Mentoring In Practice

We’ve got the resources and basic information about mentoring. Now what? 

Listed under this page is information related to mentoring in practice. Many times, we have the resources we need but don’t know where to begin. Hopefully, the items I have listed here will help you begin your mentoring journey.

Learning Styles

Many people are familiar with the different learning styles – Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Visual. I have provided a visual here from the Education Corner. They also have an article with a comprehensive summary of the different learning styles and how you can discover your learning style.

Our learning styles are important because they indicate which activities and actions we can do to learn more effectively. Our learning style can also dictate which career path we should undertake and what hobbies or skills we should try. Take the quiz from the Education Corner to test your learning style!

Personality Types

I have taken both the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and the Enneagram test. According to the Myers-Briggs assessment, I am an ISFJ-T or a Defender in the Sentinel category. This means I am more likely to be introverted, observant, use my feelings to make decisions, use judging tactics for work, planning, and decision-making, and have a more turbulent identity, meaning I’m not as assertive. According to the Enneagram test, I am a Type One, which means I strive for perfection. I want to follow rules, and I like having order.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, there are 16 personality types, divided into four categories.


Nine Enneagram types are divided into three main categories: Heart Types, Head Types, and Body Types. Heart types depend on emotional intelligence, Head types depend on intellectual intelligence, and Body types depend on their instinctual intelligence. The nine types are listed below. 

Heart Types

Type Two - The Giver

Twos want to be liked and find ways that they can be helpful to others so that they belong. This type fears being unlovable. Read more about Twos.

Type Three - The Achiever

Threes want to be successful and admired by other people and are very conscious of their public image. Type Threes fear failure and not being seen as valuable by other people. Read more about Threes.

Type Four - The Individualist

Fours want to be unique and to experience deep, authentic emotions. Type Fours fear they are flawed and are overly focused on how they are different from other people. Read more about Fours.

Head Types

Type Five - The Investigator

Fives seek understanding and knowledge and are more comfortable with data than other people. The biggest fear of the Type Five is being overwhelmed by their own needs or the needs of other people. Read more about Fives.

Type Six - The Skeptic

Sixes are preoccupied with security, seek safety, and like to be prepared for problems. For the Type Six, the greatest fear is being unprepared and unable to defend themselves from danger. Read more about Sixes.

Type Seven - The Enthusiast

Sevens want to have as much fun and adventure as possible and are easily bored. Type Sevens fear experiencing emotional pain, especially sadness, and actively seek to avoid it by staying busy. Read more about Sevens.

Body Types

Type Eight - The Challenger

Eights see themselves as strong and powerful and seek to stand up for what they believe in. The greatest fear of the Type Eight is to be powerless, so they focus on controlling their environment. Read more about Eights.

Type Nine - The Peacemaker

Nines like to go with the flow and let the people around them set the agenda. Type Nines fear pushing people away by prioritizing their own needs, and they tend to be passive. Read more about Nines.

Type One - The Perfectionist

Ones place a lot of emphasis on following the rules and doing things correctly. Type Ones fear being imperfect and can be extremely strict with themselves and others. Read more about Ones.

Strengths Assessment

I took the High5 Strengths test. My results were deliverer, optimist, empathizer, storyteller, and philomath.

In order from greatest to least, my strengths are as follows. I am a responsible person who always sees the positive but can empathize with others’ struggles. I am charismatic with my words and try to say the right thing, and I love learning.

I think these are very good strengths to have as a mentor. As a mentor, I take responsibility for my mentee’s learning and remain positive even when they don’t understand something or need additional assistance. I always have topics or activities prepared for my students. I can empathize with their struggles in the interpreting process and help them work through those emotions. There are many correct answers to one question in the interpreting world, and for Type A people like myself, this can be very difficult. We want one answer, but that’s not always the case. I am able to understand their feelings and coach them out of the box. I’m also open to learning new things, so I am willing to learn from my mentee instead of viewing them as “lesser” than me. I believe we can always learn from others, even if they are less experienced.

I know from personal experience that I am a people pleaser. I also know that I sometimes take responsibility too much, meaning if someone else is supposed to do the work and they are not, I will more than likely take up the slack and do it for them. As a mentor, this is going to be challenging for me. The point of the mentor/mentee relationship is not to always have a happy time and for everyone to get along. Having a mentor means you are willing for them to tell you the hard truths about yourself and listen. Sometimes that requires the mentor to be honest and not seek to please. When we give feedback, we must be willing to say, ‘Here’s what I noticed. You need to improve these things because they can impact you later.’ We cannot be people pleasers when trying to coach and lead people. I also cannot take the slack if my mentee does not make the effort. If they don’t do the work, I can’t do it for them. I can’t learn their needed information; that’s their job. If they don’t put in the effort, I have to accept that instead of trying to make up excuses for them. The last thing that might be challenging for me is my strength in storytelling. I tend to talk a lot when I teach, tutor, mentor, have a conversation, etc. While this is great when giving a workshop or teaching a class, it may be a struggle during one-on-one mentor/mentee time. I need to listen to my mentee and let them talk. I need to catch myself, not take over the conversation and know there is strength in silence.

High5 Test

The High5 test is scientifically validated and discovers your top 5 strengths. It will show your skills, how you are energized, and how you construct meaning. These strengths can be immediately applied to your relationships, workplace, and more.

CliftonStrengths Assessment

The CliftonStrengths Assessment analyzes you for 34 strengths. There are four main domains and several strengths under each domain.

Strategic Thinking

Relationship Building



Forms and Activities

In this section, I provide some forms and activities one can use while mentoring and tutoring/teaching. Some of them I have designed and some of them are templates.

Mentoring Partnership Agreement Sample

This document sets rules and expectations for the partnership, outlines the mentee’s goals, and when meetings will occur. This is an agreement I used with a virtual mentoring relationship.

Personal Mentoring Goals

These are my personal mentoring goals for a recent virtual mentoring relationship. They are outlined as SMART goals.

Private Lessons Registration Form

My company uses this form for registration for private lessons. It can be used to gauge a mentee’s goals and skills.

Evaluation Form

This is an evaluation form I created for the ASL classes my company offers. It can be used as a template for mentees to evaluate mentors/mentoring process or for groups to evaluate courses.

My Mentoring Philosophy

"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."

This quote refers to the pianoforte or piano. It is a beautiful instrument with the ability to produce such chords as major, minor, augmented, and diminished. It can produce musical tones that draw out our deepest hurts and fears or remind us of our greatest joys. However, it cannot do it alone. A pianist must sit down and play for the piano to produce magnificent sounds. Thus is born a great partnership. Without a piano, a pianist is no pianist at all. Without a pianist, a piano can produce no music. Together, they form an inseparable duo. They both bring something to the partnership that the other cannot; consequently, something new is born. Similarly, for a mentoring relationship to produce great ‘music,’ there must be a partnership where each participant brings something to the table.

At the heart of the pianoforte are its many keys- A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab. As mentors, the heart of our mentoring relationship relies on respect, commitment, honesty, trust, confidence, willingness to change, learning, critical thinking, openness, relevance, support, and self-awareness. Just like combining various keys creates a harmonious chord by which we build progressions and songs, so does combining elements of the mentoring relationship. As a mentor, I seek to transport my mentee from the individual keys to create chords that resonate in their life.

I believe mentoring is a process of collaboration between two or more people. When playing piano, both members gain something- the pianist gains practice, satisfaction, and release. The piano that yearns for music receives tonally and melodically combined chord progressions that linger in the atmosphere. Similarly, mentoring is a place where both players seek to gain something. The mentor gains new experiences, learns from the other person’s struggles and hardships, and creates a new sense of diversity and self-awareness. The mentee seeks to gain knowledge, skills, and experience. By combining their unique experiences, common goals, and skill sets, the two people will transform their learning into something directly applicable to their personal and career development. Becoming fully developed in our careers and personal lives requires respect and appreciation for various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

As a mentor, I will seek to involve my students in a mutually beneficial relationship full of trust and respect. I aim to guide my students and produce intrinsically motivated individuals who value diversity in opinions, cultures, and languages. I aim to become self-aware, emotionally intelligent, and culturally competent to best understand and relate to my students and foster their learning appropriately. As a mentor, I see myself as the pianist with the knowledge and skills to create beautiful music. My mentee is the piano on which the music of our relationship is borne. However, I am just one pianist. I see myself as a stepping stone in my students’ growth as individuals and professionals. There will be many pianists that will sit down at the piano throughout its life. I understand that my embodiment as a mentor does not require me to be the most knowledgeable interpreter, as I am one of the many resources available to my students, not the culmination of all their learning.

My mentoring practice and objectives can best be defined through Knowles’ four andragogy principles. I understand that adult learners need to be actively and directly involved with planning and learning and that their goals must be immediately applied to practice. Mentors best enhance learning by combining our life experiences with our students’ experiences and directly relating content to real-world problems. I aim to lead my students from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence by fostering their sense of self-awareness. I keep my students at the center of their learning by respecting their wishes and goals, helping them define their learning objectives and evaluating their progress, and constantly challenging them to strive for more. I listen, support, and challenge them while reflecting on my biases and assumptions and keeping an open mind to new possibilities. I encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and confidence and use constructive feedback to help my students improve. I connect with my students personally, getting to know their strengths, weaknesses, and the many contexts they bring, empowering them to advocate for their needs. I am honest, respectful, and responsive, keeping content relevant and allowing my students to feel comfortable making mistakes. I expect my students to be prepared and understand that they are ultimately in charge of their learning.

Pianists have varying levels of competence, which is also applicable among mentors. At the beginning of your journey as a pianist, you will strike many wrong notes and chords, make numerous mistakes, and there may be an awkward feeling of incompetence for a while. As you progress, you will make fewer mistakes, find that the music is becoming more harmonious, and that your responses to change become more automatic. As I am new to the mentoring journey, I understand I will make mistakes, make wrong decisions, and I may feel awkward and incompetent. However, I know that as I progress as a mentor, I will learn new skills and techniques that will improve my ability to create beautiful music with my mentee.

My Colleagues/Mentors

My Parents

My parents were my first mentors and encouragers. Some of the lessons I learned were:

- Dreams take time to come to fruition. Don't give up on them, no matter how long it takes. ​
- Once you make a decision, stick by it. ​
- If you have a dream, do it.

Dana Felps

One of my first mentors in the field of interpreting, Dana also later served as my boss. A lot of my signing styles and ways of thinking come from her insight. She taught me:

- Ask lots of questions. There's no one 'right' way to do things.

Lana Swint

A mentor during a very rough time in my life, Lana was a smart, inspiring youth pastor's wife. The wisdom I gained from her has helped me in many areas:

- People you love sometimes see things in your life that you can't. Listen to their advice. ​- Even if you mess up, it doesn't mean you're disqualified.

Jessica Wood

Jessica is my sister-in-law, but served as a mentor for me as well. Here's the lesson I learned from her: ​

- Sometimes circumstances and situations bring out the worst in us. Be smart enough to move on when you see this happening.

Kara Pugh

One of my most recent mentors, Kara has helped me gain understanding through her experiences. She has showed me: ​

- Don't trust your assumptions. Trust God and the people you love to show you the right way.

Trix Bruce

Trix Bruce is a resource I have listed on this site, but she is also my mentor. She is Deaf, and an expert in semantics. I highly recommend her to any ASL students or working interpreters to improve your conceptual interpretations.

Questions to Ask Mentees

  • What type of feedback encourages you to improve upon yourself (straight to the point, sandwich method, self reflection with my comments at the end, etc.)?
  • What type of feedback discourages you?
  • In your sample interpretations, what are 2-3 things you notice that you do well?
  • What are 1-2 things you notice are areas for improvement?
  • Why do you think you did these things well, or that they need improvement?
  • How do you think is the best way to improve upon those areas?
  • What methods or strategies could you employ to improve?
  • After showing my mentee videos of experienced interpreters, I would like to ask them this: What do you notice these interpreters do well?
  • What sets them apart from an ‘average’ interpreter?
  • What parts of this interpretation would you like to implement in your work?
  • What area(s) do you see where this interpretation could be clearer?
  • What type of interpreting work intrigues you the most, and why (medical, legal, K-12, etc.)?
  • What can you do now to help prepare you to interpret in that field?
  • What are your specific goals for the next ten years in the interpreting field?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What education level do you want to achieve?
  • How do you want to positively impact the field?
  • How can I help you achieve these goals or inspire you?
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