CPD23 Thing 11: Mentoring

I’ve never been mentored – either formally or informally – and although I can see the potential benefits of this type of relationship, I don’t think that I’m at the stage yet in my career where I require a mentor. This isn’t to say that I don’t seek the advice of others and find it beneficial (because I do), but I’m generally quite an independent learner and I feel that there is still a lot that I am capable of learning under my own steam at the moment, without the need for guidance from a mentor.

Another reason that I’m not rushing into a mentoring relationship is that I currently have no idea who I would ask to be my mentor! There have been plenty of people whom I have respected and admired in the past, most of them lecturers from when I was at University. However, I have the problem that I usually feel quite intimidated by the people whom I admire, and I’m not sure that feeling intimidated by your mentor is the best way to begin a productive relationship.

Teacher and student

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

In view of this, I think that my ideal future mentor would probably be someone who was quite laid-back, approachable and self-deprecating. At University I did have one lecturer who was like this; his level of knowledge and expertise was awe-inspiring, but he was also very down-to-earth and kind, and he inspired me to want to work really hard. I think that, for me, a good mentor is probably quite similar to a good teacher – someone who offers gentle guidance but encourages you to explore and develop your own ideas. I’m not certain how this would work within the context of a mentoring relationship between librarians; perhaps this kind of mentor might be most appropriate for when I am building my Chartership portfolio or, of course, writing my MA Dissertation. It’s always useful to have someone to bounce ideas off when producing a lengthy written project, and this is definitely one instance where I would be likely to seek the advice of a mentor. However, in terms of figuring out how I want my career to progress over the next couple of years, I think that I’m happy to muddle along by myself for the time being. When I’m eventually ready to be mentored, I’m sure that the most appropriate mentor will present themselves to me…

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