What is the mentorship component of Lead for Life?
Research has demonstrated that having mentors during one’s emerging adulthood is key to developing influential and effective leaders. The mentoring component is key to the individual transformation aspiration within the Lead for Life programme. Each mentor will be paired with a partner. Together, the two mentors will shepherd a mentor group of ten students for one year of their university experience. Students in the mentor group will take turns rotating through a student leadership position. The student leaders will work closely with the mentors to support the activities of the mentor group. Mentors can re-enlist year to year if they wish to continue serving Hong Kong in this way.
Hear from our mentors
Will mentors be provided training and support?
The HKU Lead for Life mentors comprise both experienced as well as emerging industry and corporate leaders in Hong Kong. We are committed to providing ongoing training, support and resources for our mentors to make their mentoring experience successful. There will be two training sessions each year as well as resources available on our website. These will not only focus on the craft of mentoring, but also character leadership training in the workplace. We will explore various growth themes such as wise leadership, conflict resolution, Design Your Life, and others. Our commitment is to help our mentors grow in their mentoring skills, which will also be applicable in their day-to-day professions. Regent College, Vancouver will be providing some of this training alongside mentoring experts here in Hong Kong. Additionally, the HKU Lead for Life team will be providing ongoing support through university staff who will help the mentors navigate various situations. We will establish a community of practice for our mentors through the use of social messaging apps, emails and the website e-portal for mentors to simply check-in, and receive ongoing encouragement as well as helpful tips.
What are the criteria to be a mentor?
Mentors will be chosen on the following criteria with an attempt to make the mentorship group as a whole consist of a diverse mix of ages, ethnicities, industries, and experiences:
- Commitment. Mentors will show dedication to the process and goals of helping students flourish during their time at HKU, and to equip them to build flourishing communities afterwards.
- Capacity to reflect. As this is a character trait we are asking the students to develop, it needs to be evidenced in the mentors as well.
- Willingness and availability. Transformation can best be realized as students experience the mentors coming alongside them.
- A sense of otherness. An orientation and disposition that mentors lead from and live out of a sense of serving others and for the common good.
- Walking the talk. Evidence of character, leadership and flourishing communities in the mentors’ own lives.
What is expected of a mentor?
A mentor’s role is to facilitate the development of the student-mentee as a leader. Mentors should be able to:
- Be a resource coach, guide and advisor/friend. Mentors will journey alongside their mentees through their formative years in university.
- Provide perspective and accountability. Mentors will help mentees think through their long-term goals, be a thinking partner, and provide unbiased independent advice and counsel on issues that the mentee may be working on.
- Discuss the lessons learnt from the learning component of the programme. As a mentor, you can help your mentees apply the lessons learnt and tools shared from taking other Lead for Life designated courses at HKU.
- Be a sounding board for the service project. Mentors are not expected to supervise any individual student project work, but can help the students think through their planning, implementation and reflection of the service project that is part of the Lead for Life programme.
Mentors will work together with the mentor group student leaders to organise three group gatherings each semester, which is approximately one mentor group activity per month. It is anticipated that the mentor’s time commitment will be about 4-6 hours per month. The students are encouraged to attend as many meetings as possible, but in consideration of their study timetable will be required to attend a minimum of one meeting each semester. Communication through social messaging apps or emails will be ongoing throughout the year.
What are some Do's and Don'ts as a Lead for Life mentor?
At its core, Lead for Life mentoring is relational – developing empowering relationships, which best allow your mentees to develop as individuals and as a group. In short, relationships which allow them to flourish. Lead for Life mentoring is not psychological counselling, therapy, career coaching or spiritual direction, which are available to the students through other programs. It is coming alongside the students as an encouraging exemplar who is further down life’s journey.
Relational mentoring might seem a bit overwhelming given that sometimes even the best relationships can be complex. At its simplest, however, relational mentoring involves showing kindness, practicing patience and appreciating your mentees’ accomplishments. Kindness, patience and appreciation are foundational words, which you might return to if uncertain of how best to proceed. The following can also be helpful in navigating your mentor relationships:
Things to Do:
- Be clear about the details of the group gatherings: where, how long, purpose, expectations, etc. Your mentor group student leader can help communicate the details and suggest what times work best.
- Set up a clear communication channel with your group (e.g., social messaging apps or email), and the importance of members letting the group know when they cannot make a gathering.
- Communicate your desire to create a space where the students can be themselves and be accepted. Encourage open group communication, the sharing of differences and model how to work through conflicts and challenging times with respect.
- Plan a variety of activities that cater to the rich abilities, and diversity of experiences and needs of your mentor group students. Lead for Life is open to students of all abilities, backgrounds and cultural diversities, and across all faculties and degree programmes.
- Be encouraging, motivate the students to enlarge their comfort zones and … HAVE FUN!
Things to Avoid:
- Avoid just telling your mentees what to do. Active listening to your mentees before sharing what has worked in your experience works much better. Letting the mentee be the ‘teacher’ at times and letting them learn from their mistakes can both be empowering for the student.
- Do not bring the mentees to inappropriate venues for gatherings or events. No alcohol at Lead for Life events, and be sensitive to differing needs (e.g., cultural and religious dietary restrictions).
- Avoid discussion of sensitive or inappropriate topics. Your role as a mentor may best be carried out by redirecting the students to available resources at the university, such as for deeper career or counselling support.
- Lead for Life is primarily a group mentoring programme. But if there arises any need for one-to-one mentoring, never meet in private or at odd timings. Public venues (e.g., at HKU campus or coffee shops) should always be used. We are committed both to your safety and the safety of our students.
What next steps should I take?
If you have been nominated as a mentor and are interested in joining us, please submit your profile through the online form using the link below.