A leading practice that can create accountability

with Karen Malcolm and Debra Russell

  • Mentoring as a relationship between equals providing ongoing professional development and a way to explore work in a deeper way
  • How the Co-mentorship Happened:
    • Monthly meetings via Skype or phone
    • Time keeping:  30 mins each person
    • Setting targets and priorities
    • Person speaking outlines project:  co-mentor asks clarifying questions
    • Keeping notes and referring them to each month.
  • Benefits
    • Increased job satisfaction
    • Greater momentum and consistency in project work – more accountability when there is a relationship of someone who is checking in on the work
    • Setting specific target dates for completion of tasks
    • Support for challenging complacency and finding innovative approaches
    • Helpful to have a relationship with a colleague outside of particular communities
    • Enhanced level of professional reflection
    • Focused on the broader aspect of career development
  • Formalizing a co-mentoring relationship
    • Time commitment of one hour a month (within the needs of each person’s schedule)
    • Initial discussion regarding the purpose of relationship
    • Clear outlining of expectations
      • Peer relationship:  not hierarchical
      • Mutual respect
      • Sincere desire to further each other’s work
  • Potential Pitfalls
    • Not setting aside the needed time
    • Become social rather than work oriented (Sometimes had to have a social call prior to professional call to allow for both the social relationship and professional relationship)
    • One perceiving self as more knowledgeable  – thinking that “I’m the better mentor.”  So, it is important to have balance in that relationship and respect the unique talents that each person has.
    • Defensiveness or attacking

Co-mentoring is a resource that does not cost anything other than time and can be a very beneficial for developing a professional relationship.  It can work for people at all levels of their professional life.  It can be a really good tool for developing reflective practice and critical thinking – as a method for breaking out of a sense of isolation.