The CILIP Mentoring Award 3 by Gil Young
February 8, 2013 1 Comment
The following is the third in a short series of four articles about the CILIP mentoring scheme and the newly introduced Mentoring Award. In this article Gil Young, reflects on what winning the award meant to her and her experience of being a mentor.
“I first heard about the CILIP mentoring scheme when the qualifications framework was reviewed in, I think, 2005 and thought “I would like to do that, it sounds fun as I’ll get to meet lots of other library information professionals.” Since receiving my training I have been lucky enough to mentor a number of people and my first impression was correct, it is a fun thing to do. It is also interesting, incredibly worthwhile for my own personal development and very humbling meeting all the amazing professionals I have been lucky enough to mentor.
Being a CILIP mentor is not about telling the mentee what to do, it is about building a respectful relationship between 2 professionals. You have to be absolutely honest with your mentee but in a way which respects and acknowledges their professional experience. I have always taken the view that I can suggest things but if the mentee chooses not to take that advice, that is their choice and is just as valid as if they had taken it. The best mentoring experiences are those built on mutual respect where both parties are equally committed to the relationship.
The key to building this relationship is the mentor agreement. You need to be absolutely clear at the start of the process as to what you both are aiming to get out of it and what you expectations are. It is also important that you like each other, not usually a problem with library information professionals, but if that liking is not there then the relationship will not work. If this does happen to you, and I’ve been lucky so far, it is better to walk away at the start rather than try and make something work. Ultimately the relationship is about supporting the mentee on their Chartership journey as it is them working towards and paying for the qualification.
The hardest thing I have found about being a mentor is when one of your mentees is not successful with their application. This is disappointing for both mentor and mentee but does not mean that that the relationship has failed or that either of you has done something “wrong”. If this happens to you it is important to talk through what has happened with your mentee and agree a way forward. This might mean that you need to re-asses your mentoring relationship and maybe even end it. Whatever happens this needs to be done in a way that is supportive to the mentee and leaves them feeling in control of the situation.
I heard I had won the award when Michael Martin called me at work. I was thrilled but rather overwhelmed as well. The person who had nominated me, Bethan Ruddock, was an absolute pleasure to mentor and I genuinely feel that I learnt a lot from her. It was an example of the mentoring relationship at it best with us both getting lots out of it.
If you are thinking of becoming a mentor I can’t recommend it enough. You can find our more about the Cilip scheme on the mentoring pages of the Cilip website and further information on mentoring in general on the PTEG section of the site.”
CPD & Partenerships Manager, North West Health Care Libraries Unit