Posted Date: January 10, 2017
January makes National Mentoring Month - do you use mentoring in your agility work?
Each year January is celebrated as National Mentoring Month. The event was created to promote pairing more young people with adult mentors willing to provide guidance in their future endeavors.
Finding a mentor to work with can be an extremely valuable way to progress in any field or task, even dog agility! If you're feeling like you could use some guidance from a more experienced hand at competition, here are some qualities that the organization MENTOR suggests make for a good mentor candidate:
- A desire to be involved with working with someone "younger" (either than themselves or younger in terms of their involvement in the activity)
- Respect for others regardless of their skill level
- Active listening skills and a good sense of empathy for others
- The ability to work out effective solutions and work through problems with their mentee
- A flexible personality
There's more than just the benefits to the mentee in a mentor-mentee relationship. As a mentor, you get a chance to give back to an activity or cause that means a lot to you, and help further someone else along on their journey. It also is a way to see what you do from a fresh point of view, and maybe you'll find yourself learning some new things along the way and changing how you work with your own dogs after working with someone newer to agility than you. Anyone who has taught before can attest that it's a relationship that develops positively on both sides.
How can you find a mentor? A good place to start is your local training classes. Talk to your instructor to see if he or she would be interested, or if they know a more experienced person who might be willing to take you on. Another option with the technology we have today is to find a mentor who will work with you online via video uploads and Skype. Ask around on listserv and Facebook groups dedicated to agility to see if anyone is interested. And of course, there's always your local club and people you meet at competitions as well.
If you've had a great mentor/mentee relationship in agility, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can feature you in a future profile!