In a previous post i believe i talked about a mentoring relationship that ended sadly for me. It is the inspiration for my research into mentoring in the Leather community and for writing of this post as a hopeful mentee. i hope you enjoy it, feel motivated by it, and work toward developing and implementing an organized mentoring program within Y/your Leather organization and/or community.
Mentor – a Dominant, or boy, who acts as a trusted counselor or guide
Mentee – the boy, or Dominant, who with a mentor works to achieve H/his Leather BDSM goals
Mentoring in the Leather BDSM/Kink community is a powerful development tool that can enable the M/mentee to achieve or exceed H/his goals and aspirations in becoming a knowledgeable and skilled leatherboy or Dominant. The role of a M/mentor is multi-faceted, can be either formal or informal, and may change or evolve as the needs or goals of the M/mentee evolve.
What does a mentor do?
Depending upon the M/mentee’s needs, a M/mentor:
Shares knowledge and life experiences, skills, expertise and time
Provides guidance and advice
Shows a genuine interest in the M/mentee’s questions, concerns, apprehensions
Is open and honest at all times
Discusses goal setting & assists in developing the M/mentee’s goals Advises on personal development within the Leather community
Identifies resources in the Leather BDSM Community
Helps to develop skills and increase experiences
Provides insight into Leather culture
Can provide exposure and visibility within an organization & the community
Advises on networking and networking opportunities
May introduce to important contacts
May serve as a sounding board for the M/mentee May serve as P/protector to prevent interaction with unsafe people/situations Is accessible
Motivates the M/mentee toward H/his full potential in the Leather community
Assists the M/mentee in avoiding mistakes and learning from good decisions
Guides the M/mentee to self-determination of H/his right course of action
Is a positive role model
Provide constructive feedback honestly and openly
Is a Cheerleader
Edited from http://www.mentorcity.com
Qualities of a Successful mentee include:
The M/mentee establishes a personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time. The M/mentee has to want to be a full partner in the mentoring connection and be invested, over the long haul, to reach H/his goals.
T/they prepare and do the appropriate “homework” for meetings with T/their M/mentor.
T/they work to gain the skills, knowledge, and abilities to grow.
T/they are flexible. Successful M/mentees recognize that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. T/they listen to T/their M/mentor, and consider new options.
T/they take initiative, seeking the M/mentor’s advice when needed.
T/they focus on the goal, not getting lost in the process.
T/they recognize that mentoring is only ONE development tool. M/mentors can save time plus inspire, teach, and encourage the M/mentee. T/they can be excellent role models for what the M/mentee wants to do and become.
T/they realize that T/they can also learn from many other sources. By recognizing that T/they can benefit from a variety of sources, perspectives and styles – even those quite different from T/their own – T/they open T/themselves up to new ideas, valuable information, and a wide range of viewpoints. T/they may have one or more M/mentors as part of T/their overall personal development strategy.
T/they know and are able to discuss T/their needs and objectives with the M/mentor. This means that T/they must look inside T/themselves to identify areas that may need work and share them with the M/mentor.
T/they have the ability to listen and to accept different points of view. The M/mentee needs to be able to receive feedback and look at the situation from the M/mentor’s perspective to gain a more objective viewpoint. One of the biggest values of the mentoring connection is the ability to have a more experienced person’s viewpoint. The M/mentee has to be willing to try new things, to consider different ways of getting “to there from here.”
Counterproductive Mentee behaviors: Twelve Habits of Toxic Mentee
A light-hearted look at how not to be a mentee:
Bring to the first formal meeting a long shopping list of things you want the M/mentor to do for you
Expect the M/mentor to be available for Y/you, whenever Y/you want T/them
Regard the M/mentor as Y/your prime source of gossip to pass on
Expect the M/mentor always to have the answer
Expect the M/mentor to decide when to meet and what to talk about
Boast about the relationship to your colleagues at every opportunity
Never challenge what the M/mentor says, thinking H/he knows best
Blame the M/mentor whenever advice doesn’t work out thinking H/he should have known better!
Treat mentoring sessions as mobile – the easiest item to reschedule at the last minute
Use the opportunity of the mentoring session to moan or whine about lack of progress
Make it clear to the M/mentor that Y/you want to be just like T/them – adopt T/their style of speaking, dress and posture
Never commit to doing anything as a result of the mentoring session.
Edited from http://www.pcaddick.com
Successful Goal Setting for the M/mentee
Establishing clear goals is the key to helping Y/you discover what Y/you want to achieve out of Y/your new mentoring relationship. It’s a critical step in defining Y/your work with Y/your new M/mentor and mapping out Y/your efforts moving forward.
To help Y/you get started, here are six suggestions designed to focus Y/your thinking so Y/you’re prepared for Y/your initial goal-setting conversations.
1) Clarify what Y/you want to accomplish.
Ask Y/yourself: what is the one bottleneck that’s stopping Y/you from reaching Y/your goal as it pertains to successful acclimation into the Leather community/lifestyle? The answer to this question will illuminate Y/your core problem, providing a critical piece of information that Y/you and Y/your mentor can use to build Y/your future goals around.
Y/you may start with a simple answer, like “I/i don’t know enough (or anything) about the Leather BDSM/Kink world,” but that only speaks to the broad issue and not the root cause. Push Y/your thinking a little further to arrive at a more specific answer, like “I/i want to be knowledgeable about Leather protocols and experienced in BDSM activities as a submissive.”
A focused answer like this clearly articulates Y/your objectives and makes it easier for Y/you and Y/your mentor to develop the appropriate goals—in this case, learning proper interaction with Leather Dominants and with other submissives in a Leather social situation and in a broader, general society context, and identifying those activities I/i am interested in experiencing and identifying the Dominants or submissives who can help M/me in achieving this goal.
2) Make sure Y/your goals align with reality.
Next, it’s important to assess whether or not Y/your goals are feasible given Y/your circumstances.
Ask Y/yourself the following questions:
Do Y/you have the time and resources available to meet this goal?
Are Y/you fully dedicated to achieving this goal?
Are Y/you aware of the sacrifices this goal will require and are Y/you willing to make them?
Based on these answers, think critically about whether or not Y/your goal is realistic. This is a great conversation for Y/you to have with Y/your M/mentor, as T/their Leather BDSM/Kink experience can provide thoughtful insights to help Y/you gauge the feasibility of Y/your goal.
3) Determine Y/your benchmarks for success.
Now that Y/you’ve set your goals, it’s important to define what success would look like to Y/you. Think about the specific items that would indicate success to Y/you—e.g., successful and comfortable interaction with Sirs and boys at Leather events, and when encountered in public, and having experienced Y/your top 5 BDSM activities within a predetermined period of time.
Consider what achieving these benchmarks has looked like up to now and share this information with Y/your M/mentor. Work together to set numerical targets for each goal, like attending 3 classes on BDSM within 5 months. That is a specific, realistic and attainable goal that can be measured.
Setting these benchmarks early provides a great way to track Y/your progress, telling you exactly how you’re doing at a glance.
4) Set a realistic timeline.
Now that Y/you’ve worked with Y/your M/mentor to define Y/your goals, key metrics, and targets, it’s time to set a schedule for achieving them. Y/you may already have a deadline in mind, but Y/you should work with Y/your M/mentor to make sure Y/your timeline is realistic.
Start by asking Y/yourself the following questions:
When are Y/you prepared to start?
How much time can Y/you commit to Y/your goals each day, week, and month?
Based on these answers, work with Y/your M/mentor to assign a date to the goals Y/you’ve established—for example, attending one Enforced Dress Code at XYZ Leather bar by January 31, 2017. Make sure Y/you set a timeline that’s long enough for the goal to be realistic, but short enough for Y/you to stay motivated.
5) Define strategies and map out the path to success.
At this point, Y/you have a target and deadline in place, so now it’s time to work with Y/your M/mentor to define the actionable steps that will help you reach the goal. This is an area where Y/your M/mentor’s advice will be invaluable, as T/they may have ideas Y/you hadn’t even considered.
Work as a team to determine your overall strategy. For example, if your goal is to experience flogging, the steps Y/you might take are:
- Discuss Y/your desire to flog or be flogged with Y/your M/mentor
- Discuss any prior experience Y/you’ve had, positive & negative
- Talk to other Doms and subs about T/their experiences, good and bad
- Take a class on flogging
- Learn about the different materials that floggers are made of
- Identify a Dom or sub in the community who will help Y/you achieve this experience
- Develop a rapport with that person to gain insight into how much force can be used during the flogging, whether Y/you are the Dom or the sub
- Flog or get flogged, or both
6) Track Y/your progress frequently.
Once Y/you’ve put Y/your plan in place, be sure to track Y/your progress using the benchmarks Y/you established with Y/your mentor. When Y/you can see how close or far way Y/you are from hitting a target, it can be extremely motivating and encouraging. This will keep Y/you on the path toward achieving Y/your goals.
Y/your first goal-setting meeting can seem daunting, but by following these best practices, Y/you’ll ensure a productive, focused meeting with Y/your new M/mentor. Spend time working through these exercises in advance, so Y/you can come to the table prepared and get the greatest benefit from Y/your M/mentor’s time. Y/your mentoring partnership will be unique, so feel free to use our suggestions as a guide for developing a goal-setting process that makes the most sense for Y/you.
Starting a Mentoring Culture in your Organization or Community
Ensure that your mentoring program aligns well with your organization’s values, mission, and goals.
Organizational leadership must support your mentoring program.
Appreciate the importance of your mentoring program and allocate the resources and time required to support it. Educate interested members in the art of successful mentoring relationships and in methods of developing goals that are specific, measurable and attainable.
Ensure that your mentoring program is highly visible in your organization. Talk about mentoring and its benefits regularly to the members participants.
Create value for your mentoring program. Encourage members to participate in the mentoring program and as a result they will become champions of the program.
Support the confidentiality of the mentor/mentee relationship.
Let’s build a strong, supportive, educated, and experienced Leather BDSM/Kink community in South Florida and throughout the country!
As always Y/your comments, criticism and suggestions are greatly appreciated.