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The Importance of Mentorship

Question:

Discuss about the Constructing Theories in Communication Research.

Mentorship is a very important activity that can help in encouraging an inexperienced person (mentee) to develop the required skills. The skills can be related to a career, lifestyle, or behavior. In my mentorship initiatives, I took the necessary steps to mentor my cousin on to quit smoking. I chose to dwell on smoking because it has become an issue of concern to the mentee. For over 3 years, my cousin has been a heavy smoker. A smoking practice that began as a joke has escalated into a disaster because as it is today, the mentee smokes not less than 1 full packet of cigarettes daily.

I therefore chose to mentor him to refrain from smoking because it is dangerous for his health. Apart from causing him psychological and social distress, continued smoking can expose the mentee to a number of diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), lung cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. It is only through mentorship that the mentee would be sensitized on such dangers and be inspired to stop smoking.

The mentorship program was properly done in compliance with the ethical standards. For instance, it was a voluntary exercise carried out after seeking for the formal consent of the mentee. As a mentor, I knew that I would act as a coach, resource person, and a champion who would be relied upon by the mentee to guide, advise, communicate and enhance his development (Bylund, Peterson & Cameron, 2012). On the other hand, the mentee was to be responsible for aiding the mentorship process by collaborating with the mentor throughout the mentorship exercise.

My mentorship program ran smoothly because it was based on family relationships. Since I was dealing with a family member, I faced no challenges coordinating the activities. After planning for the program, we agreed that we would only use face-to-face meetings. Face-to-face was chosen because it was the most appropriate and effective strategy in delivering the mentorship. Therefore, we organized for 8 meetings that would be scheduled as follows:

Week

Date

Activity

Duration (Hours)

Venue

Week 1

1/3/2017

Introduction to dangers of smoking

2

Hilton Hotel

7/3/2017

How to stop smoking

2

Hilton Hotel

Week 2

10/3/2017

How to stop smoking

2

Hilton Hotel

14-3/2017

How to stop smoking

2

Hilton Hotel

Week 3

17/3/2017

How to stop smoking

2

Hilton Hotel

21/3/2017

How to stop smoking

2

Hilton Hotel

Week 4

24/3/2017

Recap

2

Hilton Hotel

28/3/2017

Evaluation

2

Hilton Hotel

In my capacity as a mentor, I know that the whole process can only be a success if based on smart goals. Smart is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. When stetting my goals, I had to encompass all these aspects because it would enable me to have an objective mentorship process.

My goals were smart because they were specific. I decided to have clearly specific goals such as assisting the mentee to quit smoking and adopt a smoking-free lifestyle because it would make him lead a healthier life than he currently does. Besides, the goals were measurable because the end result would be easier to evaluate based on the parameters of behavior change. In addition, the goals were achievable because they only entail a behavior change that can be obtained if appropriate guidance is provided. The goal of quitting smoking is realistic because it is an easier target that can be achieved if decision is made to do so. The mentor can also achieve it because other people have done it as well (Monaghan, Goodman & Robinson, 2012). Finally, the goals were time-bound since they were to be achieved within a specified time limit. The setting of smart goals was a good initiative because it enabled me to carry out a successful mentorship program.

Setting SMART Goals

Mentorship exercise involves two parties: the mentor and mentee. For it to be a success there should be a cordial relationship between the mentor and the mentee.  This is necessary because it can help in enhancing the mentorship process and making it acceptable because it has benefits to bring especially to the inexperienced mentee (Vl?du?escu, 2014). However, it does not always happen because, at times, the mentorship process is hindered by the relationship pitfalls that might arise.

During my mentorship, I took the necessary measures to ensure that I established a good relationship with the mentee. To do so, I had to use my skills to effectively communicate with the mentee. I critically listened to the mentee and gave him enough time to express his opinions, ask and respond to the questions without unnecessarily interrupting him. It was commendable because it enabled me to win the confidence of the mentee (Knapp, Vangelisti & Caughlin, 2014).  In case of any disagreement, I would swiftly use my negotiation and conflict-resolution skills to manage it before it becomes a crisis. Through this, I managed to do an excellent job of mentoring the mentee. 

One of the major roles of a mentor is to provide the mentee with a constructive feedback. Constructive feedback is necessary because it can instill confidence in the mentee. In a typical mentorship exercise, there are a number questions or issues that can be raised by a mentee. However, the mentor should be responsible for providing constructive feedback because it can enable the mentee to have faith in the mentor and the mentorship services offered. As a mentor, I had to equip the mentee with constructive feedback whenever it was necessary to do so (Cobley & Schulz, 2013). For example when I was asked why the mentee should refrain from smoking, I responded by telling the mentee that smoking is a dangerous thing that has no benefits at all. I let the mentee know that it will continue wasting the patient’s money and harm his health by exposing him to a number of illnesses like cancer, asthma, diabetes and many more. The provision of such feedback enabled e to appeal to the mentee and convince him.  

Communication is a very important asset that should be applied during mentorship. Effective communication can help in improving the quality of mentorship because it can be relied upon to create good relationship between the mentor and mentee. During my mentorship initiatives, I had to make a proper use of communication by using appropriate styles. I used a combination of verbal communication style. Here, I had to use my oratory skills to deliver my message to the mentee and adequately respond to his queries. At the same time, I had to be audible, use appropriate rate of articulation, and use a good simple language that could be easily understood by the mentee (Craig, 2013). I did not use any defamatory language or unnecessary jargons that would complicate the communication process. For example, when explaining the effects of smoking, I had to use simple terms to explain the diseases. The effective use of communication styles enabled me to create a healthy relationship with the mentee.

As an experienced mentor, I know that a mentor who does not listen does not mentor. To fulfill my mandate as a mentor, I had to critically listen to the mentee. I paid too much attention to the mentee to ensure that I understood whatever he had to tell me. For example, when explaining to me how he began smoking and how addicted he has become, I had to be so keen to ensure that I got what he had to tell me. This was commendable because it instilled hope into the mentee and gage him the inspiration to continue collaborating with me because I would offer him a real support (Arnold & Boggs, 2015).

During the mentorship process, I had to rely on verbal as well non-verbal communication. I used non-verbal hues like gestures, facial expression, body movement, and hand expression to punctuate the verbal communication strategies applied when talking to the mentee. The use of these hues enabled me to communicate better because it made the information to sink deeper into the mentee’s ears (Braithwaite & Schrodt, 2014). For example, when expressing my points, I had to maintain eye contact and periodically move my face to suit what was being communicated.

References

Arnold, E.C. & Boggs, K.U., (2015). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Braithwaite, D.O. & Schrodt, P. eds., (2014). Engaging theories in interpersonal communication: Multiple perspectives. Sage Publications.

Bylund, C.L., Peterson, E.B. & Cameron, K.A., (2012). A practitioner's guide to interpersonal communication theory: An overview and exploration of selected theories. Patient education and counseling, 87(3), pp.261-267.

Cobley, P. & Schulz, P.J. eds., (2013). Theories and models of communication (Vol. 1). Walter de Gruyter.

Craig, R.T. (2013). Constructing theories in communication research. Theories and models of communication, 1, pp.39-57.

Knapp, M.L., Vangelisti, A.L. & Caughlin, J.P., (2014). Interpersonal Communication & Human Relationships. Pearson Higher Ed.

Monaghan, L., Goodman, J.E. & Robinson, J.M., (2012). A cultural approach to interpersonal communication: Essential readings. John Wiley & Sons.

Vl?du?escu, ?., (2014). Uncertainty Communication Status. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, (21), pp.100-106.

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