T H E M ENTOR PROGRAM. handbook. The Mentoring Committee, California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association

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1 T H E M ENTOR PROGRAM handbook The Mentoring Committee, California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association

2 California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association 1017 L Street Suite 389 Sacramento, CA by California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association. All Rights Reserved. Published All rights reserved, including Internet usage, without the express written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Cover art & Book Design by Caroline P. Andrew First E-Book Edition

3 Contents Introduction 3 1 Mentor Characteristics 5 2 Mentee Characteristics 7 3 Individual Mentoring Expectations 9 Mentee Checklist 10 Personal Development Plan 11 4 The Difference between Mentoring & Coaching 12 5 Developing a Personal Vision 14 Personal Development Worksheet One 16 Personal Development Worksheet Two 17 Personal Vision Statemente Worksheet 18

4 A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you. Bob Proctor Author, Speaker & Success Coach A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. Oprah Winfrey

5 Introduction Mentor Program Mission Statement The role of the CaRVTA Mentor Committee is to provide a distinctive Mentor Program, which builds on and enhances the growth of California RVT students or newly licensed RVTs. The Committee strives to provide the help needed by individuals who want to obtain a California RVT license and to help newly licensed RVTs assimilate into the profession. Mentor Program Vision Statement Our vision is to increase the knowledge and standards of future RVTs by providing a network of RVTs who desire to help others succeed in the RVT profession. Mentoring can play a key role in developing one s career. In its general form, the mentoring partnership is an agreement between two people sharing experiences and expertise to help with personal and professional growth. In mentoring s usual form, a mentor is someone of substantial experience, talent, or professional standing who nurtures the career of a mentee (e.g.; apprentice, intern, or understudy). Mentoring brings value to everyone involved in its practice: mentees, mentors, the organization(s) for which they work, and the entire profession. Mentees have an opportunity to gain wisdom from someone who has traveled the path before them. Mentors have an opportunity to invest themselves in someone who seeks what they can offer. In addition to those who are directly involved in its practice, mentoring also helps the profession at large because it fosters an environment in which veterinary technicians work together and assist one another in their drive to become better skilled, more knowledgable individuals. The key to successful mentoring is to recognize and respect each other s strengths and differences, clarify expectations and roles, establish clear goals through a mentoring action plan, and to manage the logistics of the mentoring process to ensure meetings take place.

6 4 The Mentor Program Handbook The CaRVTA Mentor Program offers a semi-structured approach to developing veterinary technicians talents and abilities. A formal mentoring process capitalizes on the experiences of successful individuals (mentors) who are committed to helping develop more highly skilled, high-performing veterinary technicians. Having the wise counsel and advice of an experienced colleague can help veterinary technicians handle difficult situations, accelerate their development, and avoid some of the pitfalls that can derail a career or delay career advancement. A formal mentoring program is not a one-shot training event. It is a facilitated process that enables veterinary technicians to define and design their own professional development plans with the help and guidance of a qualified mentor. A formalized mentoring program helps mentees: take charge of their careers; grow personally and professionally by taking advantage of the mentor s knowledge of the profession; increase industry awareness and encouragement to reach their full potential. A formalized mentoring program helps mentors: understand the needs of other veterinary technicians, especially those new to the profession; gain a fresh perspective on their work and the value of helping others; share their knowledge and expertise with others through mentoring partnerships. Mentors have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, give back to the profession, and see the impact of their efforts on the professional and on the personal growth of their mentees. The best mentors combine technical competence, experience, the ability to communicate, and most importantly the ability to listen. Mentees receive an opportunity to have someone to talk with who can provide feedback on strengths, shortcomings, and possible impacts on career choices or aspirations, as well as receive encouragement to reach his or her full potential. The success of the mentoring relationship depends greatly on how well the mentoring relationship is defined. The mentor and mentee need to know each other s expectations. Once they have a clear understanding of these expectations, they will be able to ensure that each other s expectations are being met. Mentor Program Core Values a. Respect b. Integrity c. Compassion d. Dedication

7 1. Mentor Characteristics A successful mentor should be: People Oriented: One who is genuinely interested in people and has a desire to help others develop and grow. A successful mentor provides adequate time with the mentee, has good people skills, and knows how to effectively communicate and actively listen. A mentor must also be able to resolve conflicts and give appropriate feedback. A Good Motivator: A mentor needs to be able to motivate a mentee through encouraging feedback and challenging assignments. A mentor once described this characteristic by saying, A mentor needs to stretch the mentee s potential, setting new limits for what the mentee can do. Inspire a mentee with the same drive for achievement. An Effective Teacher: A mentor must thoroughly understand the skills required by the mentee s position and goals and be able to effectively teach these skills to the mentee. A mentor must not only teach the skills of the trade but also manage the learning of the mentee. Secure in Position: A mentor must be confident in his or her career so pride for the mentee s accomplishments can be genuinely expressed. A mentor should appreciate a mentee s developing strengths and abilities without viewing these accomplishments as a threat. A secure mentor delights in a mentee s discoveries and welcomes a mentee s achievements. A mentor enjoys being a part of the mentee s growth and expansion. An Achiever: A mentor is an achiever one who sets career goals, continually evaluates goals, and strives to reach them. A successful mentor is usually one who takes on more responsibility than is required, volunteers for more activities, and tends to climb the proverbial career ladder at a quick pace. A mentor attempts to inspire a mentee with the same drive for achievement. Proud: A mentor takes pride in in being a Registered Veterinary Techncian. A mentor is respected by his or her peers and serves as a role model.

8 6 The Mentor Program Handbook Respectful of Others: A mentor is one who shows respect for another s well-being. Every person, including the mentor, has certain vulnerabilities and imperfections that must be accepted. A mentor should learn to accept a mentee s weaknesses and minor flaws, just as the mentee must learn to accept the weaknesses and flaws of the mentor. Mentors can, in fact, help a mentee explore his or her vulnerabilities and imperfections. Without passing judgment, a mentor must also recognize that differences in opinions, values, and interests will exist. By accepting such differences, a mentor projects openness to others.

9 2. Mentee Characteristics A successful mentoring relationship not only depends on the characteristics of the mentor but also on the characteristics of the mentee. The following are characteristics of the ideal mentee: Eager to Learn: A mentee has a strong desire to learn new skills and abilities or has a desire to develop existing skills and abilities. A mentee seeks educational and/or training opportunities whenever possible to broaden his or her capabilities. A mentee strives to elevate his or her level of technical skills and professional expertise to gain a greater mastery of the role of a Registered Veterinary Technician. Ability to Work as a Team Player: A mentee must be a team player and contribute as much as possible to the mentoring relationship. To do this, a mentee should: 1. Initiate and participate in discussions; 2. Seek information and opinions; 3. Suggest a plan for reaching goals; 4. Clarify or elaborate on ideas; 5. Resolve differences; 6. Be fair with praise and criticism; 7. Accept praise and criticism. Patient: A mentee must be willing to put time and effort into the mentoring relationship. A mentee must persevere through the difficulties that arise during the learning process. A mentee should be realistic enough to know that career advancement or technical skill improvement doesn t happen overnight. Willing to Take Risks: A mentee must be willing to travel from safe harbor into the seas of uncertainty. This means that a mentee must move beyond tasks that he or she has mastered and accept new and more challenging experiences. A mentee must realize that to grow professionally he or she must assess oneself,

10 8 The Mentor Program Handbook acquire needed skills, develop new skills, and make contact with others. A mentee should not be afraid to fail and must be willing to take chances! Positive Attitude: This is the most important trait for a mentee to possess. A bright and hopeful attitude can help a mentee succeed. A mentee with a negative or defeatist attitude will not move ahead the first bump in the road will jar this person off course. An optimistic mentee is more likely to tackle difficulties and to stay on course. Just as a mentor is more than a teacher, a mentee is more than a student. A mentee is an achiever who uses knowledge and skills to access opportunities and to excel beyond the limits of his or her position.

11 3. Individual Mentoring Expectations Mentor Expectations: 1. Provide professional and personal guidance to Mentee 2. Seek ways to develop a meaningful relationship with the Mentee 3. Interact with Mentee in a courteous, respectful and professional manner 4. Serve as a role model by adhering to the NAVTA Code of Ethics Mentee Expectations: 1. Demonstrate dedication to a career in veterinary technology 2. Solicit support and advice from the Mentor 3. Interact with Mentor in a courteous, respectful and professional manner 4. Provide regular progress reports to the Mentor

12 10 The Mentor Program Handbook Mentee Checklist This checklist will help you plan meetings with your mentor and achieve an active mentor-mentee relationship. Arrange the first meeting with your mentor. Explain your goals for the first meeting and consecutive meetings. Ask how confidentiality should be handled (see Confidentiality Agreement). Discuss with your mentor what you both perceive to be the boundaries of the mentoring relationship. Review and record your current experience and qualifications using the personal development plan worksheet. Discuss with your mentor. Review and record your immediate and long-term goals using the personal development plan worksheet, to then discuss with your mentor. Explore with your mentor what knowledge, skills, abilities, plus behaviors that need to be developed in order to achieve your goals. Discuss options and target dates to help you achieve your goals. Discuss and record any issues that may affect the mentoring relationship (e.g.; time/scheduling of work/ school, financial constraints, location/distance, lack of confidence, newness to role, communication, etc.). Develop a meeting schedule with your mentor, trying to meet at least once a month. Take and maintain notes on topics discussed during meetings with your mentor and on the feedback provided. (for review as needed). Request that meeting notes be kept confidential. Discuss activities with your mentor that can form part of your mentoring relationship and help build your development plan. The following activities are suggestions as to what a mentoring partnership can include: Receiving advice on strategies for improving knowledge, skills, abilities, and behavior development. Receiving advice on issues or concerns with colleagues or clients. Receiving feedback from other sources. Organizing work-shadowing sessions of fellow RVTs, with authorization from hospital/management. (An authorization form may be required for liability purposes.) Consider developing a personal development plan that reflects different professional development needs at different stages of your career. Encourage your mentor to reflect regularly with you on your goals, achievements, and areas for improvement. Consider composing a brief reflection essay for your mentor to read (e.g. ½ page) prior to each meeting. Amend your Personal Development Plan (see page 11) as needed by focusing on your developing needs.

13 Chapter 3: Individual Mentoring Expectations What are my current knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors? 2. What are my goals? 3. Knowledge to gain / Skills to build / Attitudes to develop to accomplish my career goals. (What must I acquire or improve?) 4. Project outcome. (How will I know I accomplished my goal?) 5. Development activities. (How will I actually gain / build / develop these?) 6. Resources needed. (Besides the help of my mentor, what else will I need?) 7. Target completion date. (When will I achieve my goal?) Personal Development Plan Initial Inventory Amended Amended Amended Amended

14

15 4. The Difference between Mentoring & Coaching Mentoring is relationship oriented. The focus of mentoring extends to include such life goals as increasing self-confidence and improving self-perception as well as taking into account how the mentor/mentee s personal and professional lives influence each other. Mentoring provides a safe environment for the mentee to share any issues affecting his or her professional success. Mentoring is a long-term relationship. Mentoring requires time for both the mentor and mentee to learn about one another and to build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentee feels secure sharing the real issues that impact his or her success. Mentoring is development driven. Mentors strive to develop their mentee not only for his or her current job but also for his or her future career. Mentoring is personal. Mentors are chosen. Mentoring is biased. A mentor is on the side of the mentee, even as he or she suggests areas of improvement. Coaching is task oriented. Like a baseball pitching coach, career coaching focuses on a concrete skill that must be improved. Coaching requires a content expert who is capable of teaching others and developing skills in the coach s area of expertise. Coaching is a short-term relationship. Once the student masters a skill, the coach s job is complete. Coaching is performance driven. Coaches strive to improve an individual s job performance by improving their current skills or teaching them new skills. Coaching is about performance. Coaches are hired. Coaching is impartial. A coach is focused on improving behavior or skills towards a set goal. A coach is on the side of the organization by which he or she was hired.

16 5. Developing a Personal Vision Developing a personal vision and statement will help you succeed, be more satisfied with your life, and get the most out of your mentoring relationship. In a nutshell, your personal vision is what you want to be, do, feel, think, own, associate with, and impact in the future. This vision can propel you and inspire those around you to reach their own dreams. It is said that, if you don t identify your vision, others will plan and direct your life for you. Think of the personal vision as a developmental strategy. Give yourself an updated outlook as you grow in your personal life and career by creating an annual personal vision and statement. Your personal vision defines who and what you want to become at a set time in the future. A vision ensures that you stay focused on your plan to achieve your goals and keeps you on track so that you don t deviate from the course you ve set. Think of your vision as a compass that weaves you through the numerous paths you will encounter towards your destination. In developing your vision to further help your mentor understand your future plans, consider these questions: What do I want? This is one of the toughest questions to answer, as it takes time to stop and think about what it is that you exactly want to achieve in your life and career. Are you following your own interests? If you do not set out your own personal vision, you may be following a path someone else has set for you. Give yourself permission to dream about your ideal life and career, even if it s just five to ten minutes a day, then ask yourself these questions: 1. What do I want more of in my life? 2. What do I want less of in my life? 3. If money was no object and failure wasn t possible, what would my career or business be like? 4. What relationships do I need to nurture--or let go of? 5. What is my relationship to money? 6. My secret passion or dream that I never mention because it s too big to even think about is 7. What am I most afraid of? 8. What accomplishments or measurable events must occur during my lifetime so that I will consider my life to have been satisfying and well-lived--a life of few or no regrets? 9. What could I do that would bring more joy into my daily life? 10. What am I grateful for?

17 Chapter 5: Developing a Personal Vision 15 These questions are just a starting point, so take into account all major aspects of your life friends and family, fun and recreation, career, money, health, personal growth, spirituality. To truly feel successful about what you accomplish, it is important to build a balanced life around your career. Building a work/life balance will provide you with a better understanding of what you want and how you may achieve your goals. The following worksheets will help you answer questions that lead to developing and understanding your personal vision, as well as developing a personal vision statement that will be important when describing to others what you wish to accomplish in the near future. The first two worksheets (pages 16-17) contain questions for you to answer to better understand what is important to you, what you are good at, what you may want to change, and to help you understand yourself and build a personal vision. The third worksheet (page 18) sets up specific questions preliminary to developing a personal vision statement. This personal vision statement is a picture of how you see yourself and is written in the present tense. Creating a personal vision statement will help you create your personal developmental plan.

18 16 The Mentor Program Handbook 1. Things I Really Enjoy Doing Personal Development Worksheet 1 2. What Brings Me Happiness & Joy 3. The Two Best Moments of My Past Week 4. Three Things I d Do If I Won the Lottery 5. Issues or Causes about Which I Care Deeply 6. My Most Important Values (circle) Having integrity Religious faith Being fit & healthy Having fun Having a nice home & belongings Dedication Respect Learning and improving myself Enjoying family & friends Making others' lives easier or more pleasant 7. Things I Can Do at the Good-to-Excellent Level 8. What I'd Like to Stop Doing or Do as Little as Possible

19 Chapter 5: Developoing a Personal Vision 17 Personal Development Worksheet 2 1. What Do I Want More of in My Life? 2. What Do I Want Less of in My Life? 3. If money was no object and failure wasn t possible, what would my career or business be like? 4. What relationships do I need to nurture, or let go of? 5. What is my relationship to money? 6. My secret passion or dream that I never mention because it s too big to even think about is Of what am I most afraid? 8. What accomplishments or measurable events must occur during my lifetime so that I will consider my life to have been satisfying and well lived; a life of few or no regrets? 9. What could I do that would bring more joy to my daily life? 10. For what am I grateful?

20 18 The Mentor Program Handbook Personal Vision Statement Worksheet These are the main things that motivate me and bring me personal and professional satisfaction: My greatest strength/abilities/traits/things I do best: At least two things I can start doing/do more often that use my strengths, etc.: This is my Personal Vision Statement (in 50 words or less):

21 About the California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association The mission of the California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association is to elevate the veterinary profession through the strengthening of the veterinary health care team. We seek to promote the role of the Registered Veterinary Technician by broadening our skills, knowledge, and professionalism and by securing representation of Registered Veterinary Technicians in the regulatory and legislative arena. The California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association strives to increase public awareness of the role of Registered Veterinary Technicians in veterinary medicine and our place in enhancing the welfare of our animal patients. The California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization.

22 The Mentor Program Handbook Succinct and to the point, this is an essential, practical handbook for mentors and mentees enrolled in mentor programs. Including handy checklists and worksheets for reflection, planning, and discussion, The Mentor Program Handbook is a vital tool in the California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association s Mentor Program. Learn more about the Mentor Program and the California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association at California Registered Veterinary Technicians Association $19.95 pbk / $10.00 CaRVTA Mentor Program Members

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