Each fellow candidate in the Cook Leadership Academy is paired with a community mentor for the academic year. The candidate and mentor work as a team, helping the candidate tap their potential and think about ways they can improve their leadership skills to best reach their goals. Mentors come from many sectors of the community including non-profit, business, and public backgrounds. Each is dedicated to supporting student learning by providing insights into our group of future community leaders.
“I just finished meeting with Matt, my mentor. He has been such a great support! Every time I leave from our meetings I feel so confident and happy! He has gave me great advice when I was feeling lost last year, going through the LSAT and now applying to law schools. Today he gave me a book on life and its different philosophies. I'm excited to start reading it! I wanted to share this with you so that you know the mentors really do make a positive impact on the fellows.”
Mentor Meeting Resources
2022-2023 Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy Competencies adapted from Dr. Corey Seemiller's Student Leadership Competencies
Mentor Modules adapted from Dr. Peter G. Northouse's Introduction to Leadership Concepts and Practice:
Session 1: "It's a Pleasure to Meet You"
The goal of this first session is for you to get acquainted with your mentor/mentee and to establish both goals and plans for communication and regular meetings going forward. Start by introducing yourselves to each other.
Session Two: "Conceptualizing Leadership"
Leadership is a combination of strengths (who you are) and abilities (skills you’ve learned) applied to specific circumstances and contexts (actual behaviors and interactions). Conceptualizing leadership as behavior also implies that leadership can be learned and taught. Your conceptualization of leadership is likely to affect the way you lead, so we’re going to spend some time developing that understanding.
Session Three: "Leadership Strengths"
Understanding our personal strengths – what comes naturally to us, and what we naturally excel at – is an important element of developing leadership skills. While it can also be somewhat difficult to discuss our strengths without feeling like we are boasting, honestly acknowledging areas of natural skill helps develop those talents more effectively. Likewise, acknowledging strengths similarly opens up the possibility to examine behaviors or tendencies that could be strengthened as well.
Session Four: "Personal Philosophy of Leadership & Leadership Style"
A conceptualization of leadership and an understanding of your leadership strengths helps inform and develop leadership style – the activities and behaviors that characterize your leadership interactions that in turn affect how others respond to you, and also determines your effectiveness as a leader. A leadership philosophy is essentially a guiding set of attitudes and beliefs about the nature of people and work. Your leadership philosophy guides your leadership style.
Session Five: "Handling Conflict"
Conflict is virtually inevitable in professional (and certainly personal) settings, and handling conflict is a rather universal leadership challenge. Conflicts can arise due to stress, communication styles, competing interests, problem solving approaches, and a host of other major and minor issues. In general terms, conflict can be divided into two camps: content (related to policies and procedures) and relational (over values, beliefs, control, goals).
If you’re already to this point, you’ve completed the first year mentoring curriculum and the academic year is quickly drawing to a close. As you prepare to conclude your mentoring partnership this year, we invite you to take some time to reflect on this experience and celebrate the conclusion of another academic year.