both personal and professional reflection and growth. It has led me to unexpected realizations about my own attitudes toward mentoring and helped inform my leadership philosophy.

Before becoming involved with the Mentoring Academy, I never realized that I had had mentors in my life – from my high school choir teacher who helped me become a college student to my Butler history professor who awakened a love of history in me that I didn’t know existed to former supervisors at University Library who have been instrumental to bringing me where I am today.

This realization led to the decision that it was time for me to give back by consciously, if not always formally, mentoring others. In mentoring, I’ve found connections to the cores of my career – service and resource sharing. I’ve just become one of the many resources I share in the service of others.

My role as Director of Faculty Mentoring allowed me to meet many other people at IUPUI engaged in mentoring, which has been a wonderful opportunity to build new relationships. It also afforded me the chance to attend the University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute Conference where I had a bit of an epiphany. I attended a pre-conference titled “The Coaching & Mentoring Way in Mentoring and Leadership” led by Robert Garvey. My epiphany was the realization that I should be applying what I’ve learned about mentoring in my everyday leadership. The skills and tools I use as a mentor can also help me be a better leader and assist with the development of the people I supervise in a positive way. That happened just a month and a half ago, and I’m still working on being more conscious of integrating mentoring practices into my everyday interactions – working, in fact, to make mentoring a way of life.

These may seem obvious connections but without taking moments to pause and reflect, these connections can go unnoticed. The reason I shared this reflection with the leadership cohort was to illustrate the importance of reflection. I’m a firm believer that a key part of getting the most out of a mentoring relationship or more generally achieving what you set out to achieve is reflection, deliberate and thoughtful reflection.

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