The right message in the right situation
- Using growth mindset language is difficult and can take some time to master, especially since your mentee can express a wide variety of opinions and feelings about their mindset, or react quite differently to different situations.
- This video illustrates some of the messages you can deliver about mindset in response to common situations you may face as a mentor. Common situations include:
- When a mentee is feeling challenged,
- When a mentee is putting in effort but is still struggling, and
- Praising your mentee for a success after putting in a strong effort and using good strategies.
- You can find additional scenarios and responses you can offer in the downloadable Planning and Activity Guide.
As a mentor, you will encounter multiple situations where you can encourage and reinforce a growth mindset; however, you may not yet be clear on what to say when confronted with a mentee who is struggling to persevere or who is not being challenged enough. This video illustrates some of the messages you can deliver about mindset in response to common situations you may face as a mentor.
Situation one: working with a mentee to accomplish a new learning challenge. In some cases, your mentee will come to you for help with a new learning challenge they encountered.
Remember challenges should be presented as exciting, as opportunities to grow and learn.
Having strategies for helping your mentee tackle challenges is vital.
If your mentee says to you:
“This project is too overwhelming. I don’t think I can do it.’
Here are a few responses you can share with your mentee to foster a sense of excitement and confidence around challenges.
Let’s take one step at a time that way we can see where we might need to focus more attention and time. It’s like a puzzle we can solve!
This is a great challenge! Your brain is going to get stronger as you work through the challenge.
You’ve got this! I have seen you learn challenging things in the past. What strategies helped you overcome those challenges? Could you use similar strategies to overcome this challenge?
Let’s look at another common situation. Situation two: working with a mentee who is putting in a great deal of effort, but still struggling.
If your mentee says to you:
“I’ve put in so much effort already. I don’t think I’m ever going to get this.’
Here are a few responses you can share with your mentee to provide support and encouragement to keep trying.
It looks like you have been trying to do it this way, and that hasn't worked so far. Let's step back and see if there's another way we can do it.
I'm glad you let me know that you're struggling - getting help is sometimes a good way to crack tough problems.
Let’s look at one final situation. Situation three: Praising when there has been success because of a strong effort and good strategies.
In addition to encouraging persistence along the way, it is important to acknowledge the effort once a new challenge is overcome and complete. Help mentees identify the strategies they’ve learned for tackling challenging situations or tasks.
Here are a few ways to acknowledge the effort your mentees have put into completing a goal or a task.
What do you think contributed to your success?
I saw you use a variety of techniques; well done!
The next time you have a challenge this big, what can you apply from this experience?
This video covered only a few ways to support your mentees in meeting challenges head on through specific words of encouragement. This toolkit contains other helpful ideas you can use to support your mentees in developing a growth mindset.