Entering Mentoring Part 1 Communication at CalTech


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These slides and materials were used for providing a workshop for CalTech's postdoctoral association. The workshop provided training as the postdocs began a formal mentoring experience for undergrad summer research students.

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Entering Mentoring Part 1 Communication at CalTech

  1. 1. Steve Lee, PhD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines University of California, Davis Training the next generation #1: Communicating effectively Caltech Postdoctoral Association May 30, 2014 Entering Mentoring:
  2. 2. Core Principles of Mentoring Relationships 2 The BIG Picture: Communication Aligning expectations Assessing understanding Addressing diversity Fostering independence Promoting professional development Ethics
  3. 3. Our workshops will address: Communicating Effectively: Assessing and applying your communication strengths Design a Project for your Mentee: Aligning goals and expectations Addressing Diversity Fostering Independence 3 Resources from the University of Wisconsin’s Entering Mentoring Parts 1-2 Today Part 3 Part 4
  4. 4. Group Discussion Introduce yourselves to each other, then discuss: 1. When you began research, what was a particular challenge that you faced? 2. How did a particular mentor (broadly defined) help you as you began research? 4
  5. 5. Challenges in starting research not getting feedback in timely not getting positive feedback left alone lack of role model imposter syndrome lack of big picture lack of resources, funding, equipment, exploitation unknown expectations 5 Group responses:
  6. 6. Guidance from mentors side mentor positive encouragement great expert; helped to move beyond their expertise treated whole person; remembering personal life asked about family regularly; caring for family fatherly chats; not being afraid of failures hands on; learned by example enouraged networking; introducing colleagues cared about next steps helped priorities realized they’re introverts free networking opportunities listening to progress 6 Group responses:
  7. 7. Why do we have trouble communicating effectively? Communication can be challenging when: (Group responses) providing feedback or advice addressing cross-disciplinary topics resolving conflicts when mentor is busy cultural differences; language barriers “noise”; lack of eye contact difficulties from email preoccupied with supervisor’s impressions assumptions approachability; cold or aloof we bring your own experiences and interpretations and projections difficulty assessing mood expectations on different levels or unclear expectations lack of feedback from mentee 7
  8. 8. Group Discussion: Case Studies Read the case studies and decide on 1 or 2 cases to discuss in your group 8
  9. 9. A key difficulty is realizing our own strengths and weaknesses Much research indicates that we don’t assess ourselves accurately Kruger and Dunning (1999): Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self- Assessments Gallup survey: 97% said their leadership skills are at or above average(!) 9
  10. 10. A key communication skill is to develop self-awareness Critical to develop metacognitive skills Self-assessments can significantly improve self-awareness Myers-Briggs type indicators StrengthsFinder myIDP Seven success stories Forty-year vision journaling 10
  11. 11. Take the Myers-Briggs test Online free version: www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp Android or iPhone apps 11 Spend ~10-15 minutes Obtain your 4-letter result and scale Refer to MB tables in handout We’ll discuss your results
  12. 12. Four dichotomies of the MBTI 12 How do you prefer: to relate to people? to gather information? to make decisions? to relate to the outside world? Extroverts or E-types Introverts or I-types Sensors or S-types Intuitors or N-types Thinkers or T-types Feelers or F-types Judgers or J-types Perceivers or P-types
  13. 13. Common Misconceptions of MBTI “I can’t function as my opposite type” preference ≠ ability “If I know someone’s types, I can predict (or manipulate) their behavior.” knowing their MB types only gives a framework to understand them “I need to find people with the same types to be productive” complementary strengths can help your weaknesses and avoid blind spots 13
  14. 14. Myers-Briggs types - Discussion 14 Do the MB results seem to accurately describe yourself? Let’s revisit the case studies Apply your understanding of the Myers- Briggs types to these case studies
  15. 15. Take-Home Message Assess yourself and your mentee accurately Adopt a learning stance to understand yourself and your mentee Discuss with your mentee how to strategically apply your assessments to move towards a mutually beneficial relationship. 15 Apply your assessments strategically See Summary Sheet for more.
  16. 16. Thanks for your attention! Any questions? 16 ? ? ?
  17. 17. 1 Entering Mentoring: Training the next generation #1: Communicating Effectively Steve Lee, PhD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines UC Davis stnlee@ucdavis.edu Caltech Postdoctoral Association May 30, 2014 Core Principles in Mentoring Relationships 1. Maintaining Effective Communication: Good communication is a key element of any relationship and a mentoring relationship is no exception. It is critical that mentors and mentees seek to understand their own and the other’s communication styles, and take time to practice communication skills. 2. Aligning Expectations: Another key element of effective mentor-mentee relationships is a shared understanding of what each person expects from the relationship. Problems and disappointment between mentors and mentees often arise from misunderstandings about expectations. Importantly, expectations change over time, so reflection, clear communication and realignment of expectations are needed on a regular basis. 3. Assessing Understanding: Determining what you understand as well as if someone truly understands you is not easy, yet is critical to a productive mentor-mentee relationship. Developing strategies to self-assess and assess others’ understanding is an important part of being an effective mentor and mentee. 4. Addressing Equity and Inclusion: Diversity, along a range of dimensions, offers both challenges and opportunities to any relationship. Learning to identify, reflect upon, learn from, and engage with diverse perspectives is critical to forming and maintaining an effective mentoring relationship. 5. Fostering Independence: An important goal in any mentoring relationship is helping the mentee become independent; yet defining what an independent mentee knows and can do is not often articulated by either the mentor or the mentee. Identifying milestones toward independence and setting goals are key strategies to fostering independence in a mentoring relationship. 6. Promoting Professional Development: The ultimate goal of most mentoring situations is to enable the mentee to identify and achieve some academic and professional outcomes after the training period. It is the responsibility of both the mentor and mentee to identify and articulate these goals and to strive towards them together. 7. Ethics: Mentors and mentees must engage in and model ethical behavior, while openly discussing issues dealing with grey areas. Moreover, it can be important to acknowledge when a mentoring relationship includes an unequal power dynamic and any additional ethical considerations it raises.
  18. 18. 2 Group Discussion Please think back and reflect on your time as you began conducting research, and discuss these two questions within your groups. 1. When you began conducting research, what was a particular challenge that you faced? The challenge could be from academic coursework, a technical skill in the lab, a working relationship, or anything related to your first research experience. 2. As you began conducting research, how did a particular mentor help you address a difficulty? Feel free to consider a broad range of mentors, from your research professor or PI, an informal mentor, a peer, or anyone who helped you significantly as you began conducting research. (These two questions do not need to deal with the same challenge, but they may.) The purpose of this exercise is to help us remember and reflect about your first experiences in research, and how mentors can impact (positively or negatively) our experiences. This exercise should also help place ourselves in the shoes of a typical undergraduate student who is learning how to navigate their summer research experience, and how a research mentor can help, or hinder, their progress. Group Discussion: Case Studies 1. (from Entering Mentoring, p 32) An experienced undergraduate researcher was constantly seeking input from the mentor on minor details regarding his project. Though he had regular meetings scheduled with the mentor, he would bombard her with several e-mails daily or seek her out anytime she was around, even if it meant interrupting her work or a meeting that was in progress. It was often the case that he was revisiting topics that had already been discussed. This was becoming increasingly frustrating for the mentor, since she knew the student was capable of independent work (having demonstrated this during times she was less available). The mentor vented her frustration to at least one other lab member and wondered what to do. • What might you do if you were the mentor in this situation? • What do you think may be occurring from the undergraduate students’ perspective? What might explain his behavior? 2. (from Entering Mentoring, p 22) I mentored an undergraduate student who came from another university for the summer. I explained the project to him and taught him how to make media and grow bacteria. Because my professor and I did not think he had sufficient genetics background for a molecular project, we gave him a microbiology project. He was very quiet for the first ten days of the project and then he went to my adviser and complained about the project. He said he wanted a project “like Mark’s.” Mark was a student with a strong genetics background and his project was to clone and sequence a gene. My adviser insisted that my mentee keep the project I had designed for him, but the student became sulky. As the summer went on and he didn’t get any of his experiments to work, I began to wonder if he understood what we were doing or even cared about it. • How would you respond to this situation? • What might you do to avoid this type of scenario?
  19. 19. 3 3. (from Entering Mentoring, p 33) A postdoc mentor was frustrated because her student was not running successful experiments. While the undergraduate had great enthusiasm for the project, each experiment failed because of some sloppy error—forgetting to pH the gel buffer, forgetting to add a reagent to a reaction, or forgetting to turn down the voltage on a gel box. After a month of discussions, and careful attempts to teach the student habits that would compensate for his forgetfulness, the postdoc was ready to give up. She spoke with her adviser and asked for advice, hoping that she could fix the problem and start getting useful data from her undergraduate. The adviser offered to work with the undergraduate mentee. When the undergraduate walked into his office, the faculty member said, “I hear you’re a slob in the lab. You gotta clean up your act if we’re going to get any data out of you.” Seeing the crushed and humiliated look on the undergraduate’s face, he quickly added, “I’m a slob too—that’s why I’m in here pushing papers around and not in the lab doing the hard stuff like you guys!” • What might you do if you were the postdoc mentor in this situation? • How might you provide effective feedback for the undergrad student, so that he improves? 4. (from Entering Mentoring, p 69) “The biggest challenge I’ve encountered so far as a mentor was learning to work closely with someone whose personality and mannerisms are very different from my own. In my first interview with her, my student described herself as very laid-back and mentioned that she frustrates her parents with her “everything will take care of itself” attitude. This is a stark contrast to my personality and I find myself at times frustrated with her different work ethic.” • Do you resonate with this type of statement? Why or why not? • Have you encountered people with this type of perspective? 5. (from Entering Mentoring, p 57) “I had an undergraduate student in my lab who didn’t seem very bright and I doubted that he would make it as a scientist. I encouraged him to move on. The next time I saw him, he was receiving an award for outstanding undergraduate research that he did in another lab. I was surprised. The next time I encountered him was when I opened a top-notch journal and saw a paper with him as first author. I was impressed. Next I heard, he had received his PhD and was considered to be a hot prospect on the job market. A couple of years later, I had a graduate student who was incredible bright and a wonderful person, but wasn’t getting anything done. I had tried all of my mentoring tricks, and then borrowed some methods from others. In a fit of frustration, I encouraged the student to take a break from the lab and think about what to do next. While she was taking her break, she received an offer to complete her PhD in another lab. She did, published a number of highly regarded papers, landed a great postdoc, and is now a well-funded faculty member at a major research university. These experiences have made me realize the power of the “match.” The student, the lab, and the advisor have to be well matched, and all fit has to come together at the right time in the student’s life. I can’t be a good advisor to all students, and where I fail, someone else may succeed. It reminds me to be humble about mentoring, not to judge students, and never predict what they can’t do. Happily, they will surprise you!” • Do you resonate with this type of statement? Why or why not?
  20. 20. 4 Summary of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) How do you prefer to: relate to people? Extroverts gain energy from others. Introverts gain energy from within themselves. gather information? Sensors gather info from their physical senses. Intuitors gather info from abstract ideas. make decisions? Thinkers decide based upon logic. Feelers decide based upon people and values. relate to the outside world? Judgers see structure. Perceivers see possibilities. WHAT THE TYPES CAN OFFER EACH OTHER Extraverts • Provide the outwardly directed energy needed to move into action • Offer responsiveness to what is going on in the environment • Have a natural inclination to converse and to network Introverts • Provide the inwardly directed energy needed for focused reflection • Offer stability from attending to enduring ideas • Have a natural tendency to think and work alone Sensing Types • Have a mastery of the facts and attention to details • Bring a knowledge of what materials and resources are available • Appreciate knowing and doing what works Intuitive Types • Know by way of insight and attention to meanings • Bring a grasp of what is possible and what the trends are • Appreciate doing what hasn’t been tried before Thinking Types • Take a hard look at the pros and cons of situations, even when they have a personal stake • Able to analyze and solve problems with logic and reason • Want to discover the “truth” and they naturally notice logical inconsistencies Feeling Types • Know what is important to and for people, and adhere to that in the face of opposition • Have an ability to build relationships and to be persuasive • Want to uncover the greatest “good” in a situation and they notice when people may be harmed Judging Types • Can organize, plan, and follow through on projects • Push to get things settled and decided • Appreciate well-oiled efficiency at work Perceiving Types • Can respond quickly and flexibly to the needs of the moment; spontaneous • Strive to keep things open so new information may be gathered • Appreciate the need for spontaneity and exploration at work
  21. 21. 5 Well-developed type skills and positive perceptions Underdeveloped type skills and negative perceptions Extraversion Active approach Bring breadth Introversion Reflective approach Bring depth Extraversion Hyperactive Superficial Introversion Withdrawn & secretive Overly serious Sensing Practical Brings data Intuition Imaginative Brings perspective Sensing Slow & dull Narrow focus Intuition Careless Impractical & dreamy Thinking Analyze situations Bring consistency Feeling Affiliate people Bring harmony Thinking Cold & uncaring Overly competitive Feeling Easily hurt Overly sentimental Judging Decisive Bring a plan Perceiving Inquisitive Bring options Judging Overly opinionated Controlling Perceiving Indecisive Procrastinating
  22. 22. 1 Entering Mentoring: Training the next generation Summary Sheet Steve Lee, PhD Graduate Diversity Officer for the STEM Disciplines UC Davis stnlee@ucdavis.edu Caltech Postdoctoral Association May 30, 2014 Core Skills in Entering Mentoring Assess Apply 1. Communicating Effectively • Develop metacognitive skills to assess your own communication style and preferences, using for example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, StrengthsFinder, etc. • Suggest your mentee to take a self- assessment test and share results. o Discuss potential challenges, blind spots, etc • Identify similarities and challenges to communicating with your mentee. • Determine your main preferred mode of communication (face-to- face, phone, or email), and how you might communicate during emergencies. • Determine how often you will meet or check in with your mentee. • Request your mentee’s input, as you face communication difficulties. • Prepare for meetings by articulating specifically what you want to get out of the meeting. • Determine how you will follow up after meetings with your mentee (e.g. by email, Google docs, etc) 2. Aligning Goals and Expectations • Determine your own goals and expectations for: o the research project, and o the mentoring relationship. • Ask your mentee for his/her goals and expectations. • Ask your mentee about their past experiences in research and mentoring relationships. • Learn about SMART goals, and how to develop them with your mentee. • Share your own expectations with your mentee regarding: o the research project, and o the mentoring relationship. • Write down the shared goals and expectations and revisit them. • If possible, use a mentor-mentee contract to formalize these expectations. • Work with your mentee to develop SMART goals and to check their progress.
  23. 23. 2 Resources: ● Branchaw, Janet; Pfund, Christine; and Rediske, Raelyn. Entering Research: A Facilitator's Manual. New York, NY: W. H. Freeman and Company, 2010. ○ A valuable resource for undergrads beginning in research ● Handelsman, Jo; Pfund, Christine; Lauffer, Sarah; and Pribbenow, Christine. Entering Mentoring: A Seminar to Train a New Generation of Scientists. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005. ○ A source for many of the concepts and case studies for these workshops. ○ A free pdf of this is available online. ○ A new edition is coming out in summer 2014 ● Lee, Steve; McGee, Rick; Pfund, Christine; Branchaw, Janet. “Mentoring Up”: Learning to Manage Your Mentoring Relationships. Book chapter has been accepted for The Mentoring Continuum: From Graduate School Through Tenure, Wright, Glenn, ed. Syracuse University Press. ● Myers-Briggs Resources: ○ Success Types in Medical Education by John Pelley ─ http://www.ttuhsc.edu/SOM/success/ ○ Jennifer Rousseau Sedlock ─ www.jenniferspeaks.com ○ David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II (1998) ● Rath and Conchie, Strengths Based Leadership (2009) ○ contains the StrengthsFinder test, which is another good self-assessment tool ● The slides and handouts from this workshop are available in my account in Slideshare.net.