These last few months in general have been a time of uncertainty, stress and worry for everyone in their individual ways. For myself, it was a time of working from home and living alone, so could go weeks without seeing a single person.
For my mentee, her responsibilities changed dramatically – living with a vulnerable adult which meant isolation for four months and counting…
Although our circumstances were drastically different, we still had the common ground of feeling a lonely and overwhelmed. In that time, my usual mentoring ‘style’ changed – No longer did our conversations focus on applying for jobs and CVs, but instead all about our wellbeing and mental health.
Face-to-face mentoring stopped and weekly phone calls commenced, and since March we have spoken on the phone almost every week, catching up on how we are feeling and making sure we’re accountable to one another. My mentee knows she can talk to me and ‘vent’ on a weekly basis if she wants, but she has been a huge support to me to when I was lonely during lockdown.
This lockdown has taught me that mentoring isn’t solely about ‘the work’ but also about the relationship and we have built a much better relationship as a result.