The main impact of mentoring in education is visualized in two main perspectives: that of the mentee and that of everyone who mentors. The first being able to be a student, teacher or professional looking for growth, and being able to be impacted by a feeling of knowing that there is someone who cares about your well-being, who listens to you and makes you feel valued, without seeking to obtain something in return.
To give an example of the aforementioned, in a family environment when advice is given, it could be difficult to separate the impartiality of the response from the responsibility that one has as a parent and the guidance could have a certain bias. While mentoring from third parties would allow a neutral perspective and enrich what could be commented from within the family.
A great benefit is also generated in the mentoring process: networking. Normally, the fact that the mentor is not a person who is part of your close social circle, but can be an entrepreneur, investor, teacher, engineer, lawyer, architect or any other profession, allows you to broaden your horizon and connect with resources that you did not know existed and that you now have at your disposal to open new doors and opportunities that might otherwise be difficult to obtain.
Another benefit is that of a constant accompaniment, with constant listening so that there is an inquiry by the mentor about the motivations of the mentee and in this way, they can provide better advice and recommendations. That is, having a person who supports you in being able to achieve objectives in a comprehensive way.
In the case of the mentor, a great benefit is knowing that you can transcend. Through the accompaniment, a feeling is sown that future generations are being directed to face obstacles and seek answers to their concerns to discover new things, with a broader vision. Knowing that your words have an echo in another person is something extremely valuable and vital.
Furthermore, the point at which the mentor perfects his mentoring process is not uniquely applicable to the mentee. It is a knowledge that he brings himself and towards the people around him, and that makes him a better person. Also adding for the mentor, the benefit of generating relationships that have an impact in order to obtain fresher solutions and have the facility to find talent at the same time that they feel part of something beyond the professional, something bigger than themselves.
A new digital approach
Today we live in a digital world, where there is no other way to do things. So it is essential that technological resources are used to the maximum without fear of taking that leap. Having an application allows you to take advantage of the asynchronicity of a mentoring program and the agendas involved. That is, you can do the entire mentoring process, share resources, communicate, schedule meetings at any time, from any place and device.
In addition to the fact that, in a traditional model, the mentoring processes are difficult to measure in terms of the progress that is being achieved. However, with the support of digital applications, it can help to identify if there is a need to follow up on commitments and thus pay for a better experience for both the mentor and the mentee.
Definitely, a digital tool is something without which we could no longer conceive a mentoring program today, as it serves to deposit information and provide the necessary follow-up to add value to the process.
What would you say to institutions that do not have a mentoring program?
Many times, there may be fears about the risks associated with mentoring, doubts about who should be involved, about the scope and what ideas will be shared, difficulties in defining the profile of the mentor and understanding what preparation each person requires, among other things … But you have to dare!
The reality is that mentoring is happening at all times. For example, when a student who has a teacher who inspires her, it is inevitable that she may approach seeking advice or support beyond academics, due to that feeling of admiration and identification between them. So it is important to take advantage of these situations that are already occurring and formalize it with prepared mentors and be a reference to others.
At Universidad Tecmilenio we started with these formal full-time mentoring programs since 2013 and we also have a network of more than 1,500 volunteer mentors who decide to be better every day and who have the opportunity to transcend in the life of their mentees.
I invite institutions to look for different theories and models of accompaniment and to take advantage of the communication that can occur between institutions around the world to bring good practices with the touch and personalization that each university or institution can give it. The idea is to be able to adapt in this way to the needs of their students, the challenges they seek to overcome, and the projects they want to achieve.