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Reflective Practices and Mentoring








I am a firm believer in the art of reflection. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not reflecting on something that has happened or is about to happen. I see it as part of my continuous learning. As a mentor and a leader I must always be striving to grow on a personal and professional basis.

Let’s take a look at what the definition is of reflective practices. It is defined as the ability to reflect on one’s actions as to engage in a process of continuous learning. It involves “paying critical attention to the practical values and theories which inform everyday actions, by examining practice reflectively and reflexively”.

Formative evaluation is a method for judging the worth of a program while the program activities are in progress. I always want to make sure that I am bringing value to a mentoring relationship. By using the reflective process I can challenge myself to make sure that the process I am using is bringing value not only to the person that I am spending time with in a mentoring relationship but also for myself. It is a two way trusted relationship.

The reflective practice has huge benefits in increasing self-awareness, which is a key component of emotional intelligence, and in developing a better understanding of others. It can help you in the development of or the enhancement of critical thinking skills and encourages active engagement in work processes. A person who reflects throughout his or her practice is not just looking back on past actions and events, but is taking a conscious look at emotions, experiences, actions and responses, and using that information to add to their knowledge base and reach a higher level of understanding.

The reflective process can be as simple as you answering the following questions, 1) what went well, 2) what didn’t go well and 3) what will we do differently next time. Reflection must be done regularly especially when you are presented with a learning opportunity. Forward reflection involves the use of visualization to actually visualize a meeting or event that is forthcoming. As you visualize you are thinking of the questions that you may be asked in the meeting or event that you are attending. This type of forward planning provides you with the skills to be able to think a lot quicker on your feet.

The reflective process is something that we all need to build into our daily routine. I find myself using both forward reflection and reflecting back as part of my ongoing continuous learning. There is not a time where I have left a mentoring session that I have not had some sense of growth personally and/or professionally as a result of reflecting.

Take the time to get comfortable with the reflective process and then make it a part of your daily routine. It is an integral part of “The Gift of Mentoring.”


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflective_practice
  2. https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/reflective-practice.html