190: A Mentor’s Perspective
By Nicole Blahut
As a mentor for Cohort 22, I get to experience 190 all over again but in a much different way. Going from mentee to mentor has been a fun and rewarding experience. Last year in fall, as a student of Cohort 20, I was in their shoes. But things have changed; the class has developed and grown. With the new two cohort model came a new structure to the introduction course. So while I have completed this course, it is not the same class I once experienced. Based on the feedback from students and the success of all the teams I would definitely say this course is continuously improving. When I was a mentee and gave our first presentation all the mentors said that we had presentations and ideas way better than they had. Dr. Bailey would say that every year the cohort gets better and better. I thought this was said simply as a nice thing to say, but now being on the other side of the presentations I can confidently say that it is true. Cohort 22’s presentations were outstanding. I was blown away about how much better they were than when I was in their place. It is rewarding to see the program grow and improve with each year.
Being a mentor, I get the opportunity to see a team from the other side. We get to see their development and team dynamic unfold. Being a mentor is all about understanding your team and their needs. Not every team functions in the same way. Two completely successful teams may have completely different team dynamics and styles. There is no one correct formula. So in the mentor class we learn how we can best support and facilitate our teams based on how they have organically formed.
One of the biggest takeaways from being a mentor so far is wanting your mentees to do well without you. Not being needed may feel like I am not being a good mentor but actually it illustrates that as a mentor I have supported my team and provided them with enough tools for them to be self-sufficient. I cannot always be there for my team, so it would in fact be a negative if they needed me all the time. I think as leaders often times we almost don’t want our teams to not need us. Through mentoring I have learned that the most successful leaders are those that can sustain progress and success even after they have gone.
Mentoring has been a great experience and I look forward to seeing my team grow. I highly recommend any member of Cohort 21 and 22 to consider being a mentor. It is such a unique learning experience.