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Reflective Practice in Mentoring


Reflective practice in mentoring is the process of conducting high quality exercises both to the body and in relation to the  healthy relationship between individuals. It is a learning process through which different individuals take course of their own development either on their own or with the assistance of others with the required skills. The process of reflective mentoring requires personnel with surmountable expertise, knowledge and experience in order for there to be an establishment of a very effective relationship that encompasses mutual respect, understanding and honesty. The whole process of reflective practice in mentoring is carried out by mentors who have the required skills, experience and knowledge, as well as quantifiable levels of motivation towards the mentee. The mentor is also required to have the required qualities, act as a professional as possible and be able to impart a wide network and commitment in order to grow, develop and enrich the mentoring relationship.

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It should be noted that a mentor does not give advice but plays a major role in ensuring that the mentee is able to choose between different situations through a process of simultaneous reflections, questions, challenges and a number of feedbacks thus allowing the mentee to come into their decisions by themselves. In our case, we are dealing with the mentoring of young children who cannot make their own decisions but can be guided unto what is good for them. The mentors are supposed to be qualified enough in order to guide the mentee on the basis of competitive communication skills in order to articulate both the problems and ideas, to have the capability to listen and to challenge constructively as well as being honest.

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Mentoring As a Learning Support Process

Reflective practice is the process of reflecting what we actually do. It is a thinking model that uses the feelings of our experiences as a whole. Mentoring is essentially a process of guiding the mentee towards the attainment of healthy and reflective relations with the other people around them. This concept has been adopted in order to instill the required skills and acquire knowledge on various issues in relation with the life of the mentee. Actual research has shown that this concept of mentoring as a learning process was adopted a long time ago. The mentee is solely dependent on the mentor for support, encouragement, teachings and in some cases guidance. Definitively, mentoring is simply a process whereby the mentor helps the mentee to grow intellectually in terms of confidence, self esteem, belief and trust. Mentoring is an endeavor between a pair of individuals that builds on the walls of trust between these partners and the feedback of the process is the most important in order to evaluate the whole process. In order for adults or young ones to get to learn new things, they first have their own experiences analyzed and evaluated by the mentors exclusively in a professional manner (Rhodes & Grossman, 2000).

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Reflective practice is a process that comes after the mentoring process which analyses the performance of the mentor. This process enables the mentor to have a full list of the tasks performed and this as well allows one to go through their experience. In order to be totally effective in mentoring, these reflective practices are of great importance because it helps the mentor to get the entire information on how the whole process faired. The essence of reflective practices in mentoring has proved to be a viable process in examining various mentees in various cases. According to Roberts & Constable (2003), Mentoring as a process of mutual understanding is quite dependent on the participation of the two and therefore there is need to reflect on the whole process to ensure there is conceptual delivery on the aspects of the development and learning of the goals of any mentoring process the best r. Everyone in life needs a mentor who is capable of ensuring they attain appropriate skills in various disciplines (Hayden, 2003). Over a given period of time, reflecting on the performed duties enables one to have more self awareness which in turn enables the mentor to evaluate oneself and rectify any challenge that may have been encountered. Experience and skills grow with time as the exercise continues over a given time frame.

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The mentoring process increases one’s ability of self regulation and competence in the performance of the tasks one is involved in. Confidentiality is also attained through the presentations and the involvement of performance appraisal personnel who assist in identifying the strong and weak points of the mentor. Intensified abilities to prove high levels of professionalism in mentoring give room for one to achieve competitiveness, skills and ability to perform well (Taylor, 2000). The mentor is also able to respond to others more easily rather than showing some forms of reactions and more so able to make better decisions on major issues.

Based on the four practices, there is a high potentiality of learning new ideas from the day to day experiences despite facing challenges during the first few days. The mentoring process during the first few days seemed challenging but the required support was given. The guiding and orientation that was required was done in order to familiarize with the new station. The head teacher deserves a lot of credit since he never left you alone. In this case one can notice that the process of mentoring was just beginning and you showed good interest and determination not only to be a good teacher but also a mentor to the kids. Lack of adequate resources did not deter you from performing to your level best and ensuring the kids attain the mentoring and knowledge instilled in them. There are various prominent philosophers who have tried to understand this concept of mentoring. One of them is Zachary Lois who on his study of the process of mentorship introduces a four phase model that seeks to break down the complex process. His first concept involves preparation- where he argues that each mentor should analyze their capability to mentor and improving on certain aspects which they might need more experience and understanding.  One should not just jump into a mentoring relationship without first evaluating their capability to actually succeed in it. His second phase is that of getting to set the ground rules for the process and get to know each other quite well which is then followed by beginning the process. In this, trust is affirmed and communication maximized to ensure a sound outcome. Reflective practice is also a part of these four phases which are important (Connor & Pokora 2007).

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Egan looks at the process in terms of the change in different organizations. In his theory of experiential learning, he brings out the mentoring process as one of the most influential processes among both individuals and organizations. He points out that mentoring is a major player in developmental changes and upgrades. Egan and Clichy among other theorists also study the process of mentoring women. His skilled helper model explains how a person or an organization can start this relationship by acknowledging what they really want. In the second reflective account, there is commendable improvement in the skill of both teaching and mentoring. Learning a new language may be achieved through involving parents in ensuring their children learn an additional language. The mentor shows commendable improvements through the whole mentoring process (Garvey, 2004).

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Barriers and Challenges

This process is bound to have some constraints in trying to achieve the target goal. As we have seen above, one of the constraints that hinder this process is the communication barrier. It is not necessarily that the language might be different but also could be that both the mentor and the mentee are not free with one another which could be simply due to some misunderstandings. Time is another barrier that affects the process. The mentoring process is a gradual process where new mentors are developed with time. Creating time for the mentoring is important but someone might fail to show up which may eventually lead to the termination of the process (Rhodes & Grossman, 2000). There is also the issue of geographical location for both the mentor and the mentee. The closer to each other they are the easier it would be to achieve the desired goal. The mentor and the mentee must get along well. There must be compatibility between the two. This poses a challenge in the learning process. Another challenge that might be a barrier to a successful mentoring process is patience of both the mentor and the mentee. In cases of children, if the parents think that the mentor might be taking their role, the process might end the process. It is true to say that reflective practice should be used after each and every mentoring process to see how the learning process was done and if anything should be added.

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In summary, the above four reflective accounts show positive improvement, personal growth and development. The mentor shows ability to competitively deal with challenges and provide solutions to any problems encountered. The process of reflective practice in mentoring is a very reliable one since it ensures the required competitiveness and professionalism is imparted to individuals.

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