A workshop on building and maintaining a mentoring network in academia

Last week I gave a workshop on “taking ownership of your own mentoring” at Kiel University again (link to the pptx slides in case you want to give a similar workshop yourself). This is one of my favourite topics to talk about (especially in combination with how to use social media for that purpose; and I love getting the participants’ feedback that they realized during the workshop that they already have a much larger network than they were aware of, and that they are excited to work with it more purposefully in the future) and since I redid my slides for the purpose, here is the workshop in a nutshell.

What I always find super important to point out:

  1. Good mentoring is not a magical unicorn. It is possible (and not terribly difficult) to find it! But make sure that you don’t overtax one person with all your mentoring demands, it makes much more sense to build a network of many different peoples so there are built-in redundancies ;-)
  2. Mentoring has many different facets. It helps to be aware of what they are in general as well as what aspects are most relevant to you right now. But also considering the aspects that aren’t relevant right now but still building a network for to help in those areas is probably a good idea.
  3. Mentoring can be found almost anywhere and at any time. In my workshop, you learn where & how to do it!
  4. SUPER IMPORTANT: Mentoring is not a one-way street. Of course you cannot always mentor everybody back the same way they mentor you, and in many cases it’s probably not even appropriate to try. BUT: That’s where the network idea comes in. Pay it forward, or help someone else out. You can be as much of a mentor to many people as others are to you. And you should be aware of that and try to fill the mentor-role, too!

And this is “The Mentoring Map” that we suggest: For all the different aspects of mentoring, you should try and put at least three-ish names of people or organizations (for details on the individual mentoring facets, check out the chapter we published on it)

And here are a couple of ideas where you can find people for all those different facets:

As if meeting people wasn’t difficult enough, now, in covid-19 times, it has become even more difficult. So that’s why the next three sessions of the workshop will look at how mentoring can be found via social media. Looking forward to working more with that group of young scientists, some of which have already connected with me on social media. See, it is working! :-)

P.S.: If you are intersted in this workshop, please feel free to contact me. It works great virtually :-) Here is a link to the pptx slides in case you want to give a similar workshop yourself. Please feel free to use, share, modify! Any questions, suggestions, comments, please let me know!

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