What is mentoring?
“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.” Eric Parsloe, The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring
A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced or able person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee..
A mentor is a guide who can help the mentee to find the right direction and who can help them to develop solutions to their issues. Mentors rely upon having had similar experiences to gain an empathy with the mentee and an understanding of their issues. Mentoring provides the mentee with an opportunity to think about their options and progress.
The characteristics of effective mentoring include the ability and willingness to:
- value the mentee as a person
- develop mutual trust and respect
- maintain confidentiality
- listen both to what is being said and how it is being said
- help the mentee solve his or her own problem, rather than give direction
- focus on the mentee’s development and resist the urge to produce a clone
What is advocacy?
Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and to help make sure your voice is heard. Someone who helps you in this way is called your advocate.
Unfortunately, having a mental health problem can sometimes mean that your opinions and ideas are not always taken seriously, or that you are not always offered all the opportunities and choices you would like. This can be difficult to deal with, especially when you need to communicate regularly with health care professionals, or other professionals.
What does an advocate do?
How your advocate helps you is up to you – they’re there to support your choices. For example, they can:
- listen to your views and concerns
- help you explore your options and rights (without advising you in any particular direction)
- give you information to help you make informed decisions
- help you contact relevant people, or contact them on your behalf
- accompany and support you in meetings or appointments
An advocate will not:
- give you their personal opinion
- solve problems and make decisions for you
- make judgements about you