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Mentoring 101

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla --

What is Mentoring? You can ask several people what mentoring means to them and you will get different answers. Basically, mentoring is the passing on of skills, knowledge and wisdom from one person to another.

 

A good mentoring relationship allows both mentor and mentee to develop new talents and build self-awareness. The toughest part of a mentoring relationship is finding a mentor.  Before you start your search for a mentor, decide what it is you would most want to accomplish through the process. It will help you make the best decision.

Where do you find good mentors? A good place to start is inside your organization, a friend or peer you look up to, or someone with the same goals as you. Simply ask someone whose work you admire if they would be willing to spend some time with you over the next few months to help you focus on some personal goals. You don't even have to use the word "mentor," which can seem too intimidating of a role for some.

Another method of finding a mentor or becoming a mentor is by signing up at MyVector. (https://afvec.langley.af.mil/myvector/Home/Mentoring)

MyVector is a program for all ranks, so you may request an enlisted mentor, an officer or a civilian to answer any questions you may have and help you identify and achieve your career milestones and goals.

Now that you have found a mentor or signed up at MyVector, here are a few tips on how to make the process most successful.

  • First, determine the outcomes both you and your mentor want to achieve. A clear understanding of your intention and desired results will build a stronger relationship.

 

  • Establish the best ways to communicate. Will you meet in person, by phone or e-mail? How frequently will you meet? Meetings don’t need to be time consuming.

 

  • Goals – set a specific goal to accomplish during a given time frame. Make sure it's not too general like, "I want to be a better leader."

 

  • Feedback – establish milestones along the way to assess how things are going for both of you. Determine what would make the relationship or process work even better.

 

Remember, mentoring is a power free, two-way mutually beneficial relationship. Mentors are facilitators who provide advice and share knowledge and experiences, allowing the mentees to discover their own direction.

If you have a mentor, give them a call and discuss some things that you have been thinking about.  If not, consider finding a mentor and developing a relationship, now is the time to ask someone to be your mentor. For more information concerning the Air Force Mentoring program, you can review AFMAN 36-2643 or visit https://afvec.langley.af.mil/myvector/Home/Mentoring.