By: Allyson Horne
As mentors, we have been excited to learn more about growth mindset and utilize the toolkit from MENTOR. Personally, I was thrilled to learn about the research of Dr. Carol Dweck, as a positive reminder that mistakes are not failures, but actually opportunities to learn. I have made plenty of mistakes – learning opportunities in my life, and realize the positive impact in utilizing this framework.
When we learn a new card game or practice a craft with our mentee, we demonstrate growth mindset by showing that even adults can learn something new. When we try new ideas like changing our meeting location at school or time that we meet, we remind our mentees that challenges can be opportunities to learn. When we share we are not perfect, we encourage patience and understanding as we all continue to learn throughout life, regardless of our age and experience.
My former mentee was really helpful in building my growth mindset. She is an incredible athlete and when I met her, she was anxious to throw the football around in the front school lawn during our mentoring time. I’m sure after my first attempt (a sort of bowling the football like effort), she might have been convinced I would never get it. However, she did not give up on me and many times she reminded me how to hold the ball properly, the importance of stance and arm movement, and when I finally did throw a perfect spiral, she not only celebrated with me, but also shared with her fourth grade classmates that I have finally done it right. I learned that encouraging my mentee to teach me how to do something not only built on trust, but reminded me that she had skills and talents that I don’t, and she could help me learn something new. As mentors being open to learning new things, we demonstrate growth mindset.
When we ask open ended questions and encourage questions during our mentoring time, we demonstrate growth mindset. Questions like “What are you enjoying learning about?” keeps the conversation positive and open versus a closed ended question like “How are your grades?”
We have also learned the power of the word “yet”. In making yet statements, we help reframe the challenge. For example, I am just learning how to kayak. I’m still struggling with getting the kayak in and out of the water, and I plan to take a class to help me learn river navigation – I’m not good at kayaking YET. Your mentee may come to you with challenges on their mind, and instead of setting goals or telling them how they should handle a situation, help them reframe the situation using yet statements and encouraging learning.
I encourage you to check out the MENTOR mindset toolkit via the TeamMates Mentor Resource Library and share your yet statements and growth mindset learning opportunities.