Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Mentoring Process

Following on from Danielle's comment on my previous post I'm going to say a bit about the Mentoring Process which is compulsory for all chartership candidates. 

My mentor was not someone who I saw as the only person I should take advice from. During the whole of the evidence collection period (as I do in normal working life) I sought advice from a whole range of people regarding my work and development.

Part of the regulations for finding a mentor state that your line manager cannot mentor you through Chartership, but this certainly does not mean that your line manager is not involved in your development during the time you charter!

My mentor did all kinds of things to support the process. She did, of course, discuss my professional development, but she was also there to help advise about the documentation surrounding the Chartership process. (Anyone who has tried to make sense of the "Framework Schema Diagram" on page 6 of the Handbook will know that some level of guidance is useful before you even begin! CILIP Quals do not seem to be great at simplifying their ideas.)

She helped me to set deadlines for myself to keep up with the amount of work I had set in my PPDP. (I decided early on that I was not going to let my Chartership run on for years and years, I just wanted to do the 2 years required as an "extraordinary candidate" and submit - job done.)

She helped me to identify which bits of evidence to include in the final portfolio and what I could safely abandon. 

There were many other things she did to support the process, a Chartership mentor does a lot more than offer advice, and it is still vitally important that you pick and choose advice from other sources. (You can even pick and choose your mentor - mine was someone I knew already and knew I could trust). 

CILIP do make it compulsory that Chartership candidates go through a mentoring process, but they also allow you to change your mentor if you encounter problems (such as geographical issues making it difficult to meet, or even personality clashes). I think the mentoring process was extremely valuable, but I did have a superb and easily contactable (working in the same organisation as me) mentor. I can imagine that not everyone has such a good experience, and a bad experience could easily put people off the system. 

Whether or not a Mentor should be compulsory for Chartering I'm not sure, but I do think there should be someone to watch your progress, as with any major course of study or development. 

Does anyone have any particularly good or bad experiences of the Mentoring process they would like to share? 

Do you think mentors should be a compulsory element of Chartering? 


The Lonely Librarian said...

I don't have any experiences yet but, still being at the very beginning of the whole process, I find it very helpful and reassuring (especially as an overseas member) to 'officially' have someone I can turn to with my questions and who knows what's expected and how to do it.

Katharine said...

Thanks for this - the relationship I had with my mentor was certainly very reassuring and was able to act as a contact between myself and other supportive people as well. She advised me on who I could contact about certain things (everything from getting official advice from CILIP about the process, to where I could go to arrange visits to other organisations).

Where abouts are you based?

The Lonely Librarian said...

I'm from Zürich, Switzerland, so contact with my mentor will be mainly, if not only, by e-mail. But I hope to have at least one face-to-face meeting next time I'm in London.

Katharine said...

Do you mind if I ask why you chose to charter through CILIP? Is there an alternative Swiss qualification?

The Lonely Librarian said...

There isn't anything like chartership here in Switzerland, and Cilip chartership isn't probably even recognised here. So I'm doing it out of personal interest. It seems to me a good way to evaluate what I've done so far, what's missing, to see what I've achieved and to get a clearer picture of where I want to go and how to achieve that. Having had a look at some of the books and documentation so far, it also seems that one can learn some useful tools, such as reflective practice for ex., which can be of use beyond the chartership process. So all in all, it seem's worth a try.

Katharine said...

I agree entirely - There is a lot that can be learned during Chartership which can be transferred.

My own portfolio looked at reflection, professional communication and supervisory skills, for example, things which would be useful in any job, library-related or not.

Its interesting that you see the value of the process even though the qualification may not be recognised in your home country - would you be interested in writing something about that if I can find an appropriate place for you to get it published?

The Lonely Librarian said...

Yes, sure, I'd be happy to write something about that if that would be of interest to anyone.

Katharine said...

Hi Lonely - I'm sure it would be of interest to people, and it would also be a great way to highlight the value of chartership past gaining the actual qualification itself.

I am on the CILIP West Midlands Branch committee and we have an International Officer (Mike Freeman) who says you could submit your article to their newsletter if you want to.

If you want to email me your contact details to katharine.widdows@gmail.com I will put you in touch with him.