Posts Tagged With: self reflection

Mentoring a young professional

About a year ago I was made aware by a friend of mine that a charity was looking for Mentors.

I had never been a Mentor before and was interested in learning more about what the charity was doing and how I could be of help. 2nd Chance (2ndchanceuk.org) is a charity that offers young people who haven´t had had the chance to study or succeed in life, and between the ages of 18 and 24 to get back up and start their career. The aim of the Mentoring was to help a young person succeed in the workplace but also keep their job. I was sold and couldn´t wait to start my journey.

I met with my mentee, a very interetsing young lady who was very different from me, at first I thought that it was a funny match as I am more of a reserved person, quiet, observing and my mentee was louder, extraverted and active. But I thought, ok if they have matched us it´s that there is a reason. So we met the first time within the premises of 2nd Chance and were provided; as Mentor; with a program, support sheet, to help us create a bond with our mentee.

After the offcial meet i scheduled another meet with my mentee, we went a bit back and forth with it, lack of time on her side, or maybe was it lack of interest? I didn´t know at the time 🙂 After a few back and forth we finally met and i decided to listen to what she had to say and just be there for her, what was she expecting from me, what did she need and what did she want to take out of the mentorship.

What came out was that she didn´t want a mentor, she didn´t want someone who would kind of control or make sure she does the right thing, actually she said she felt pushed to have a mentor. So I accepted her perspective and we started talking about her life, her and what her aspirations were and how she could achieve her goals.

After that session we met again and again and again, the moral of the story though is that she needed to be heard, she needed to get her private life sorted, have someone to hear her, give her advice, someone with positive outlooks, there for her when she needed and today I can say that I am extremely proud of what she has achieved. She has her life sorted, or at least what can be sorted out, she has a job since 6 months which she has kept and she is very inspiring !

She is very strong, and she has shown me resilience, shown me that if you want you can do it, she was flexible, she listened and most of all, she made it ! I hope she keeps being so positive and so good at what she does, she opened my eyes and taught me that when there is a will there is a way, and that even if you had a bad start in life, you can still make it when surrounded and supported by the right people !

I enjoyed the Mentoring so much that I signed up for another year and another mentee !

I would recommend this journey, if you are based in London, do check 2nd Chance out, you could make a difference and learn a lot about yourself but also learn from these young people.

I am very grateful to them.

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Categories: Intercultural relations, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is being culturally aware ?

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Being culturally aware is the capacity to switch from one way of seeing the world to another.

It is the capability to understand what is going on around us in a business or team meeting, understanding that differences are there and that the way I see the world may be different from the way my counterpart may see it.

To become culturally aware there are three steps which we reflect in our new training which will come out in 2013 (Cultural Consciousness). The three steps are as follows:

1. Knowing who you are and where you come from

Knowing who you are, including your personality type and where you come from, i.e. your cultural background, is the first step to pinpointing the way you see the world. Once you understand what is important to you in terms of values and beliefs and what your biases are, hence what triggers you and what makes you react in a way that may compromise a business deal or team work, enables you to see past your biases and values because you are consciously aware that these are the points that may affect your behaviour.

2. Being open to differences

Being conscious of who you are and where you come from now gives you the opportunity to reflect on differences. How do people see the world? What is their perception of time, how do they communicate, what would trigger them to refuse to do business with me ? Throughout your business and personal life you will come across people from different walks of life that will see the world differently and the best thing to do when meeting these people is taking notes about what is different about them: what makes them tick, what are their preferences, what are their values and beliefs, how do they make business? This second step is very important as it will emphasize your ability to analyse what is happening around you and embrace differences.

3. Learn from those who are different

As mentioned in point 2, taking notes of differences that you come across can be a valuable exercise especially since it will give you the power to switch from one way of thinking/ seeing the world to another. You will feel more at ease in different situations and your stress and anxiety levels will drop significantly giving you the opportunity to work across cultures and communicate well with people from different cultures.

These three points are the important points we focus on in our training as being aware of who you are, others are different from you and embracing differences will be a long-term investment (training wise but also personally) as it will take you on a journey of self-reflection and self discovery.

Do feel free to contact us if you would like to find out more on our Cultural Consciousness training which will start beginning of 2013.

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Categories: Intercultural relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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