Mentoring – Part 2: What mentors need to know

Mentors need training to better understand their role and to build related skills. Learn more about training resources that are currently available.

How do I talk to this kid? What did I sign up for? New mentors have many questions about the role they accepted. To answer these questions, mentors need training to build skills that will ultimately lead to a healthy mentoring relationships and positive outcomes for the young person. Most programs offer training and there are a variety of other resources for mentors if training is not available or doesn’t meet their needs.

Pre-service training is training that happens before the mentor meets the mentee. This training usually includes orientation to the program and activities to build key mentoring skills. Michigan State University Extension recommends that mentors receive training in building the mentoring relationship, setting boundaries, communication, youth development and cultural competency. The newly released Ready to Go: Mentor Training Tool Kit provides 56 activities that mentoring programs can use in training to build these skills. This curriculum was created by Michigan 4-H Youth Development. The curriculum is designed to be used by programs looking to train groups of mentors. The National Mentoring Center offers an online training for mentors focused on communication skills called Talking it Through. Mentoring Central also has an online course for mentors called Building the Foundation.

Ongoing training is training that occurs throughout the duration of the match. This can happen in traditional workshop environments, but there are many other options for gaining knowledge and building skills. MENTOR provides many useful resources for mentors and you don’t even have to leave your home to learn. Mentoring program staff can also provide support and should be consulted as training needs arise.

For more mentoring tips, see the “mentoring” section of the MSU Extension website and part one of this series: “Mentoring – Part 1: Building a strong mentoring relationship.”

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