Elspeth Murray, 10 January 2016

I'm part of the Federation of Scottish Theatre's 2016 cohort of mentors on their

long-running Step-Up Mentoring scheme[/url]. It's great. So I have been thinking a lot

about the importance of holding space for people to think through their issues and

concerns. That's what I called this session and it was great to talk about the ways in

which we have felt the need for mentoring or support and the ways in which we have

been able to provide that to others.

I was just going to call it mentoring but something about the term made me wonder

about gender issues and a feminist perspective on listening and being listened to.

Hence womentoring. Which might be a word already … Yes, it’s a thing! Womentoring

in literature. Womentoring in EU citizenship.

Action learning sets, coaching, tea and chats, requests (via email or other means)

asking a specific person for specific help, being clear about expectations, networking

vs support vs feedback, nurturing relationships with helpful people, Mothers Who

Make, Time to Think, finding our own answers, elders … we touched on all of this.

We heard about The Gap Salon project as a forum for holding space about gender

and performance and sharing support and advice. There's a report here from a

previous D&D about their work.

When asked “What kind of mentor do you want?” someone said she kept hearing “Aim

higher.” Are we sometimes too modest in our requests and expectations?

When does

“I want to learn from you”


“I want to work with you”?

I briefly shared a set of cards I made to summarise my learning through the 3 days of

training that the FST mentoring course offers. There are some images below of these

cards (sorry if they're sideways on). The main thing is - listening with free attention ie

listening to understand and not listening to leap in with a clever comeback. And we

don't often get the chance for that.

Some of my cards outlined the ‘GROW model’ - (Goal, Reality, Options, Way forward).

I got an idea while we were talking about getting support over a coffee or a drink for

some mentoring merchandise - eg a pint glass that helps you work through the GROW

model during the course of a pint. Or a tea set. #bornindandd ;-)

My main take-home thing was about the connections between mentoring and the kind

of ‘pastoral support’ that might be offered through a formal religious setting. And about

the way these are both formalised things and wouldn't it be nice if we were all able to

listen to each other better more often informally?

There may be more notes to come. Please feel free to add, comment, etc! Thanks to

all who came.

Who was here: Tabitha Grove, Claire Symonds, Catherine Groom, Julie Cunningham,

Rachel Snape, Jenny Smith, Lucy Avery, Sofia Stephanon, Emma Stirling, Rebecca

Manson Jones, Beverly Ann, Jonathan Carr.


mentor, advice, coaching, pastoral support, coach, Networking, womentor,

#BornInDandD, mentoring, Advice, womentoring, Mentoring, networking