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meanandugly


Mar 1, 2010, 9:01 AM
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johnwesely


Mar 1, 2010, 9:07 AM
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Re: [meanandugly] Mentoring-problems? [In reply to]
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Why did you try to teach Anakin Skywalker how to climb?


rschap


Mar 1, 2010, 5:45 PM
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My biggest problem was grooming a partner for some big trip we both wanted to do just to have them quit climbing or get a G/f or have a kid or start bouldering.


lena_chita
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Mar 1, 2010, 6:30 PM
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Teaching is a thankless job. Students' accomplishments are usually hailed as the result of their hard work, dedication and aptitude, while their failures are usually blamed on the shortcomings of the teacher.

The same is true about parenting :)

In a perfect world things would be different.

But if there is one person out there who, after being taught by you, is passing the knowledge on to someone else, then you have acomplished something, and it should be a reward enough.


mrtristan


Mar 2, 2010, 9:41 AM
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Re: [meanandugly] Mentoring-problems? [In reply to]
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I've never had bad experiences, but I can see how they could happen. To me, mentoring is an investment. I invest my time and energy into climbing partners because I expect the payback to be big in terms of them being willing and able to climb a lot.

I only mentor people that I like. They're my friends and I would want to hang out with them even if they didn't climb.


guangzhou


Mar 2, 2010, 8:30 PM
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Re: [mrtristan] Mentoring-problems? [In reply to]
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I've never had a bad mentoring experience, mostly because I have never consider myself a mentor to my climbing partners.

Even when I climb or teach other climbers who have much less experience, I am not considering myself their mentor. I'm just partner who might or might not have something to share with you.

My two cents,
Eman


irregularpanda


Mar 2, 2010, 9:14 PM
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Re: [meanandugly] Mentoring-problems? [In reply to]
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Win some, lose some. Hopefully you're still close friends with some of them.

Make the ungrateful ones buy you beer. Beer, or ropes.


chrisJoosse


Mar 2, 2010, 11:18 PM
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Re: [meanandugly] Mentoring-problems? [In reply to]
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meanandugly wrote:
In my climbing career I have had the pleasure to mentor many others and have happily seen some of them off to accomplish feats greater than I could ever dream.
However, I have run into some that have become problems. Having some think they are greater than the are, believing that my assistance is no longer required (even being told "I have gone beyond what you can teach me") and when they fail on their own the blame is thrown back at me.
But for me the worst is when they talk to other less than experienced climbers and are convince that they should doubt your skills even thought they have been demonstrated the whole time. Especially when you have sacrificed many lead opportunities so they could hone their skills.
I am wondering what negative issues other Mentors have run into with those under their tutelage.

Take this for what it's worth- the reflection of someone who doesn't know you, based purely on what you've said here- but it seems that this is more of a complaint seeking commiseration than a question.
Or, if it is really a question, the thrust of it is something along the lines of "why are those ungrateful jerks so ungrateful?"
This is a question only they can really answer. You won't get any insights into it here.

But this question does beg another- and that is why you are so concerned with their gratitude or deference to begin with. You might consider the possibility that your concern being where it is and your complaint might be related phenomena, if you were the introspective, soul-searching type.

Anybody who mentors for long enough will have the satisfaction of paying forward the debt they owe their own mentors many times over. And some of the recipients will be totally awesome and stroke your ego, and some will not.

We all looooove having our egoes stroked by an appreciative mentee, but that's just frosting- nice to have, but not the point. And it really never ever works to have it be the point.


csproul


Mar 3, 2010, 5:56 AM
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The most common mentoring problem I have observed: climbers acting as a mentor who have no business mentoring anyone.


Partner j_ung


Mar 3, 2010, 6:01 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
I've never had a bad mentoring experience, mostly because I have never consider myself a mentor to my climbing partners.

Even when I climb or teach other climbers who have much less experience, I am not considering myself their mentor. I'm just partner who might or might not have something to share with you.

My two cents,
Eman

These are my thoughts, too. I actually really hate the entire concept of mentoring, as some on RC.com have come to know it. People write of finding a mentor, in the exact same terms they might speak of hiring a guide. A search on here will yield all sorts of material on finding one and judging his or her worthiness to teach. It's as though that relationship is contractual -- the undersigned agrees that the mentor has the responsibility to impart a, b and c, and in exchange, the mentee will carry the rack and buy beer. In my experience, it's nothing like that at all. Rather, it's a nebulous relationship borne more of convenience for both parties -- a partnership, if you will Wink -- rather than from one's desire to teach or another's desire to learn.

Perhaps that's a problem here; I dunno. If so, I suggest you strike the word, "mentor," from your vocabulary entirely.


meanandugly


Mar 3, 2010, 6:32 AM
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kaizen


Mar 3, 2010, 6:39 AM
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For what it's worth, I have someone who I consider a mentor, but he is also a friend. We buy rounds, split gas, and take turns on leads. There is no "you are mentor, please take item x from me as a token of my appreciation."

Rather, he invites me on many trips (and vice-versa), has given me ample instruction on leading from ice to trad to sport, and has just been a, ugh this sounds terrible, nurturing figure for my climbing career.

There is no spoken dialogue of Mentor and Mentee; rather one guy with a ton of experience, who is entering the phase of his life where he wants to give back some of what he's taken out of the sport, by climbing with a super-psyched but much less-honed person.


granite_grrl


Mar 3, 2010, 6:44 AM
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j_ung wrote:
People write of finding a mentor, in the exact same terms they might speak of hiring a guide.
This has actually been one of my problems. I take someone out that I'm trying to create a friendship with, offering a bit of mentoring and they treat me like their guide. Put the rope up, take the rope down. They don't even have hint that they have any gratitude that I put myself out for them all weekend.

Yes, I take out people whose company I enjoy, but I expect some give an take. I'll put up this easy route, I'll keep you safe on this rappel, show you how to make anchors, but please don't bitch when I want to climb one harder route at the end of the day.

And of course I can't even count the number of people that were full of pith and vinegar at the start of their climbing career that I tried to nurture along that just dropped it. Lately, I've been more into going out with people who've been climbing for a while who aren't likely to drop it next year. If they're making a transition from sport to trad I'll try to push them along where I can, but in general these people don't need much mentoring.


shimanilami


Mar 3, 2010, 7:11 AM
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I don't mentor. I groom future partners. I don't make any pretenses otherwise. This cuts down the field by 80% before a single "lesson" has been provided.

After that, if I determine the person is unsafe, not fun to hang out with, not talented enough (i.e. to be able to keep up with me eventually) ... then they are out.

I may be selfish, but at least I'm honest and up front about it. I have no internal conflicts about what I'm trying to do. And if rejected "students" get upset about it, then tough shit. It's better to cut loose an unsuitable partner before you end up in a uncomfortable situation, or worse.


meanandugly


Mar 3, 2010, 7:23 AM
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lena_chita
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Mar 3, 2010, 7:25 AM
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j_ung wrote:
These are my thoughts, too. I actually really hate the entire concept of mentoring, as some on RC.com have come to know it. People write of finding a mentor, in the exact same terms they might speak of hiring a guide. A search on here will yield all sorts of material on finding one and judging his or her worthiness to teach. It's as though that relationship is contractual -- the undersigned agrees that the mentor has the responsibility to impart a, b and c, and in exchange, the mentee will carry the rack and buy beer. In my experience, it's nothing like that at all. Rather, it's a nebulous relationship borne more of convenience for both parties -- a partnership, if you will Wink -- rather than from one's desire to teach or another's desire to learn.

Perhaps that's a problem here; I dunno. If so, I suggest you strike the word, "mentor," from your vocabulary entirely.

Well said.

I don't think anyone who I would consider a mentor ever sat down at some point and said to him/herself: O.K., I am going to start mentoring now, let's see, starting with two mentees tomorrow... eventually expanding up to 4-5 people at a time.

And you don't find a mentor by posting a note that says:"looking for a solid mentor, at least 5 years of experience, references required."

You can find a teacher or a guide that way, I think.

But mentorship to me implies more than just a student/teacher relationship. There has to be friendship, partnership, and somehow involvement in a broader sense of the word, beyond just climbing, and that is something that can't be forced, agreed on, assigned, etc. -- it is something that happens. or not.


Partner j_ung


Mar 3, 2010, 10:30 AM
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meanandugly wrote:
Most of my experience with this has started with me being approached by a less experienced climber looking to learn to more about the craft.

But even that seems to me to define the relationship somewhat. All I'm saying is maybe you should try to ensure there are no expectations of learning of your partner's part. If I'm off base, sorry 'bout that. I'll shut my yap now.


Partner j_ung


Mar 3, 2010, 10:33 AM
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lena_chita wrote:
And you don't find a mentor by posting a note that says:"looking for a solid mentor, at least 5 years of experience, references required."

Doesn't stop 'em from trying. I wonder how much success those folks had. Maybe lots, I dunno.


hendo


Mar 3, 2010, 6:55 PM
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meanandugly wrote:
Ok, hopefully we have all gotten beyond the definition....teach, mentor, groom, sharing experience, etc. ...

I actually think the definition (or understanding) is very important. Mentoring, unlike simple teaching, implies a relationship over time.

I've taught many people over the years. I can't remember how many. Most I probably never saw more than once. We'd run into each at a cliff, I might notice something that needed attention, and I'd suggest how it could be done better (e.g. actually locking your locking biners on a top-rope anchor.)

It's like seeing a toddler about to run across the road. You stop him from endangering his life, even if he's not your child. You may never see him again, but so what. You're not a mentor, you're just doing what you're supposed to do at the moment.

Some climbers probably regard me as a mentor, simply because we've climbed often enough over the years for them to think so. But I never began the relationship with that in mind. It was simply a climbing partnership (with all that that implies).

Back to what the OP mentioned, if I were to show someone the way I do something and that person was to later do it another way which I consider unsafe, well, what the hell, it's his life. These days I just walk away.

Years ago, in my obsessive stage, I'd climb with anyone, any warm body with the faintest vital signs. Nowadays I'm fussier. I don't want to climb with dumb people any more. It's not a matter of ego. It's not a matter of student-worshipping-teacher. Not at all. If that person has something I can learn, I have an open mind; I'm willing to learn from him or her. I try to keep up with the latest in technical skills, whatever the source.

But if I run into someone who insists on using a mountaineer's coil because that's the way they did it in "Annapurna" circa 1500 B.C. well, fuck it, I'm not going to waste my time climbing with someone whose ropes are so snarled we're losing 15 minutes a pitch untangling them.

No sirree, no more climbing with dumb people. I reached that decision before my accident and have become even more committed to it since.


airscape


Mar 4, 2010, 5:26 AM
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Is calling yourself a mentor not the epitome of spray?


billl7


Mar 4, 2010, 6:59 AM
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meanandugly wrote:
In my climbing career I have had the pleasure to mentor many others and have happily seen some of them off to accomplish feats greater than I could ever dream.

Hang onto that thought (emphasis mine). And this is a worthy subject despite some jawing all around.

It has been about two years since I started helping folks with learning to lead. And, yes, I hate to even say the word "help" let alone "mentor".

It has been a mixed bag.

I started one-on-one approach which I think is ideal. ... sort of a conciously directed partnership if you will. The problem the first time was commitment level: In the end the person did not understand the level of commitment needed for what they wanted to do (and still does not to this day). I felt I imparted just enough knowledge for them to be dangerous.

Wanting a greater chance of "success" (whatever that is), I switched modes and started taking out about 10 folks, a handful at a time. ... sort of a "shotgun" approach to bringing up new leaders/partners. Each outing, I would also enlist the assistance of other experienced leaders usually snaring enough to make the outings with so many new folks worthwhile. I had to be choosey about which experienced leaders I invited and focused on dividing into groups of 3 or 4. And we would usually go to a single pitch crag while focusing on multi-pitch exercises.

And there has been some "success" with this last approach in that about one third now just need to get in multi-pitch mileage on the sharp end to hone their lead savvy. All along, though, I've never held great expectations for what folks will do with the knowledge - that is up to them since for all this sort of experience includes simply trying it out to see if it becomes a passion (who can tell for sure).

Bill L

P.S. I would have replied to meanandugly except that option has disappeared when he/she deleted the posts. Lame.

Edit: P.P.S Not sure what mode I'll take next. This "group" approach at single-pitch crags has its limitations. Maybe have about 3 folks and take them out one at a time on multi-pitch over a year or so?


(This post was edited by billl7 on Mar 4, 2010, 7:10 AM)


meanandugly


Mar 4, 2010, 7:42 AM
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LAME!!!???? WTF. I would like to know where my post are?


meanandugly


Mar 5, 2010, 5:11 AM
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Ok, so I have sent a message to RC as to why my post were deleted and I am awaiting their response. I can't see any reason why anyone would remove them and don't believe that RC was responsible, but would like to get to the bottom of it.

Now back to the mentoring thing.

I am looking for good or bad experiences from those who have been or have mentored others in our craft.

The definition of mentoring is how you wish, but I think everyone has their own spin on that and some of you don't like the term...I get that. But I am not describing the process of getting paid for your experience, as that is too formal of a definition.
So for the term mentoring, keep in mind the following analogous terms : teach, groom, guide, impart knowledge, advise, tutor, counsel, train, coach, instruct, initiate, educate, prepare, school, show the way, direct, and any other you can think of (I am sure that this will continue to be flamed by those who wish to insert their own term, as it seems to be the way of many on this site)


lena_chita
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Mar 5, 2010, 8:31 AM
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meanandugly wrote:
The definition of mentoring is how you wish, but I think everyone has their own spin on that and some of you don't like the term...I get that. But I am not describing the process of getting paid for your experience, as that is too formal of a definition.
So for the term mentoring, keep in mind the following analogous terms : teach, groom, guide, impart knowledge, advise, tutor, counsel, train, coach, instruct, initiate, educate, prepare, school, show the way, direct, and any other you can think of (I am sure that this will continue to be flamed by those who wish to insert their own term, as it seems to be the way of many on this site)

Don't get so bent out of shape. I think most people understood what you were dealing with and concerned/upset about.

But there was a reason why I used the word teaching instead of mentoring when I responded to you, and Jay simply vocalized it way better than I could have.

In my mind, I can say: I teach/I tutor/I coach/I train/I help/etc.-- but not "I mentor".

Mentor is something that you will (or not) be called by others. And often it would be in the future, long after the fact, when they had a chance to reflect on their experiences and see who, and how, made a profound impact on their life, or on a specific field.

Sort of like, I can say:"I am a scientist". I can even say "I am good/experienced/etc. scientist"-- but it would be up to someone else to say 'she is a great scientist who made a seminal discovery.'... And the verdict is up in the air on that one, LOL, not something that can be said in the present time-- and it may never be said.



I know you think that this semantical discussion has derailed this thread and left your original question unanswered.

But if you think about it, behind the semantics discussion there is a different attitude that people have towards teaching others, so it is relevant.

You have certain expectations of how someone you taught/helped/coached should treat you, and some people don't conform to that expectation. It may be because they are the 'wrong' kind of people, or it might be because the expectations were unrealistic. So either adjust the expectations (which was my point of view--see my first post in this thread: basicly 'yeah, this happens...') or be more choosy of people whom you decide to help/train/teach (which is what some other people have said when they said that they choose not just students, but compatible partners, and as a result don't have much of a problem).


meanandugly


Mar 5, 2010, 9:02 AM
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I am far from bent out of shape. My last post was, and I guess poorly, an attempt at humour.
Also, I altered my OP to include both sides of the coin. Both good and bad, mentor and mentee (yes I will continue to use those terms as I am convinced that no matter what term I use, the discussion will still get derailed from my original question).
I thank everyone for their input, especially those who responded to my question.
Now I am off to herd cats elsewhere.

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