2014 05-22--mentoring onsite-and_online[2.0]


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This interactive session reviewing mentoring basics, types of mentoring, and mentoring tips that can be used onsite, online, or in blended onsite-online mentoring situations was prepared for and presented through PCI Webinars on May 22, 2014. The session ends with an exercise designed to encourage participants to immediately put the content to use in their own workplaces,and includes a few resources for further exploration of the topic. Although the target audience was colleagues working in libraries, the content can easily be adapted for use in other worksites.

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  • Let’s start by questioning a few of our assumptions about mentoring:
    In the contemporary workplace, who is the mentor and who is the protégé? (Think of what we learn from our younger colleagues if we’re willing to gain from their expertise.)
    Does it have to be face to face, or can it involve online interactions? (Think about using free tools like Skype or Google Hangouts, or services you might already have, including WebEx or Adobe Connect—which, of course, is what we’re using for our session today.)
    If it isn’t face to face, does mentoring always have to be grounded in synchronous interactions? (Think about email exchanges, shared documents that become part of the mentoring process, or even personal exchanges via Twitter or Facebook.)
    When we allow ourselves to think at that level, new and exciting possibilities quickly become apparent. As long as we remember that mentoring still remains a wonderfully personal endeavor regardless of the tools we use.
  • Listening to a recording of R. David Lankes’ wonderful “The Faithful and the Radicals” presentation about librarians and libraries last month taught me quite a bit—let’s call it unintentional virtual mentoring. But one of the most striking moments, for me, was when he briefly referred to contacting one of his mentors to help in resolving a dilemma he was facing.
  • It was a real “did I just hear that?” moment: David Lankes--whose massive online open course on New Librarianship and whose book The Atlas of New Librarianship is making many of us rethink what we do—still has a mentor?
  • And it brought home something we all will benefit from considering: mentoring never really stops in our lives. Our mentors help shape us, just as what we gain from them helps shapers others.
    So what we’re going to do in the time we have together today is think about what the best of our mentors give us, what we give those who mentor, and how we can effectively provide the most dynamic and rewarding learning experiences we can in mentoring onsite as well as online. In the best of all worlds, our mentoring will go back and forth seamlessly between onsite and online settings in ways that don’t favor one approach over the other.
  • So, in anticipation of deciding how we can connect that level of influence and positive outcomes with our own libraries’ needs, let’s take a couple of minutes to do the obvious: Let’s ground ourselves by reflecting on the mentors who have made a difference in our lives, and think about how the connections made with those mentors have extended into the larger communities we each serve:
    Think about a mentor you have had or currently have, think about how the connections have served both the mentor and you in each of these cases.
    Please add your thoughts into the chat window; I’ll read or summarize comments so those listening to the archived recording of this session won’t be left out of the conversation.
  • From “Tools for Effective Mentoring Programs,” an Infoline publication from the American Society for Training & Development (now the Association for Talent Development):
    The most common form of mentoring, and one that will be at the center of what we discuss today…”The relationship and mentoring process is individually designed to focus on the specific competency needs, learning styles, and project manage of the mentee.” – p. 2
  • From “Tools for Effective Mentoring Programs,” an Infoline publication from the American Society for Training & Development (now the Association for Talent Development):
    Something we’ll discuss a bit in the context of working via Skype, Google Hangouts, and other online tools…
    ”Can build relationships across locations….The process allows mentees to create connections with leaders they otherwise may not have met.” – p. 2
  • From “Tools for Effective Mentoring Programs,” an Infoline publication from the American Society for Training & Development (now the Association for Talent Development):
    Something not to overlook…
    “A younger (Generation Y) employee is matched to a senior executive (Boomer or Traditional) to offer skills and knowledge, such as effective uses of social media…” – p. 2
  • From “Tools for Effective Mentoring Programs,” an Infoline publication from the American Society for Training & Development (now the Association for Talent Development):
    Even less common in our library learning sandbox…
    ”Within the circle, one mentor offers advice and guidance to a group of mentees.” – p. 2
  • From “Tools for Effective Mentoring Programs,” an Infoline publication from the American Society for Training & Development (now the Association for Talent Development):
    Think “personal learning networks—our colleagues on committees, task forces, or in courses and workshops we are taking…
    ”Peer mentoring groups offer knowledge and guidance to each other and can occur with participants from just one department or from many departments. People with various backgrounds can offer thoughts and ideas. Can improve organizational relationships and morale by offering a support system.” – p. 2
  • I suspect that most of us do well if we have some sort of foundational structure, with clearly-stated goals in mind, if we’re going to build something that will be successful.
    With that in mind, let’s focus on our goal—the sort of library where connections build upon connections to lead to great service—and consider ten steps that might build a mentoring program that carries us to implementing that goal. It doesn’t matter whether we’re setting up a mentoring program to foster greater leadership, help those early in their careers to further develop the skills they have, or helping someone find the right path into those worksites so many of us love and support: the steps are fairly standard, and not all that hard to implement.
    (Photo, from flickr.com, shows the Sinclair Community College Library in Dayton, Ohio)
  • Mission Statement: We Have to Set Goals?
    Yes! And it starts with a well-defined mission statement—preferably one consistent with our organization’s overall mission, vision, and value statements. If we know what our program is meant to produce and we can express that in an inspiring one-line mission statement, we are on the way to success. And we will be able to effectively evaluate the program when we are finished.
    It helps if we look at where we are and where we want to go; our goals are going to be very different if we’re at the foot of the mountain as opposed to being very close to the peak.
    *In one library-based program I helped establish and manage, the mission statement was for library staff to work with students in a formal library studies program to encourage those students to consider careers in large urban library systems. Mission accomplished.
    *An ATD chapter mentoring program—ATD is the Association for Talent Development—helped protégés develop their leadership skills—among other things. The payoff for the Chapter was that some of the protégés applied what they learned by joining the Chapter Board of Directors.
  • Assessment: Determine What Our Organization Needs…and Wants
    Great programs aren’t creating in a vacuum. Talking to key players—prospective mentors as well as to the protégés they might be mentoring—helps keep our program reality based. And productive. Gatherings like this one—ALA’s Emerging Leaders in 2007—remind us how important it is to have the right people in the right place at the right time—if we’re willing to listen to what they have to say.
    *In the San Francisco Public Library mentoring program for library school students, mentoring came out of the need to engage students viscerally in library operations; they were involved in the sort of activities they would face in the workplace, and they produced tangible products that their workplace colleagues produce. No make-work here: it was real, hands-on, useful work—and everybody won.
    *Protégés helped shape and manage the ATD Chapter mentoring program.
  • Credibility: Have a Willing and Capable Project Leader
    We may not have to be dressed up for the role to be effective, but…
    As is the case with any effective program, a great and dynamic mentoring programs starts with a creative and dynamic leader. Having someone in charge who enthusiastically embraces and sustains the overall mentoring program—whether it directly affects just a few mentor-protégé pairs or hundreds of employees—helps assure that the program will be well organized and managed, and inspires confidence and enthusiasm from current and prospective participants.
    *When I was part of the local chapter of The National Society for Fundraising Executives with a colleague (and it was still called “The National Society for Fundraising Executives)”, I had a wonderful mentor; when our year together in that capacity ended, we teamed up to co-chair the mentoring program the following year.
    *For the ATD Mt. Diablo Chapter in San Francisco’s East Bay Area, it has become an unofficial tradition to have at least one protégé serve as co-chair of the project for the following year.
  • Impact: Determine What Our Resources Are Before We Begin
    Success requires strong foundations. Therefore, taking a broad look at our resources is a prequel to establishing a mentoring program that serves the mentors and protégés, our organizations, and the people who rely on us for what we offer. If we don’t have support from administrators, supervisors, and managers, we might run a lovely program…and find that it has no impact because what is created is not supported in the workplace where our protégés will be applying what they learn.
    *One of our best resources is our organization’s leadership. If the head of your organization actively participates in the planning process or in the project kick-off event, that sends an important message about how important your mentoring program is.
    *If people throughout your organization participate as mentors, you’re effectively identifying and putting first-rate resources to use and automatically establishing your project’s credibility.
  • Transparency: Create an Open Application Process
    We’re not working for the FBI, the CIA, or Homeland Security here. We’re in the most visible and public of services. With that in mind, we need to be open and transparent rather than secretive. Using every communication tool we have to reach our extended audience demonstrates that the program is open to all qualified applicants rather than to a hand-picked few.
    *The student-mentoring group at the San Francisco Public Library system began with protégés telling us what they wanted to gain from a mentor; we identified mentors with experience to meet those needs, and asked prospective mentor-protégé pairs to meet informally before confirming that the match was appropriate. No one turned down any proposed match—they enthusiastically embraced them.
    *The application process for mentors and for protégés was well-defined at every stage of the process. There was adequate time for applicants to submit the simple paperwork required for participation; mentors and protégés knew when proposed matches would be made; and program requirements were clearly stated throughout the entire application, placement, and implementation phases.
  • Responsiveness: Answer Today’s Questions Today
    It’s not breaking news to any of us that we’re in an age of incredibly fast communication.
    There’s no need to form a task force or hold national hearings for every decision we make. Some things that come up can be answered or responded to quickly since we should, as we move forward, have mission statements and easy-to-understand plans in place when questions come up. When we begin accepting applications from mentors and protégés and make the matches, we need to respond to inquiries in a positive and timely fashion. Want to kill a program? Make people wait so long that they lose interest in what we are offering.
    *We don’t have to answer every question ourselves. If we’re swamped with tasks to complete—and who doesn’t feel that way these days?—we can always refer questions to someone else in the mentoring program to expedite responses and to also create a greater sense of cohesion within that particular mentoring community.
    *There’s a great lesson to be learned from how some of my professors at the University of North Texas MLIS program ran their online courses. With more than 100 students in some very labor-intensive courses, they knew they had to have a system for responding quickly to learners’ needs. They drew from their experience to anticipate some of the questions they would be receiving, prepared canned responses, could personalize those canned responses as needed, and had adequate teams of support staff helping them respond in a way that felt as if there was someone available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the duration of the course.
  • Structure and Flexibility: Have a Clear Yet Flexible Roadmap
    Creating a program where protégés submit projects as part of their application provides structure from the very people who stand to gain from the project, and, as mentioned in Tip #1 above, creates something that can be measured when the mentor-protégé reaches its conclusion. Letting the projects evolve as long as they don’t stray too far from the program goals and our organization’s goals creates a level of flexibility and creativity that results in lively and productive programs and relationships.
    *The San Francisco Public Library project required that each mentor-protégé team meet at least once a month. It was up to each team to decide whether to meet face-to-face, by phone, or via some sort of online tool that was comfortable and accessible for both members of the team.
    *The ATD Mount Diablo Chapter project required protégés to complete a tangible, well-defined project during the year-long duration of the program. Projects could be modified to meet a protégé’s evolving professional situation and needs.
  • Engagement: Encourage Our Protégés to Learn Through Actions
    If protégés ask for anything that helps them reach their goals, we need to encourage them to become part of the process of providing those resources—creating a wiki, developing a reading list for their fellow protégés, facilitating face-to-face or online discussion groups covering issues of interest to all participants, learning how to create and manage projects (such as mentoring programs), designing an effective evaluation plan for mentoring (or other) projects.
    *One of the people I mentored was trying to develop a way to market what he does. His project included working with a designer to establish an appropriate web page.
    *Protégés in another mentoring program wanted to improve their ability to effectively use social networking tools and share information with each other via a wiki, so one of them took the lead in developing a simple wiki with free online tools and facilitated mentors’ and protégés’ use of that wiki to create a tool that remains useful to subsequent participants of that group’s mentoring program.
  • Engagement: Encourage Our Protégés to Learn Through Actions
    Take every opportunity possible to celebrate mentors’ and protégés successes. This increases what everyone learns and also increases awareness among the larger prospective audience of mentors and protégés.
    *Nothing reinforces the positive results of learning than for a mentor to publicly acknowledge a protégé’s successes at meetings where peers are in attendance or where others might gain from what the protégé has produced. This sort of simple cost-free celebration makes everyone—mentors, protégés, and the organization itself look as good as it is.
    *Taking time during a mentoring session to congratulate a protégé on progress he or she has made on a long-term mentoring project is, again, a non-contrived—completely natural—way to remind the protégé that the small steps being taken between mentoring sessions are leading to a much larger and long-lasting success.
  • Evaluation: Learn From What Worked and Didn’t Work, Then Start Again
    Evaluation helps document the successes our programs produce. Applying lessons learned from the evaluation sends us back to Tip #1 as we continue creating sustainable programs that benefit all involved.
    Bonus tip: Since we’re involved in continual learning here, we want to constantly be looking for ways to respond to changing circumstances. One that I love is that idea of “virtual mentoring,” based on protégés who learn from those they admire by reading their blogs, their online comments on books they are reading, and other resources that don’t even have the “mentors” and “protégés” in direct contact.
    Second bonus tip: Let’s not forget to acknowledge those who help us, as I’ve tried to do throughout this presentation. In the spirit of that tip, I want to acknowledge the University of North Texas LE@D project and Pat Wagner for inspiring me to formally develop these tips for a webinar we did together in 2011. Pat, too, is a great mentor/colleague/friend, and I’m grateful for all she does to push me beyond what I might otherwise do.
  • Let’s take a very quick breather:
    Any connections or comments inspired by those 10 tips?
  • Because the heart of what we’re discussing is both personal and social, it makes sense for us to consider social media and other online tools to further what we’re doing. And that’s where this becomes very interesting.
    You don’t need a lot; as you can see here, I’ve done things with a simple combination of a laptop, desktop, webcam, and speakers.
  • When I’ve been traveling and couldn’t meet people I was mentoring face to face, Skype has been one way of keeping discussions going; Google Hangouts serve a similar purpose—and it becomes very interesting when the subject we’re exploring is the use of social media; the learners obviously gain a visceral understanding of and appreciation for social media tools in learning when those tools are the delivery method for the mentoring discussions.
    If you have ongoing access to Adobe Connect, WebEx, or some other similar form on online conferencing, you’re on your way.
  • When we step into the realm of mentoring asynchronously, we can look at the Facebook group ALA Think Tank as a source of inspiration.
    Preparing for this webinar, I posted a request for examples of effective mentoring among library colleagues. The obviously asynchronous response unexpectedly connected a few of the dots we’re connecting here with an answer that includes one-to-one, e-mentoring, group mentoring, peer-to-peer mentoring, and asynchronous mentoring. Quoting that post, from Melissa Martin Powell (Fort Collins, Colorado):
    “The ThinkTank is a perfect example! I see a lot of mentoring going on here. The nice thing is the variety of feedback. Once someone finds a person or two they are comfortable with, friendships outside the ‘Tank often arise, leading to a more personal mentoring situation. It gives people who might not otherwise seek out or have access to mentors a chance to ‘play the field’ as it were.”
  • So let’s think about where that last example might lead us:
    If we consider what Melissa did and documented through that post, we see someone who clearly values one-on-one mentoring, is adept at going online for mentoring opportunities, engages synchronously as well as asynchronously, and enjoys group as well as peer-to-peer mentoring.
    Furthermore, if we are open to combining tools and resources rather than forcing unnecessary either-or-choices, we position ourselves for the best of all mentoring programs and experiences: those that creatively and innovatively use anything available to produce the best learning opportunity for everyone involved. No losers here!
  • We started off by talking about how even those who are at the top of their games continue to benefit from mentors.
  • We then talked about a variety of approaches to mentoring, including one-to-one, group, peer, and online.
  • We explored the importance of setting goals…
  • …exploring resources…
  • …being transparent and responsive…
  • …having structure and flexibility in the programs we create, implement, and facilitate…
  • …evaluating our successes and our failures…
  • …and celebrating all that we accomplish together.
    We have plenty of resources. All we need to do is remember to seek them out, use them, and remain open to creatively engaging in ways that promote our individual and organization goals. If we pursue that path, we cannot lose.
  • A final exercise to bring this home:
    What can you take away from our time together today and apply in your own workplace within the next several days?
  • As we move into the idea of blending our mentoring programs and incorporating social media tools, let’s look at a few resources.
    A new ALA Editions publication—Successful Social Networking in Public Libraries—provides a good introduction to how libraries of various sizes are incorporating Facebook and Twitter into their work at a generic level. If you haven’t explored these two social media networks, this is a good starting point, and it will better prepare you to look for ways to creatively incorporate those tools into your mentoring work even though the book doesn’t make that connection for you.
  • Marta Lee’s Mentoring in the Library—also from ALA Editions—is another great resource if you want to delve further into the topic after today’s session.
    Topics covered include:
    The kinds of skills the mentor should have, with techniques for successful development, education, and training
    How to establish formal and informal mentoring arrangements, with a chapter devoted to mentoring librarians electronically
    Keys to working with students, interns, volunteers, and individuals interested in a library science career
  • A Macfarland publication edited by Carol Smallwood and Rebecca Tolley-Stokes—Mentoring in Librarianship: Essays on Working With Adults and Students to Further the Profession—rounds out the picture we’re creating together through this session.
  • 2014 05-22--mentoring onsite-and_online[2.0]

    1. 1. Facilitated by Paul Signorelli Writer/Trainer/Consultant Paul Signorelli & Associates paul@paulsignorelli.com Twitter: @paulsignorelli Mentoring in YourLibrary: Onsite and Online
    2. 2. The Need forMentors: R. David Lankes
    3. 3. The Need forMentors: R. David Lankes
    4. 4. The Need forMentors: R. David Lankes
    5. 5. Connections 1: The Mentors in YourLife
    6. 6. Types of Mentoring: One-to-One
    7. 7. Types of Mentoring: E-Mentoring
    8. 8. Types of Mentoring: Reverse Mentoring
    9. 9. Types of Mentoring: Group Mentoring
    10. 10. Types of Mentoring: PeerMentoring Groups
    11. 11. Ten Tips forMentoring Programs
    12. 12. 1. Set Goals
    13. 13. 2. Determine What We Need
    14. 14. 3. Have a Project Leaderin Place
    15. 15. 4. Determine What OurResources Are
    16. 16. 5. Create Transparent Processes
    17. 17. 6. Be Responsive (Today!)
    18. 18. 7. Have Structure and Flexibility
    19. 19. 8. Engage Protégés Through Action
    20. 20. 9. Celebrate
    21. 21. 10. Evaluate—Then Start Again
    22. 22. Connections 2
    23. 23. Going Social, Going Online
    24. 24. Skype and Google Plus
    25. 25. Asynchronous Mentoring
    26. 26. Synthesis: And-And Instead of Either-Or
    27. 27. Bringing It Home
    28. 28. Bringing It Home
    29. 29. Bringing It Home
    30. 30. Bringing It Home
    31. 31. Bringing It Home
    32. 32. Bringing It Home
    33. 33. Bringing It Home
    34. 34. Bringing It Home
    35. 35. Connections 3
    36. 36. Resources
    37. 37. Resources
    38. 38. Resources
    39. 39. Questions & Comments
    40. 40. For More Information Paul Signorelli & Associates 1032 Irving St., #514 San Francisco, CA 94122 415.681.5224 paul@paulsignorelli.com http://paulsignorelli.com @paulsignorelli http://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com
    41. 41. Credits & Acknowledgments (Images taken fromflickr.comunless otherwise noted): Mentoring (Introductory Slide: From Brian Ujiie’s photostream at http://tinyurl.com/p5emwwx Connections: From Bupowski’s photostreamat http://www.flickr.com/photos/amodiovalerioverde/264864230/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Reverse Mentoring: From Brian Ujiie’s photostream at http://tinyurl.com/k2d8ey8 Group Mentoring: From MerrimackCollege’s photostream at http://tinyurl.com/qz8zfve Peer Mentoring Groups: From LowerColumbia College’s photostreamat http://tinyurl.com/l9v6fzu Sinclair Community College Library: From Sincllair_Library’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sinclairlibrary/532604102/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Rocks and Mountains: From Let_Ideas_Compete’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephanridgway/2942306223/sizes/m/in/photostream/ ALA Emerging Leaders 2007: From ALA_Staff’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alastaff/363169951/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Project Leader: From Rafael_Peñaloza’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/93425126@N00/4408894161/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Foundations: From That_Guy_Who’s_Going_Place’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaup/4945474279/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Open Arms: From Zymon’s photostreamat http://www.flickr.com/photos/papah_zymon/4384071134/sizes/m/in/photostream/ iPad in Docking Station: From Mbiebusch’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbiebusch/5816398534/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Flexibility: From Khalid_Almasoud’s photostreamat http://www.flickr.com/photos/khalid- almasoud/474399662/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Action Figure: From Libraryman’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/libraryman/86206037/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Fireworks: From Manboman1’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mamboman/2710982104/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Desktops: Photo by Paul Signorelli Ouroboros: From 185Queen’s photostreamat http://www.flickr.com/photos/185queens/142198154/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Yes: From Ancient History’s photostream at http://tinyurl.com/kab2nxw Question Marks: From Valerie Everett’s photostreamat http://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/3006348550/sizes/m/in/photostream/