15 goal-getting results from mentoring partnerships

15 goal-getting results from mentoring partnerships

How do you feel when you achieve a goal? I feel like celebrating somehow, especially when I have had to stretch myself and move well out of my comfort zone. If we can remember how we became goal getters, we have a story to share with our mentees, many of whom will need plenty of support to wish to embark on a goal getting program. 2018 has arrived and, early in January, I sit down and, over a few days, set my goals for the year. I break these down into monthly goals and am able to stay focused on leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I have done this for many years and, even though I am now retired, I still set goals around family, my faith walk, personal development, health, exercise and wellbeing and my interests. More ands more Neuroscience research that I am reading is pointing to the importance of setting goals as an important aspect of adolescent brain development. This all reminded me of some examples of goals achieved by adolescent mentees during a mentoring relationship in programs I have been linked with. These examples might encourage volunteer adult mentors and help them to appreciate that there is such a variety of goals one can encourage in a mentoring relationship, some fairly straightforward. 1. A mentee’s grades in one academic subject improved from 28% to 50%. 2. A mentee worked on lifting weights at a gym, which the mentor used to teach goal setting. They had a great relationship. 3. A mentee obtained a part-time job with the help of a mentor. 4. A mentee...
Why teenagers need sleep!

Why teenagers need sleep!

Do you have a teenage child? Are you mentoring a teenager? How many hours sleep does that young person have EVERY night? Rule of thumb is that adolescents require 9 hours sleep every night during these critical years of growth and while the brain is developing.I remain continually puzzled that so many teenagers and their parents seem reluctant to ensure that these young people have a minimum of 9 hours sleep every night. More and more research points to the necessity of this, as puberty is kicking in and the brain is at an important stage of its developmental journey. The brain needs sleep to dispose of unimportant information, lay down new learning and to process new information. It needs sleep to regulate emotions. Basically, the brain needs sleep to grow, change and re-energise so it can function properly during the following day. Indeed, scientists have learnt that what our brain learns during the day is CONSOLIDATED during sleep. Author and brain researcher, Nicola Morgan, says there is more and more evidence now suggesting that our sleeping brains practise the things we do while we are awake. She describes how REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep), during which time our eyelids are flattering, happens at certain stages during the sleep cycle, particularly when we are experiencing deep sleep and dreaming. Research is now suggesting that REM sleep is particularly important for memory and learning. During adolescence changes to the brain do affect the biological clock, a cluster of neurons that sends signals throughout the body and control fundamentally all of the internal operations, one of which is sleep.  MELATONIN, the...
The power of investing time with young people

The power of investing time with young people

How do we motivate and inspire the millions of young people who are drifting aimlessly to become the best they can be? How do we move alongside young people trying to find their way through the confusing adolescent years? How do we galvanize communities to develop a global youth mentoring crusade?These are some of the questions I am regularly asking myself, though I have no clear answers, other than knowing that something has to happen to create a global movement that sees the skills, knowledge and life experience of millions of potential volunteer adult mentors being shared with young people often desperate to have a significant adult in their lives to guide them, be a non-judgmental Cheerleader and encourager. Reflecting on mentoring programs I have been involved with, I recall conversations with mentors who had expressed disappointment that their mentees might not have completed a relatively easy task they agreed to see completed when they last met. During the training of volunteer adolescent mentors, which I link to my user-friendly book, The Spirit of Mentoring – A manual for adult volunteers,  which has hundreds of tips for mentors to consider during the mentoring journey, I suggest to mentors that they have no expectations of their mentees when they begin the mentoring journey. Then they will not be disappointed. Most young people entering a mentoring program are lacking self-confidence and genuinely believe they can’t achieve much with their lives. This might be because of the messages they might be receiving from parents, peers and teachers. Perhaps it is because they might have a sibling who appears to do well at school,...
How will Artificial Intelligence impact young lives?

How will Artificial Intelligence impact young lives?

How do you think Artificial Intelligence will impact your life? How do you think Artificial Intelligence will impact your relationships? These are interesting questions to discuss with an adolescent mentee, especially at a time when we are continually being told that the digital age will see many current jobs becoming obsolete during the next few years. A significant contribution a volunteer adult mentor can make to the life of an adolescent mentee is to build a web of protective factors or characteristics around the young person that will reduce the negative impact of stressful situations and problems, thus fostering resiliency.Some ways a mentor can do this would include the following six strategies which, when combined, are likely to see the development of positive self-concepts, connection to school, improved academic results, respect for authority and a more resilient young person. I can vouch for this from my mentoring, teaching and coaching experiences. Provide unconditional caring, support and encouragement. Let mentees hear the message “You matter!” Catch them being good and acknowledge their efforts. Increase bonding. Strengthen the connections between mentees and pos­itive adults and peers; and between mentees and any positive social activity (eg, sports, art, music, writing, dance, community service, reading or learn­ing). Mentees with strong, positive bonds are less likely to be involved in high risk behaviours than those without such bonds. Set clear, consistent boundaries. Mentees need clear and consistent rules or boundaries (eg, family rules and norms, school policies and procedures, communi­ty laws and norms) within which they are encouraged to become the best they can be. These must be clearly spelt out and consistent­ly enforced....
Hot Tips for effectively guiding young people

Hot Tips for effectively guiding young people

We have to continually remind ourselves that researchers suggest that young people want to feel cared for (loved) valued that their lives have meaning and purpose 7 ways to understand and encourage Today’s adolescents Most of today’s children learn best by doing things, reflecting on the experience and learning lessons from the activity which they can then apply to their daily lives. As adults we can help them make sense of what appears to them at times to be much confusion. Children value and appreciate recognition for their efforts eg, a special meal, a positive text message, a congratulatory card, something special in their lunch packs, a surprise of some sort which does not have to cost a great deal of money – preferably none at all! Children enjoy hearing true stories which they can relate to, which might motivate them, inspire them, reassure them etc. Children value learning from older people they respect who are genuine and who walk the talk. Such people create an emotionally safe environment in which they also feel secure. Children enjoy diversity and change – how can we, as mentors, parents and coaches, encourage them at such times? Children value consensus and collaboration, two key words in their world. Children value clear and concise communication. 10 Hot Tips for Effective Mentoring, Parenting and Coaching adolescents Listen! Listen! Listen! Love unconditionally and never quit. Apologise sincerely when in the wrong and never publicly humiliate them. Walk alongside them as they explore career options, always encouraging them to go after their dreams. Empathise and affirm. Negotiate boundaries and be consistent. Catch them doing good and...
The impact of family on an adolescent

The impact of family on an adolescent

What hope do I have in all reality working with Jason (not his real name) when he comes from such a dysfunctional family? I know I cannot be a saviour nor a rescuer. I have found over the years that working with adolescent mentees is considerably more challenging when the family is not functioning well. I have seen what I call ‘drone parents’ getting in the way, protecting their children because they have their own agendas for their children, thus contributing to the emergence of a ‘powderpuff’ generation of young people who will struggle in an increasingly entrepreneurial, innovative world where one might have to risk failure to achieve dreams. I have seen parents with their own mental health issues becoming a mixture of drone or helicopter parents. They hover and interfere and much depends on their own mood swings with regard to how they react to situations involving their children. Wearing my education and mentoring hats, as well as reflecting on years of experience working with young people, I can see the potential damage the parent’s suffocating love will cause, but I have to pull back, as I am unable to save a child or rescue a family. So, all I do is try and sow lots of positive seeds of HOPE, trusting that one day the young person will remember the discussions, find another mentor and start actioning some of their own ideas without fearing failure or perfection. Often I have seen how absent or inadequate or incompetent parenting has resulted in the mentee’s antisocial behaviour escalating and brain research tells us that this can ultimately lead...