Mentoring - The Gift That Keeps On Giving (Part 1)
Updated: May 17
FAREMA NAGA (Mentor)
Farema works as a People Advisor for a local college near where she lives in Leuchars, Scotland. She advises on recruitment and supporting current staff including mentoring and coaching. She wanted to use her knowledge and skills to give back to the community and offered to be a mentor on the MAUK mentoring programme.
We were able to match her to Caelan who is a 17-year-old Fijian boy, eldest son of a close friend of hers who also lives in Scotland. The timing was perfect as he was approaching his final school year and had started applying to universities, to pursue his studies in medicine. He would benefit from some mentoring support to build his confidence in preparation for university.
Farema shares her experience below:
It’s a different challenge mentoring youths compared to adults. Youths don’t have a lot of prior experience and not fully aware of what they want, often lacking the skill set to prepare for the next stage of their journey.
It requires more patience. You have to make it about them, and not what you want to achieve in the mentoring relationship. Sometimes everything you’ve learned or experienced (in a mentoring capacity or in life) can hinder the process. Be mindful of that.
Be prepared for change and avoid any preconceived ideas of how things will work out. You have to be prepared to put in the extra time to invest in their development. And be genuine in your intentions.
You also have to accept that progress will be slow. As one of the main challenges faced with mentoring teenagers revolves around distraction from digitalisation, technology, social media and peer pressure.
More active listening and tuning in will be more effective. Avoid putting more pressure on them; allow them to take the lead, which means knowing when to step back.
Find a way to make it comfortable for your sessions, sometimes having a meal or going for a walk together. Suggest practical ways to build confidence, like participating in church or community activities. And seek their feedback on what they learned and felt.
It’s also important to heed cues or pay attention to behaviour and language to steer discussion and adjust your approach. Sometimes you might want a session on goal setting but it turns out that they just want to talk about what’s on their mind instead.
It’s a more rewarding mentoring relationship, as you also learn something new about mentoring, yourself and the people you are mentoring. And realising that the impact you make is significant, makes it an enriching experience.
Young people are at the cusp of their transition from high school into university, and its important that they have a solid foundation that includes faith and family. Mentoring reminds them of what’s important.
The mentoring support is ongoing, until it is no longer required. It’s difficult to put a time-frame into something as fluid and critical as this to be really effective. You will both know when its time to move on. It just means that there is a shift but you will remain a key supporter on their journey.
CAELAN CABEMAIWASA (Mentee)
Caelan took part in a mentoring programme during his summer holidays last year and found it to be a worthwhile experience. He was keen to take on as much mentoring support to better position him for university life. He was kind enough to share his feedback, below:
What is the one thing - key insight, best advice, or invaluable lesson, ‘takeaway’ message you gained from your mentoring sessions and whole experience as a mentee? Confidence - I have underwent a few situations where I had to be confident and let myself out there, which we arranged during our mentor meetings. These activities really helped me boost myself and I know I have been changed.
Would you recommend mentoring to your peers or friends? And why? Yes, this is a great way to interact with children who need guidance, and can certainly help them in whatever they need.
Do you have any suggestions for improving our mentoring programme? Currently, I don’t.