In March 2020, we conducted a survey to help identify the topics and skills that we would need to encapsulate in the MOOC we are developing as a part of the MentorNET project. The number of people taking part was relatively small, but most were actual mentors from a variety of backgrounds. Respondants came from the UK, Italy, Germany and China - a wider geography than anticipated.
We asked respondents to define “mentoring”. Although the responses varied, there were a number of common themes that came through. These included the use of terms such as:
- Developing and enhancing skills
- Sharing knowledge
This might be summarised as a mentor being “… a trusted advisor or companion who offers guidance and support by sharing knowledge to help their mentees develop or enhance needed skills and knowledge that enables them to progress in their lives.”
One of the most important key themes that has emerged from the survey was trust: The need for a mentor to build trust with their mentee. A mentor cannot command trust, it has to be earned. It also works in the other direction; for example a mentor has to have confidence and trust that their mentee will follow through on agreed actions
Key skills that respondents thought mentors should have included listening skills, a knowledge of their mentee’s needs, intercultural skills and an understanding of the purpose of mentoring (including the goals). These skills varied slightly depending on whether mentoring was to be face to face or delivered remotely.
The results and analysis of the survey responses were given to two people experienced in mentoring migrants. A couple of quotes from them:
“I think that summarises well my view too. The only think two things I would want to add is that I think continuity is really important for the mentor/mentee relationship in order to see positive results, this can be a challenge for many different reasons. The other skill I think is important is the ability to boost the mentees confidence, I think that emotional aspect of self belief is really important to their success. Of course on both sides dedication is also required. hope that helps!"
"Interesting to see the results here. I firmly believe that intercultural understanding and language are the keys when it comes to access, but I guess I would say that as a specialist in intercultural studies and language!”
The results of the survey will are made available in report form.