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You are special. Has anyone ever told you that? We’re here to remind you of it. You are special, and people need you. Whether you’re a business guru, entrepreneur, academic, trainer, astronaut or traveller – you can be a mentor. There’s always someone who can benefit from your unique experience and perspective.
It isn’t your education or qualifications which make you a great mentor, it’s your personality, experiences and attitude. You might be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a Mum who has perfected the after-school pick up routine. Finding good mentors can tricky – but luckily for us, we just found one – you!
Every mentor encounter is highly personal – there is no one size fits all recipe. However, there are a few factors that will ensure you’re the best mentor you can be. And here they are:
A great mentor is committed to the relationship. Express your interest, get to know your mentee, get involved and as far as possible, stay involved for as long as they want you to. And always – but ALWAYS – do what you promise.
You know what they say about assumptions. Nothing good, that’s what. Don’t assume anything about your mentee – ask questions instead. Clarify your mentee’s vision for the mentorship relationship, their needs and their goals. Make sure you’re on the same page before you even open the book.
Listening is a much harder skill than speaking. Learn to utilise it in your mentorship relationship. Only give advice once you’ve spent a decent amount of time listening and seeking to understand.
As Aretha Franklin knew well, respect is key. Understand that no-one is the same, everyone has qualities and faces challenges and of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Being respectful is the first step toward a great mentoring career.
‘Practice makes perfect’, said every mother ever. Here at MentorSelector, we prefer, ‘patience makes perfect’. Every good mentoring relationship takes time. Be patient with your mentee and work at a pace they’re comfortable with.
Almost every relationship issue stems from unmet expectations. Usually these problem expectations have gone unspoken. There’s a super simple way to avoid this – speak them! Discuss expectations with your mentee from the word ‘go’. Mentors and career advisers flourish when expectations are aligned.
As a mentor, your life experience is in the spotlight. Your advice if undermined if you don’t follow it yourself. Be your best and be consistent.
Be willing to share your experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. A good mentor is willing to share their mistakes and regrets as readily as they share their victories. You may not realise this but your mistakes are often more powerful than your successes, in the life of your mentee.
Your mentee expects your discretion so keep your conversations private. Nothing erodes trust faster than a breach in confidentiality.
Be compassionate and kind. This is good rule for all of life and especially important in your role as a mentor.
To be a better mentor, keep the big picture in mind. Work with them as if you’ll be their mentor forever – this will make sure you’re keeping their long-term best interests at heart.
The best mentors are generous – not just with their time and expertise but with their resources too. What have you read, what have you heard, what have you attended, who do you know? Whatever resources you have available, share them freely with your mentee.
The greatest mentors are those who pay attention. If your mentee wants to break into the acting world, keep your eyes peeled for opportunities, classes and connections at local theatres. If they want to improve their public speaking skills, look out for helpful articles to send their way. Pay attention and be on the look out on their behalf.
We’re always here to help you become a better mentor so you can help your mentee become better! It’s a big cycle of give and take. That’s why MentorSelector is brimming with resources to help you along your mentorship journey. Check out these tips from some of our mentors: