OUR CHICAGO SPORTS Blog

Mentoring Strategies in All Environments

Mentoring Strategies in All Environments

Something that I have always found interesting is the different ways I interact with others in different environments. When I am out to dinner with friends, I am often active and initiate conversation, but when in a meeting with a group at school or work, I usually am more reserved. As I thought through this phenomenon, I realised that the BAM-Sports mentors are presented with many different settings for which they do their work and they likewise may have different ‘modes’ they enter in different environments.

Over the past week or so, I have been researching different types of mentorship and mentorship strategies leaders use to be successful. Some may use one full time, while others are more apt to switch between them based on what ‘mode’ they are in. Effective mentors will use consistent strategies to engage youth but that consistency can depend on the environment they work in. One mentor may have a consistent style throughout the school day but another may act differently in the lunchroom or in the office than they do when leading sports.

I identified four archetypes to describe different ways our mentors lead and connect with their students in different situations: Some mentors prefer to act as role models and lead through example, while others are naturally more motivating and like to lead through verbal encouragement. Some mentors are challengers who push students to improve their standards and increase their capabilities. Other mentors are supporters who use empathy to connect to students and reach them on a personal level. Each of these four archetypes are both unique and connected to one another; it is possible to use one exclusively or mix and match in diverse situations.

As a journaling activity for the BAM-Sports mentors, I created a form intended to find out which archetype–role model, motivator, challenger, or supporter–each of the BAM-Sports mentors identifies with closest. I am confident that we will see a wide mix of responses reflecting the diversity in skills among our team members. This project gives the mentors a unique opportunity to reflect on their skills and to connect with fellow mentors who prefer similar or complimentary styles of mentoring.

I am looking forward to being able to provide the mentors with a new way of looking at their experience as a mentor and a coach and to help them grow and develop their mentoring style. Based on the information I receive from this journaling activity, I will be able to better find and create development resources for the mentors to aid in their growth as professionals and strengthen BAM-Sports as a program.

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