I am not a teacher but an awakener
By Clodagh Phelan
“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
There are many quotes about mentoring. And even more about teaching. I like this one from the poet Robert Frost because it seems to capture the essence of mentoring. To explain that the point of mentoring is to draw out, not to put in. In other words, to help the mentoree to discover the talents and qualities they already have within them. To help them make the very most of them.
So often when I talk to prospective mentors they say ‘Yes, I’d like to but I haven’t the knowledge or experience to mentor someone.’ Well, here’s something that may surprise you. You don’t need specialist knowledge and experience. Absolutely not. You don’t even have to have made that many speeches. For it’s not really about that. It’s about who you are.
We have all experienced a wealth of situations during our lives. We have met and overcome obstacles, been in difficult situations, been inspired by others, had ups and downs, known joy and sadness. All these have made us the unique individuals we are. With unique qualities and talents.
So even if you weren’t aware of it, you do have a wealth of experience. You have knowledge you can pass on to others. Like just about everyone else, the thought of speaking in public terrified you. And like just about everyone else, you may still be extremely nervous when you have to speak. Join the club! !!! And like just about everyone else, joining this club and facing your fears has given you insights and strategies for overcoming those fears. As well as much else.
Think about it. Think of what you have achieved. Think of how you cope with failure and disappointments. Think of what you have done to confront your fears. Do you still believe you haven’t anything to offer?