Monday 4 May 2015

MENTORING is now a Reality!

Mr. Raza Abbas, Director Student Affairs, Ziauddin University and Pioneer of Professional Career Counseling and Mentoring in Pakistan presented his new research paper on: "The Institutionalized Career Mentoring Model of a Private University in Pakistan” at The University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand at the Inaugural Transforming Together: Coaching and Mentoring Conference April 8-10, 2015. 


What do the world greatest leaders have in common? "They all had mentors". Virtually everyone who has become successful, achieved distinction in their field, or made a significant contribution to society can recall someone who helped them along the way. That's one reason why mentoring has becoming so popular in the business world, in educational settings: schools, colleges and universities. 

As Rey Carr - CEO of Peer Resources, an organization globally known for Mentoring shares:

“Mentoring is an inexpensive, yet powerful influence process where one person typically provides support, encouragement, and wisdom to another. Most people can recall someone in their life that was there for them at the right moment and provided the boost and juice to make a transition, deal with a difficult situation, solve a problem, or think through a plan for the future. And it's not unusual for a person going through or dealing with a life issue or challenge to seek out someone who has had a similar experience to act as a guide and coach. Either way the value of these informal relationships along with research on their impact has prompted thousands of organizations to implement more formalized mentoring programs or services.

In the only study of its kind in North America, over 70 percent of the most productive businesses in Canada reported some type of deliberate mentoring activities as part of their strategic planning. Many of these businesses have implemented formal mentoring programs to improve retention of employees, aid employees in career development, attend to leadership succession planning, and contribute positively to diversity and equity issues.”

Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners from across the globe recently congregated at The University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand at the Inaugural Transforming Together Coaching and Mentoring Conference. 

Mr. Raza Abbas Pioneer of Professional Career Counseling and Mentoring in Pakistan presented his new research on “The Institutionalized Career Mentoring Model of a Private University in Pakistan." His paper was peer reviewed and unanimously approved by the Scientific Committee. He shared the conceptualization of a pioneering mentoring model for university students at a private university in Pakistan. 

An Excerpt from his paper:
A pioneering institutionalized career mentoring model of a private university in Pakistan has been strategically and contextually developed keeping in view the socio-economic challenges of our youth. The institutionalized career mentoring model is an initiative which has been established with an aim of creating high quality mentoring programs for teachers and youth based on carefully researched needs of youth in the service sector.
Institutionalized career mentoring model highlights the key competencies of mentoring: initiate and foster relationships, establish a climate of peer support, model reflective teaching practices, apply and share effective classroom management strategies, encourage and nurture an appreciation of diversity, maintaining effective communication, fostering independence, promoting professional development and instilling hope all integrated in its mentoring programs.According to research studies on career mentoring in public and private education institutions in Pakistan, mentoring is taught at a very introductory level to faculty. It does not impart the requisite skill set to become an effective and trained career mentor.Moreover, there are hardly any educational institutions in Pakistan where career mentoring is practiced as part of policy. However, it is worthy to note that career mentoring is evolving slowly in developing countries (UNESCO). 
Qualitative case study method has been adopted in this paper. Individual and focus group interviews with the research participants were conducted as well. Difficulties were found with the lack of career mentoring knowledge to direct youth. Furthermore, teachers and career mentors are facing increasing demands; they need to identify the hidden competencies of the youth in order to consistently provide a support system of mentoring. 
By offering a holistic model and by educating and developing competent career mentors we are instilling and creating hope amongst the teacher and youth community. The institutionalized model caters to keen stakeholders in universities and has a sustainable impact on the educational institutions to instill hope amongst the youth. Career mentoring is providing the youth with the competitive edge in the Asian region.

He stated that mentoring is no longer a myth for students in Pakistan it has now become a necessity for them to thrive in the global economy. By having an institutionalized mentoring model it will bridge the gap between industry and academia and employers will receive skilled human resource which is currently a gap. Some of the key finding of the research was as follows: To strengthen the supply side of mentoring and employability practices by facilitating institutionalized career counseling and mentoring training for teachers at educational institutions. To improve the demand side by supporting students at all levels in making educated and informed career decisions. He further said that the corporate sector organizations should come forward and establish endowment chairs and allocate budgets for corporate social responsibility for institutionalized mentoring programs at educational institutions and initiate employee advising learning programs for their employees at their respective organizations. 
“I started off the mentoring session with a very demoralized mindset; currently my mindset is really very different and positive” reported one of several highly enthusiastic mentees in the study.
Another mentee reported: “I feel happy now I can save my career; I got a job in a Multi-National Organization!”
Like the car sticker that was popular a few years ago: "If you can read this, thank a teacher" the same sentiment is true for many of our accomplishments in life that came about as a result of mentoring. Find time to celebrate your current or past mentor, consider how you can or do mentor others, and make it possible for others to benefit from professional mentoring.

Mr. Raza may be reached at

Saturday 17 January 2015

Body Language: An Important Communication Tool

Body Language: An Important Communication Tool
(Adapted from an unknown source)

"The art of communication is the language of leadership."

Body language can make a big difference in your people skills, attractiveness and general mood. It is important for one to understand the etiquettes of using body language as it may be interpreted in several ways by the significant other.

Here are a few tips on how effective body language:


You must have read or heard earlier too that you should never cross your arms when at an interview or when communicating with seniors. Crossing arms are interpreted as being defensive or guarded. Keep your arms open.


If you are among a group of people, you must try maintaining eye contact with them to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Staring or keeping too much of eye contact while communicating might creep people out. On the other hand, having no eye contact might make you seem insecure.


When you feel tense it easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly. Do not slouch, sit up straight. Lean but not too much. If you want to show that you are interested in what is being said and are confident in yourself, just relax and lean back a bit. But do not lean back much. It might give impression of being arrogant. Similarly, don’t lean in too much as it might give an impression of being needy or desperate. While standing, don’t stand too close. Give people their personal space.


Nod once in a while to signal that you are listening, but don't overdo it.


Don't keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon. Lighten up, don't take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don't be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don't keep a smile plastered on your face, it will give impression of being insecure.


It might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation. Try to avoid showing nervousness such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You will seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements. Use your hands more confidently instead. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But don't use them too much or it might become distracting.


Often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good connection, you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. To make the connection better you can try a bit of proactive mirroring. If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If he puts hands in pocket, you might do the same. But don't react instantly and don't mirror every change in body language. Keep a balance.


Keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference.

Take a couple of these body languages into consideration when communicating next time. You will definitely create a positive impact on others leading your way to a successful relation with them.

© The blogger is an independent writer and works with Aga Khan Development Network

Monday 12 January 2015

The Anatomy of Leading a Successful Life

‘Good things rarely come quick and easy’.

As the lifestyle of human being is becoming increasingly competitive, it is becoming more important for them to accelerate themselves by being open to change, to be willing to learn, to come out of their comfort zone and to adapt.

While at a career counseling session, I recently met one of the participants who was desperate in need of job but was not willing to work at a location not nearby his home; his absolute reason defined as that he has been used to of working near his vicinity as it saves him time that is required for commuting.

There is a well-known Chinese proverb that says that wise adapt themselves to the circumstances. Having a mind-set to be comfortable with one’s own comfort zone fosters an attitude of helplessness, making it harder for them to progress. You can only grow when you step outside your fortress and venture into the wilderness. It is imperative for one to explore out of their discomfort, being adaptable to change and to understand the importance of learning.

Being willing to give up the familiarity of the known and able to adapt the behavior increases the ability to communicate and build relationships with other people.

I would like to present the example of a Chief Operating Officer of the Procter & Gamble Company, who spent much of the past two decades in various overseas postings. In his recent interview, he stated "I did not expect to live outside US for 15 years. The world has changed, so I had to change too. When you look at my biodata, foreign languages are not my best subjects. But when you move out of your culture, you have no option but to learn their culture and their language."

Such kind of willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone and learn continuously without complaining is a way of adapting to the change and definitely marks a key difference between a successful and unsuccessful human being.

© The blogger is an independent writer and works with Aga Khan Development Network