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All great mentors have this ONE skill. And, you can develop it too.

My PhD advisor, Professor Slawomir Kwasik, was an amazing mentor. Let me share an incident that taught me a very valuable lesson and changed my mindset.


One day in 1994, I went to him, after struggling to move ahead in my research for over a fortnight. It was becoming frustrating as I could not figure out the next step in the proof of a theorem. I admitted to him, "I have no idea what to do". He looked at me and asked, "Atul, did you shower today?" I was puzzled. I could not relate his question to my dilemma. But, I said, "Yes sir, I did." He further asked, "When you were taking the shower in the morning, were you thinking about this theorem?" I said, "No". He replied, "That's the reason why you are stuck."


I am sure you can decipher the message he gave me. I had to put in more effort to discover the next step. I did that. And, the joy of getting unstuck on my own was divine.


To this date, whenever I get stuck, I know that I need to put in more effort. Professor Kwasik deserves the credit for cultivating my growth mindset, much more than teaching me mathematics.



Characteristics of Growth Mindset

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, Stanford University, people with growth mindsets believe that "Intelligence can be developed". In comparison, people with fixed mindsets believe that "Intelligence is static". People with growth mindsets:

  • Embrace challenges

  • Persist in the face of setbacks

  • See effort as a path to mastery

  • Learn from criticism

  • Find lessons and inspirations from the success of others

Great mentors cultivate growth mindsets

The one common skill that all great mentors have is the ability to cultivate growth mindsets. They recognize effort. They help mentees to channelize their efforts to get optimum results. They truly believe and make their mentees believe that anything is achievable with effort.


If you are a school leader mentoring (not managing) your team you must cultivate a growth mindset in your faculty. If you are a teacher, you must cultivate a growth mindset in your students. If you are a parent, you must cultivate a growth mindset in your children.


But, you can't do this, till you also have a growth mindset.


NEP emphasizes mentoring skills

The NEP 2020 advocates that ALL teachers must develop mentoring skills. As a teacher, you must give students knowledge of your subject. But, this knowledge is not sufficient for them to succeed in life. Students must be prepared for success in life, for which a growth mindset is essential.


64th Friday@5: Cultivating Growth Mindset

If you want to cultivate a growth mindset in yourself and your mentees, your first step is to attend the 64th Friday@4 e-Convo. Continuing with our tradition of inviting the best global experts and practitioners, on 19th November 2021, we will listen to:

You can click on the links to study their LinkedIn profiles and connect with them.


To register for 64th Friday@5, click here.

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