The National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) encourages all Applicants for certification to have a Mentor to assist them throughout the certification process. The mentoring program provides support and guidance to individuals whose goal is to achieve certification through the NACC. Participation in the program is encouraged, but not mandatory. All mentors are NACC board certified chaplains who have renewed certification at least one time. Mentors serve on a voluntary basis.
In order to find a mentor:
- Login to your member profile on the NACC website
- Click on the Member Directory
- Search for members with BCC or BCC-E after their name
- Contact the person and request mentorship
An Applicant may work with a mentor of their own choosing. A mentor and an Applicant are encouraged to set mutually agreed upon guidelines for their relationship, including frequency, length and place of meetings. The content of what is to be shared between a mentor and an Applicant is left to the determination of both parties, but clearly relates to preparation for interviewing with a certification interview team. It is the decision of an Applicant whether or not to share written application materials (competency essays, autobiography, etc.).
All communications between a mentor and an Applicant are confidential. It is entirely up to an Applicant if he/she wishes to share any of the mentoring process with the certification interview team.
A mentor may not serve on an Applicant’s interview team or participate in any Commission, Committee, or Panel action related to the mentee’s certification. It is contrary to the NACC Code of Ethics for a mentor to have any conversation with any member of the NACC, including members of the Board, Commissions, Committees, or Panels about an Applicant’s process of preparation, his/her fitness for certification, or any part of his/her NACC certification experience.
If an Applicant’s request for board certification is denied and the Applicant is recommended for a second appearance, he/she is strongly encouraged to work with a mentor before meeting with another committee. If the Applicant is considering an Appeal of a denial of board certification, he/she is strongly encouraged to work with his/her mentor during this discernment.
The Volunteer Mentor-Certification Applicant Relationship
Benefits of Serving as a Mentor
The Mentor-Applicant relationship can often provide energy and increased motivation to the mentor. The opportunity can be invigorating to the ongoing self-development of the mentor, and movement toward new insights and perspectives. Often, the mentoring relationship leads to improvement in communication skills. Mentors often enjoy positively influencing the next generation of spiritual care providers. PLEASE NOTE: You can claim this activity as “Volunteer in service to NACC” for up to 15 CEU hours per year for renewal of certification requirements.
Benefits of Being Mentored
Persons being mentored gain insight from another’s vision, experience and learning. They are less isolated and have more access to professional resources. The Mentor-Applicant relationship can be the start of an enduring professional relationship, expanding the Applicant’s network among professional chaplains.
Qualities of an Effective Mentor for the Certification Process
All competent professional chaplains do not necessarily make effective mentors. Whether or not an individual is suited to the role of mentor may depend on his or her own stage of development and experience. The qualities which are essential in an effective mentor for the certification process include:
- A Desire to Assist Prospective Chaplains – Persons who are interested in and willing to enhance the growth, knowledge and skill of persons new to chaplaincy/certification.
- Positive Experiences – Persons who have had positive formal or informal experiences with a mentor and with the certification process.
- Time and Energy – Persons who have time and holistic energy to devote to a mentor relationship.
- Up-to-date Knowledge – Persons who have renewed certification at least once, remain up-to-date in their spiritual care skills, and are familiar with current certification competencies.
- Learning Disposition – Persons who remain willing and able to learn and who see the potential benefits of a mentoring relationship.
- Demonstration of Effective Mentoring Skills – Persons who demonstrate effective listening, coaching, editing, and facilitation skills.
Qualities of a Certification Applicant as an Effective Mentee
- Focused on achieving certification
- Accepts feedback and acts upon it
- Willing to reflect with mentor
- Communicates and works cooperatively with others
- Personal responsibility for and commitment to completing the certification process
- Available to meet (in person or remotely) on a regular basis
Possible Pitfalls in Mentoring
- Mismatch between Mentor and Mentee
- Inability to terminate and refer if possible if the relationship is a mismatch
- Unrealistic Expectations, such as time commitment and outcome(s)
- Breaches of Confidentiality
- Over-functioning -doing the work of the mentee
- Failure to Challenge the mentee to reflect, demonstrate integration, and provide specific examples from praxis
- Ineffective Communication