From Teacher to Mentor: A workshop by Dr. Anup (Nirma University)
02 August 2014

Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB) hosted a workshop focusing on mentoring for its faculty members on 2nd August 2014. Conducted by Dr Anup Singh (Director General, Nirma University), the workshop focused on helping the faculty members refine their understanding of mentoring and fine tuning the already established processes to make mentoring a more formal and structured process. At FIIB, a lot of focus is given on not only evolving a student academically, but also transforming him to become more employable through an intensive process of mentoring. Hence, the workshop focused on emphasizing the importance of structured mentoring in B-Schools.

Dr. Anup began with explaining how mentors need to focus on establishing a transactional and transformational relationship with students. He explained that transactional relationship (which focuses on exchange of domain and academic knowledge only) is the basis of a teacher and student relationship but when one establishes a transformational relationship (which is more oriented towards seeing a transformation in the student) they become a mentor-mentee pair. A mentor needs to find satisfaction in touching lives of its mentee and create a process of visible transformation in the same.

Through stories and anecdotes, Dr. Anup shared key learnings like mentors should understand that they cannot touch and make a difference in everyone’s lives, but they can impact the lives of the few who are chosen as their mentees. He also explained the paradox of how students who need to be mentored show less interest in the process than those who are already evolved and need less help. He emphasized, that as mentors, we need to be able to understand what would encourage the former to come for help. He suggested that mentors should flag problems which they think can’t be handled at their end so that immediate action can be taken and at the same time, they need to be discreet about the discussions that are held in the group so that an environment of trust can be built. He also highlighted that while mentors need to build a congenial environment where the mentee opens to them about their professional, academic and personal goals, the relationship needs to be a very professional one.

Dr Anup then asked three introspective questions- Do we know our mentees? Are we interested in the,? Amd Do we do anything for them or just expect them to deliver? These three questions, according to him, form the basis of a good mentor.

Through the workshop, Dr Anup shared some handy tips for the mentoring program, including, maintaining a log book, building a community of trust where mentees support each other, dealing with each mentee in a customized and unique way, having a course of action for self development and being committed through the process.

While no faculty mentor at FIIB is oblivious to the process of mentoring, the workshop helped to refine some of the thoughts and processes and gave new ideas and direction for the program to be strengthened and implemented.

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