(Guest Blog post by Judy Alice King’ori, 2016 Mentor)
Akirachix held a mentorship pairing exercise, dubbed “speed mentoring” on 9th April, 2015.
This involved quick 5 minute chats between all potential mentors and akirachix students, with scoring by each participant to help pair potential mentors with mentees.
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Most people lack mentors in their personal and career lives, hence are unable to reach their ultimate potentials. Akirachix students are privileged to have a chance of what Ehi Obinyan describes as the mentorship advantage.
Why did we need the speed mentoring session?
What is this that will make a perfect match between a mentor and their mentee? Several key points are crucial to note from this mentorship exercise:
Mentorship is value based
Several girls asked me this tough question. What did I have to offer them? “If you become my mentor, what value will you add in my life?” This is very most crucial aspect of mentorship.. A mentorship relationship isn’t any other relationship. It is not the usual casual relationship where you meet up, have coffee, popcorns and call it a moment in life. It has to be more than that. It has to improve the person, and even if possible, both parties should draw from the experience. Goals need to be set, milestones have to be evaluated and rewards have to be seen.
Friendship and mentoring
90% of the girls during this exercise displayed their deep need of this. “I am looking for a mentor who will also be my friend. Someone I can talk to about the intimate intricacies of my life.” Mentorship isn’t a robotic relationship, one might as well Google the advice they need. As a mentor, you have to allow yourself a bit of vulnerability when you are interacting with your mentee. Listen to their other issues besides academics. Allow the mentee to see you beyond the surface, beyond your title or accomplishments.
Too old or too young to mentor me
Well, this quite very speculative. Most mentees feel that they won’t gain much from someone who is younger than them. They feel that their mentor has to be older than them, and if not, at the same age. This is quite true because age goes with experience. However, hoping I don’t sound cliché; age is just a number. There are exceptions, someone who is much younger than their mentee can actually propel them to unknown heights, especially in the technology sector. Here is a great example of Lucy and Imogen Tate.
Mentorship and expertise.
Traditionally, you seek a mentor who is where you want to reach. Most girls desired to have someone who is an expert or experienced in their field of study, technology. However, as much as this is important and works very well in most situations, your mentor need not even be in the same career path as you. What matters most is whether they understand your dreams, evaluate your opinions together with you and support you until you get where you want to be or even further.
I look forward to the journey ahead with these students, and sharing more on my experiences through this program