Mentor, Definition

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by BrAdam, Oct 14, 2018.

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  1. Oct 14, 2018 #1

    BrAdam

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    I’m not one to start or participate in most discussions on here unless specific to my interests but in light of recent events and the prolific use of the word Mentor lately I thought it would be interesting to see what people have to say.

    A Mentor is....
    A Mentor is not.....

    A Mentor is... an expert in their field of study.
    A Mentor is... recognized by their superiors as someone who made significant achievements in their profession that those new to the profession would benefit significantly from their knowledge.
    A Mentor is... a leader

    A Mentor is not... self appointed.
    A Mentor is not... a peer.
    A Mentor is not... demeaning.

    And go.....
     
  2. Oct 14, 2018 #2

    MClark

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    ...is listened to by the mentored
     
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  3. Oct 14, 2018 #3

    mpitfield

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    As it pertains to our hobby. I define my mentors as anyone that has a body of knowledge and practical experience to pass on to me and that I would strive to emulate.

    I don't believe that a mentor has to be the best, or at the top of their game for me to consider them a mentor. I also see no reason that I can't have more than one mentor.

    I realize this differs from the "traditional" definition, but I don't see this as a formal discipline. At least at the hobby level.

    Having said that I believe that Tripoli defines a mentor as a TAP, at least for the purpose of earning your L3.
     
  4. Oct 15, 2018 #4

    Steve Shannon

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    Actually, we try to nominate people who have already distinguished theirselves as mentors to be our TAPs.
     
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  5. Oct 15, 2018 #5

    Normzilla

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    A mentor is CJ


    Bar none.
     
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  6. Oct 15, 2018 #6

    BrAdam

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    But what distinguishes them. There is likely a common thread or two in there.?.?
     
  7. Oct 15, 2018 #7

    markkoelsch

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    A mentor likely needs to have knowledge and experience you do not have. They ideally are someone who has good communication skills, and a desire to teach what they have learned.

    We also seriously need to consider the mentee. Having seen some of this myself, the mentee needs to be able to actually listen to the mentor, think about what the mentor said to them, and figure out how to utilize the information imparted to them. If the mentee does not do the above they may as well not have a mentor.
     
  8. Oct 15, 2018 #8

    Steve Shannon

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    Several common characteristics: They are the people who have multiple ways of explaining things, because everyone learns differently. They are the ones who spend hours at each launch helping others. They are also the ones who try many different things themselves in order to learn.
     
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  9. Oct 15, 2018 #9

    Steve Shannon

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    But the best mentors are the ones who figure out how to explain things so the mentee listens. There are some mentees who present challenges to almost everyone, but somewhere there’s a mentor who can reach that mentee.
     
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  10. Oct 15, 2018 #10

    markkoelsch

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    Steve, there are mentees who present challenges for sure. I am not sure about the last bit though- I think there are some who are so set in their ways and unwilling to listen that they are not reachable. Some may view that as pessimistic to which I would not disagree, but I think it is also the truth.
     
  11. Oct 15, 2018 #11

    BrAdam

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    I think that is true to a point but a good mentor will recognize those limitations and hopefully steer them in a path of success. Be it a new discipline or a limited level of involvement. In our hobby maybe that would be medium power only or only single motor deploy or....
     
  12. Oct 15, 2018 #12

    markkoelsch

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    I am talking the mentee that will not listen hardly, if at all. There are some who. Use this as the check box, as another out it. Something to check off because they have to versus something they should want to.
     
  13. Oct 15, 2018 #13

    mpitfield

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    For me this is a two way street. Any "mentor" I respect is open to the fact that they do not know everything and when they are uncertain or have any room for a discussion that they are open to it and don't just knee jerk shut down the conversation.
     
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  14. Oct 15, 2018 #14

    BrAdam

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    I agree there is a population of individuals who for whatever reason will not listen, take and act on advice, and should probably be discouraged from actively participating in some disciplines. Even then they may not listen. But, that aside I would like this to be about the Mentor, not the mentee.
     
  15. Oct 15, 2018 #15

    Bat-mite

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    There's only one Mentor!

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Oct 16, 2018 #16

    dr wogz

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    A mentor should encourage, as well as enlighten. A mentor should expect the mentee to start to ask the questions themselves, and to strive to seek the answers.

    A mentor should not just regurgitate from a book, or from the one example they know. A mentor should have multiple examples, and a good mentee should ask about those other examples, and try to fit the best solution to the problem. (and explain why one is worse / better than the others)

    A mentor guides, nurtures and nudges when needed.. A mentor will seek advice from other equally qualified individuals when needed. A mentor will pass on a mentee to another mentor when the time is right. this mentor may well become a mentee himself.


    If you build 100 examples of the same kit, how many kits have you truly built?
     
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  17. Oct 16, 2018 #17

    rfjustin

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    Simply put a mentor is a coach. I will only coach those that are willing to be coached.
     
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  18. Oct 16, 2018 #18

    DM1975

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    Even a mentor should allow themselves to be mentored by other mentors who have mentored many mentee’s as one person never knows it all.
     
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  19. Oct 16, 2018 #19

    DM1975

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    After all, nothing is less motivating than a mediocre mentor. :p
     
  20. Oct 17, 2018 #20

    blackjack2564

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    Mentor is someone, who when overseeing a individual/group....knows enough about the project at hand to STEER those involved in the right direction so they may fly safely.

    Not rule with an iron fist, but guide those with lesser knowledge to succeed with goal at hand.
    Not just impose "their way" of doing things, but leave those involved capable of designing the "next one" correctly.

    It may be a simple as correct motor selection & needed criteria or as complex as the entire project. Even showing something over & over & over till "they get it"if need be.

    I have always been lucky enough, [thanks to the great folks here] that almost everything I ever needed to know, someone has come to my aid.
    Those very few times the answer was not available, I was steered to find the correct research papers that would get me there.[the answer]

    Sometimes as simple as an answer immediately , or several months of reading & research to find the answer, buried in papers written back in the 50-60s.
    Educated men do not necessarily get their learning from school [it helps], but from knowing who to ask when the answer eludes them , & not be a prima donna about what they know.
    A great mentor can find most answers .........but when they don't know...readily admit it, & call in re-enforcements....LOL

    PS: and remember this mantra:

    There are may ways to get the result sought, I think mine is ONE of the best But there are others just as good [maybe?] & I'm always ready to listen. Learning never stops, regardless of age.
    Fly safe & have fun! ;);)
     
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  21. Oct 17, 2018 #21

    BrAdam

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    True but I’ve had some horrible coaches in my life. ‘Today, more of the same, run 5 miles. But coach this is swimming. Doesn’t matter, run.’

    Some of the worst people I know for adapting to a population of people are old coaches set in their ways.

    Good thing you’re not old.
     
  22. Oct 17, 2018 #22

    rfjustin

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    It may not resonate with you today, but it will tomorrow, which is even with horrible coaches, you still learned something, yes? In my time spent in rocketry, college, and work, there is a lot of implicit education that is not to be taken for granted. Be thankful for every opportunity you to have to learn something.

    Some other advice that has been meaningful to me, surround yourself with great people that expect great things from you. You will be far more prepared and motivated to do great things. :)

    Good thing im not old? Seriously? Some of the best coaches/mentors/great people I know are old, so easy there sparky.
     
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  23. Oct 17, 2018 #23

    dr wogz

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  24. Oct 17, 2018 #24

    tfish

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    x2

    Tony
     
  25. Oct 17, 2018 #25

    ksaves2

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    Mentors...................... Make mistakes too!!! Never forget that.:confused:;) Kurt
     
  26. Oct 17, 2018 #26

    tfish

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    I sort of wanted to stay out of this thread. Only because I've seem some people "mentoring" that shouldn't be, for various reasons.
    After posting the above, it got me to thinking about what I think it means..

    My first thought was...what's the difference between a teacher and a mentor. I came up with... the mentee seeks out their mentors.
    I was a firefighter for 30 years and had guys I looked up to, valued and sought out their opinions. It was weird when guys started seeking out my advise.

    This past year I was the key note speaker at a STEM awards program. I was given the subject of "why am I a mentor".

    my short answer is...I like seeing, and being a part of, the kids "lights turning on". I'm not the smartest guy around and struggle at times learning things I'm interested in. Going to Paramedic school at 43 years old was extremely challenging for me. Until I realized the human body is a just like a piece of machinery and electricity, drugs and procedures are the "tools' that I have to fix it.

    sorry for rambling....I think it's the cough syrup typing..

    Tony
     
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  27. Oct 17, 2018 #27

    dr wogz

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    And, to a certain degree, we're all mentors (especially parents & teachers!)
     
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  28. Oct 19, 2018 #28

    proflaser

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    A mentor is the person who tells you that the package is not two bottles of epoxy, but is the two parts that you have to mix together.

    A mentor is the person who teaches you to use a flight simulation program, then tells you why it doesn’t predict the right altitude.

    A mentor is the person who tells you to use a larger area for your ground ejection charge test.

    A mentor is the person who graciously offers to drive you to most every launch.

    A mentor is the person who is available at all hours of the day to help.

    A mentor is the person who donates a box of rocket parts to get a 3rd grader started in the hobby.

    A mentor is the person who has to counsel a couple that started dating when the rocket team formed but has now broken up and they won’t do their work together.

    A mentor is the person who pulled on all the shock cords before flight, then helped re-glue the failures.

    A mentor is the person who brought binoculars and hiking boots to the launch.

    A mentor is the person who knows when the reloadable motor O-rings are ‘lightly greased’.

    A mentor is the person who has to keep a jerk on the team because they need his dad’s big workshop.

    A mentor is the person who has superglue debonder and knew you would need it.

    A mentor is the person who knows what a slide rule is but prefers the apps on a smart phone.

    A mentor is the person who almost sets the field on fire with a CATO'd N10,000 the first time you meet him.

    A mentor is the person who will keep you from holding the solder with your mouth while you are soldering, and particularly not to take a picture of it happening and put it in the presentation to NASA.

    A mentor is the person who always encourages you, and points you in the right direction in those "I know everything" or "I am way overambitious" moments.

    A mentor is the person who always has the right tool already in his range box.

    A mentor is the person who feels just as bad as you do when things go bad.

    A mentor is the person who feels just as excited as you do when things go well.
     
  29. Oct 19, 2018 #29

    jqavins

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    It seems to me that many of the replies have strayed from
    into "A mentor does..." It's not really the same thing.

    This is one third of the fundamental core, IMHO, of what a mentor is.
    With all due respect, I must disagree. A mentor may be a master of his/her craft who knows the state of the art through study and experience, even if he/she has done little or nothing to advance the craft.

    A mentor is not just a willing, but also an able teacher.
    A mentor to a particular mentee has already taught that mentee. To be a mentor requires a relationship. You can learn from a skilled teacher and expert, but it takes time for that person to become your mentor.

    That seems suspiciously specific. :p
     
  30. Oct 19, 2018 #30

    Andrew_ASC

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    I’ll vouch for CJ. He would joke with you at first to get your attention. Once he had your full attention he would show you step by step how something in rocketry is done then explain why it’s done this way or that way as he went along. Then he would quiz you to do what he just showed. This is a great teaching method for visual learners. He is always about five steps ahead of a new guy due to his vast experience. He also was humble enough to explain how a kid taught him how to strip motor starters with the alligator clips on the launch pad saying your never too old to learn. He’s also one heck of a lecturer if you get on his bad side about phrases like igniter instead of motor starter.
     

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