The Art of Mentoring
Meet Nicola Betts, First Foundation’s Mentor Recruitment Coordinator extraordinaire.
With the strong belief everyone has something to offer a young person, whether it is through their own learning journey or life experiences, Nicola’s focus has been on growing the First Foundation mentoring programme over the past year.
We asked Nicola to give us a run-down on what it takes to be an excellent and effective Mentor; the recruitment process at First Foundation; and how mentoring benefits both the Mentor and Mentee…
FF: What traits and values does a First Foundation Mentor possess?
NB: A First Foundation Mentor is first and foremost a person with a heart for supporting a young person in their steps to success, whatever that success may look like for them. They are an encourager and motivator, a network sharer and resource finder, an unbiased ear to listen and shoulder to lean on and importantly, a friend.
FF: Why are these particular traits and values important?
NB: Often for our students they are missing some of these pieces of the puzzle in their life through no fault of their own. We intentionally seek out people who are excited to share their journey, both successes and hurdles and help open their Mentees’ eyes to all the possibilities out there.
FF: How do you recruit Mentors?
NB: A lot of our Mentors are recruited through word of mouth referral by current Mentors. We also work with our Scholarship Partners and Community Partners to encourage their staff to get involved and more recently we have some programme Alumni coming back to Mentor. They feel they received such wonderful support when they were students in the programme themselves.
FF: How do you match them with First Foundation Scholars?
NB: It is a messy business with paperwork all over the boardroom table. Effectively we look for more than just study path/career industry in common. We want our Mentees and their Mentor to have some other commonalities so we look at family make-up, hobbies, and personality traits and hope to find some similarities from which a conversation can be started.
FF: How do Mentors support Scholars?
NB: There are so many ways in which a Mentor can be a wonderful support to a student. Just sharing their own story of the road they travelled to get where they are now and what goals and dreams they have for the future is pretty impactful. Taking the time to hear about a student’s dreams and plans and talking about the practical ways of achieving these. Being that encourager when times get tough and the stress is high. Even the simple things like helping write a CV or working out a basic budget are really helpful. At the end of the day, knowing there is someone there who has your back is a huge help for the Mentee.
FF: How do Mentors support Scholarship Partners?
NB: Some of (not all) our Mentors come from our partnering organisations and in a not insignificant way their volunteer commitment can support the organisations corporate social responsibility objectives.
FF: What do you get out of being a Mentor - personally and professionally?
NB: Personally, as a Mentor I love being a part of a young person’s road to success and being involved in something that is not necessarily about me. However, I believe everyone should go into this opportunity with the intention they will benefit hugely from it as well as the student. Professionally, you can gain the ability to keep up to date with today’s young people and the way they think, which is sometimes so radically different to our own thinking. There is potential for developing coaching skills and inter-cultural skills also. Plus remember the data that indicates those who volunteer live longer.
FF: Why should someone become a Mentor?
NB: Even if you are not sure you have something to offer (don’t worry, everyone does) mentoring is a fantastic way to give back to society. It is an incredibly rewarding experience to be a part of someone’s success. If you are looking for a meaningful volunteer experience that is more than just one day a year and asks of you to be not much more than a mate, you’ve found your place.
FF: How can people get involved/become a Mentor?
NB: Phone or email me for more information or go online and complete the application form and I’ll be in touch to chat.
Want to become a mentor?
Phone: +64 9 522 4140 or Mobile: +64 21 444 555