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One of the goals of the Mentoring Committee is to offer training/educational programs for both mentors and mentees. One way that we have accomplished this goal is to organize journal reading groups that focus on some aspect of mentoring. The Committee has also been interested in hosting a training session for both mentors and mentees.

Late last fall Susan Smith (former Mentoring Committee member) suggested that we contact Allison McWilliams. Allison came to Wake Forest in the summer of 2010 as the Director of Career Education and Counseling, Professional Development, and the Mentoring Resource Center. In the spring of 2011, the Mentoring Committee met with Allison to discuss offering a training session on developing effective mentoring relationships. On August 16, Allison provided an excellent workshop on mentoring to 10 participants.

Allison’s program included the following objectives:

1.Understand principles of effective mentoring practice
2.Understand and use skills of effective mentors/mentees
3.Develop goals and identify opportunities for personal growth and learning
4.Identify and use tools and resources for effective mentoring conversations

During one active learning exercise, we responded to questions such as: (1) Who has served as a mentor for you in your life? (2) What did that person do for you? (3) What worked well and did not work well in the relationship? and (4) What did that relationship teach you about being an effective mentoring partner? After completing the questions individually, Allison asked that we work in pairs to discuss our answers. We also shared some of our answers with the larger group.

During the session, Allison introduced us to WFU’s definition of mentoring:

“A purposeful and personal relationship in which a more experienced person (mentor) provides guidance, feedback, and wisdom to facilitate the growth and development of a less experienced person (mentee)”.

Allison also covered the three phases of mentoring relationships: beginning, middle, and end. We also learned how important it is to have a set meeting time, create goals, and an action plan.

If you want to learn more about mentoring at Wake Forest, you can go the Mentoring Resource Center’s page at http://mentoring.opcd.wfu.edu/ It provides a wealth of resources about mentoring including the Wake Forest University Mentor Handbook. and the Wake Forest University Mentee Handbook.

The Mentoring Training session was very informative, and I came away with a lot of good advice as well as some practical tips that I can implement very quickly.