“Mentoring has impacted how I perceive and interact with people. Initially I would impose my expectations on people I work with and interact with but this has changed and has allowed me to accept and allow people to set their own expectations then I act as a sounding board, and accountability partner. With this experience I have identified ways to clearly stipulate the goals for my team, and let them break it down and take them forward in their own way. Allowing others to be free with their execution, using their own creativity as long as the goal is met — that freedom of thought has really been relieving for me.” Alice Michira.
Because the mentoring relationship is focused on developing the mentee, it’s easy to assume that mentors do not get much value outside giving back through these relationships. While mentoring does indeed give the mentor an opportunity to share their life experiences and knowledge for the benefit, and growth of others, it similarly provides a platform for mutual learning for both mentee, and mentor.
The mentoring relationship is a two-way learning relationship, and as Alice Michira shares, it’s given her an opportunity to reflect on her personal leadership journey as a mentor engaged in the Imarisha mentoring programme delivered in Kenya.
“I joined the Imarisha mentoring programme to give back and support entrepreneurs. I support various mentoring initiatives, it’s part of what we do within our organisation, we give back to the community to ensure that we positively impact entrepreneurs.
Coming from a coaching background, there were things I needed to learn. While there are overlaps in techniques and some similarities, the approaches are quite different, and this programme helped me to clarify that. The mentor training was critical because it defined the expectations in a mentoring relationship and what mentoring really is. Learning to let go and let the mentee move on with their own process, enabling them to make their own decision is something that I picked up from the mentor training. I have also used this skill in my coaching practice, to become a support system. It gives a sense of independence and ownership to the mentee instead of making them reliant on you every time they want to make a decision. It’s quite relieving and fulfilling in itself,” shares Alice.
As mentors work to frame their mentee’s mindset through powerful questioning, they similarly get to reflect and continuously develop their mindset. “Mentoring has impacted how I perceive things and my expectations of others. Initially I used to have expectations from people I work, and interact with. With this experience I have learnt to clearly stipulate the goals for my team, and let people break it down and take the tasks forward in their own way so long as the objectives are met and our values are not compromised. Allowing others to be free with their execution, using their own creativity as long as the goal is met — that freedom of thought has really been rewarding for me.”
Indeed, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with positively supporting the growth of another. While a mentor provides guidance and perspective, they get to witness the mentee take-off, develop and grow in their craft, and personally.
“I’m happy to witness transformation in my mentee and see him commit to his own goals. During the Covid period, I saw him adapt and as a result tremendously scale his business to new markets this year and double his turnover. He has taken charge of his goals, set new ones that were much bigger and hold himself accountable for his growth.”
The Imarisha mentoring programme was an awesome opportunity to meet amazing humans from fellow mentors, and mentees, to the Mowgli Mentoring team. It was an eye-opening experience in terms of how you structure yourself and go about life. It created the impetus to do more, and be more. It encouraged me be to be more present and offer myself to others.”
“Mentoring should come from a place of needing to give of yourself. If that need is there, regardless of what you’re going through you will have it in you to support others.”