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Mentoring - Motivation, Momentum & Teamwork
by Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."
Benjamin Franklin

>How to mentor
>Benefits of being a mentor
>Benefits of being a mentee


Mentor: An experienced person who helps someone who has less experience, especially in their job to fully function, navigate, and become independent.

Enabler: An experienced person who makes it possible for someone who has less experience to remain dependent and who performs work that the learner could do for himself.

"Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon."
E.M. Foster, English novelist



Set a deadline
Plan steps involved
Anticipate obstacles
Make a commitment

Start immediately
Review goals periodically
Use imagination

"The best teacher is not one who knows the most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful."
H.L. Mencken, American Journalist


Bobsledding is a fast paced sport that relies on a precise combination of skill and physics. The driver and brakeman have to get the bob moving from a complete stop, to run as fast as they can and then jump inside the bob before the first curve. They also have to withstand extreme gravitational forces during the race. That sounds like our business!

The push off takes about six seconds. A good start is crucial. A lead of a 1/10 of a second at this point can result in a lead of 3/10 of a second by the end of the race. After pushing off, the bobsledders jump from the track into the bob and crouch in an aerodynamic position. Usually, the driver gets in first, and the brakeman gets in last. The driver and crewmen fold their handlebars down. Using very precise movements, the driver steers the bob down the run. Crewmen shift their weight in the turns.

A team that combines a good push off with a bob that is very close to the maximum allowed weight has an advantage for the rest of the race. A team with a fast bobsled has to do several things to win a race with it. The team must have a good push off -- this contributes to both speed and momentum. The team has about 54 yards to move the sled from a complete stop to a speed of around 24.8 miles per hour.


A good push-off
Precise steering and movements
Work as a team


An Effective Mentor Should:

Define expectations
Be committed
Set goals and time limits at the beginning
Conduct respectful communication by email and telephone
Show patience, respect, and dignity to your mentee
Be a role model but do not hover
See the mentee as a person, not just a worker bee
Honor confidentiality
Care about the relationship and offer generous encouragement

A Responsible Mentee Should:

Define expectations
Be committed
Put ego aside
Learn from mistakes
Respect your mentor's time and schedule
Honor confidentiality
Care about the relationship
Do not expect your mentor to do your research for you
Be open to ideas, suggestions, and hard truths
Be appreciative of your mentor's efforts, advice, and contacts
Match and exceed the effort put in by your mentor


How can a person find a mentor?
What is expected of a mentee?
If I do mentor someone, won't they compete with me?
My time and energy are precious to me. Why mentor?
As a mentor, how does empowering differ from enabling?
Why are standards necessary for mentoring?


Giving back to your field of endeavor
Teaching another human
Assuring that our vocation will produce experienced and skilled workers
Personal satisfaction


Learning from an experienced person
A great mentor can teach you how to fill knowledge and skill gaps
Pay it forward and mentor others
The cycle continues

Gail Malm Armstrong is an AAERT certified Digital Court Reporter and Transcriber. She currently serves as the AAERT newsletter Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the Social Media Subcommittee.



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