You are a mentor.
If you are a leader, manager, friend or parent… you are a mentor.
Being a mentor is an absolute privilege and one of the best personal development tools ever!
Having a great mentor can allow you to see the world differently and accelerate your skill set and knowledge vastly. Being a great mentor can transform your capability, understanding and level of fulfilment in your life.
As I stated in the title, you are already a mentor – therefore it is good practice to take your role seriously – Here are the top five attributes a great mentor will always have:
Be a servant
Mentoring should never be about the mentors ego! It is very attractive to be seen as the very knowledgeable mentor, who has all the answers. The fact of the matter is, the mentee already has the right answers… They just need help. The mentor has to share their experiences and ask great questions, for the service of the mentee, not for their own ego.
The best mentors care, so they give their absolute focus and attention to the mentee during their conversations. There is a lot of literature on active listening, however the single defining factor of listening well is caring and giving your absolute focus. Great mentors do this every time.
We are all human: we all perceive things differently and would act in different ways in different situations. The worst thing a mentor can ever do is compare and judge the mentee’s actions and thought process against their own. The only outcome from this is to allow the mentor to feel superior and the mentee to feel inferior. Not a great format for a positive mentor relationship!
There are courses you can pay a fortune to go on that will teach you listening and questioning skills. What these courses teach you are the skills that come naturally when you are genuinely interested and curious. If you enter a conversation with a desire to learn as much as you can about the other individual, you will actively listen… you will ask brilliant questions… you will be able to go deeper and quicker than you can imagine, just by being curious.
For a mentoring relationship to work, both parties have to trust and respect each other. To attain these virtues, both parties will need to be genuine and authentic. Being a mentor isn’t about being a perfect teacher and giver of wisdom. Rather, it is about being human, showing vulnerability and giving the best advice you can from both your successes and mistakes.