Book review of you…

Looking at yourself through the readers eyes

The past two weeks have seen me invited to work with a group of mentors across the North East and Yorkshire, considering the question ‘what does it take to BE a mentor…’

The client brief was as follows:

  • To explore ‘who is the person behind the mentor’?
  • To provoke and stretch mentors, putting them in the learners context
  • To reflect on the impression they give off and how it is perceived

With an hour available I took the decision to give the ‘BE/DO/HAVE’ model of people development an outing. Something that has been developed though the #ShareCommunity – Original Blog Below:

Set up: This was a group run session – Each mentor to draw three circles on a blank page of A4 to depict the ‘BE/DO/HAVE’ model (as below). Mentors to sit in a circle facing inward with chairs close enough to be touching. Make the statement that this room set up is a deliberate effort to get us to look inward (within ourselves) and to feel connected with each other – hence the circle of chairs touching.

Conversation one – What does it take to BE

This is an internal conversation, something you do by yourself as an internal reflection. Using Trait words answer the following question:

How would your mentees describe you?

Here mentors litter the inner BE circle with trait and character related words which may be used by others (the mentees they work with) to describe them…

If people find this challenging ask them to close their eyes and imagine the meeting with the mentee where they have this conversation, build an internal play of the session taking place (what is being said, how is it being said). Also using blindfolds can reduce distraction e.g. looking around/avoiding the deeper thinking and can heighten the introspection that goes on within people.

Conversation two – what do you DO (and how do you BEhave)

This is a paired conversation changing the tempo from deeper internal thought to one of expression with another as a sense-making partner. In this conversation we ask the mentors to reflect on a ‘critical incident’ or stress/conflict situation with a mentee – see outline below:

This is best done as a mentoring conversation away from the circle (you may need to invite people to find a good space for this converation – social norms often means they stay put). Here one individual in the pair takes the role of ‘peer mentor’ to explore the situation and discover…

what did they do…
how did they BEhave…

The trick is for mentors to ask good questions and not all the questions in the scenario. It’s not about rifling through questions to complete the task but to pose questions which will lead to the most accurate reflection and allow you to checkin on….

Are the traits listed in conversation one coming through in what they do/how they BEhave in conversation two – matches and miss-matches?

Mentors conclude this conversation by writing key statements within the ‘DO’ circle of the diagram relating to what they did as a mentor and how they BEhaved in this scenario.

Conversation three – what do you wish to HAVE Achieved

Conversation three relates to your future self – 3 years from now what will you have achieved? Mentors are asked write a short letter to themselves dated in the future:

  • Write it in the present tense as if you’re already there. Describe your thoughts on your mentoring, congratulate yourself for the success you’ve had and say what that was.
  • Describe how you feel when you look back and review?
  • Who have you had an impact on? What value have you added to you world? How have you made a difference? What are you most proud of?
  • What did you worry about when you were young that you realise is not as important as you first thought?
  • What advice would you give to your ‘1st day at work self’ now you’ve reached the age you have?

The process of writing the letter at this point is now deeper than if it were done without the preceding tasks. Mentors tend to be more considered and deliberate about their thoughts now and take time to consider ‘real success’ to them and those they work with. This is individual in nature and you are likely to see a variety of versions of success. Our intention is to discover their true vision of success.

Book review of you – is there harmony in the story being told

I believe this is were the magic happens and the brief is met – Once the letter is written mentors are to pair up with someone in the room least like them, someone who would look at the world with a different lens to them or someone who will be of most help to them given their alternative perspective on BEing… Swap letters and use the following prompts to let your peer mentor under take a ‘Book Review of YOU'.

Reflect on this…

Is there harmony between the traits listed in conversation one, the BEhaviours in conversation two and the letter of Achievement in conversation three? What impression do you get?

Key question: Would you work with this person?

Concluding reflections for mentor…

In completing this task how truthful were you….

  • Is this who you are?
  • Is this who you want to be?
  • Is this who you want people to see?

Remember: You may give off one impression but each person interprets this in their own way – therefore you will have many impressions within others.

Kurt Ewald Lindley – working with mentors to vision how they are seen by others

Testing a #ShareCommunity product