What Makes A Mentor? Six Steps to Getting Started
Posted on 03 July 2017
I’ve spent so much time speaking with reporters lately about bully bosses, unethical CEO’s, and unhappiness at work, that it’s time to talk about something truly tremendous: a mentor. Where would I be without my mentors? Living in a van down by the river; that’s where!!
Have you had it on your heart and mind to mentor? Please consider making the commitment to enriching someone’s life. Still on the fence? Ask yourself these questions. If the answers are yes, then you are ready and able to be a mentor!
1. Do you want to share your knowledge?
2. Do you enjoy encouraging/motivating others?
3. Are you comfortable asking uncomfortable questions?
4. Do you have time for the investment?
5. What type of person do you want to mentor?
6. What areas do you feel are your best strengths?
The next question to ask yourself is who would make a good mentee? The following traits are indicative of an individual who is highly absorptive in their attitude and actions. They want to transform and evolve to a higher version of themselves. Make sure your potential protégé answers each of these questions. If the student isn’t ready, no amount of input is going to affect change.
2. Open to realizing they don’t already know it all
3. Willing to make the time investment
4. Willing to show the initiative to enact suggestions
5. Sponge Mentality – eager to absorb new knowledge/perspective/ideas
6. Willing to take the time to ponder tough new questions
In his book Integrity, Dr. Henry Cloud lists six traits of mentoring.
1. The ability to connect authentically
2. The ability to be oriented toward the truth
3. The ability to work in a way that gets results and finishes well
4. The ability to embrace, engage, and deal with the negative
5. The ability to be oriented toward growth
6. The ability to be transcendent
I am such a fan of being both a mentor and a mentee because they each provide clarity. As a mentee, you get to work with someone who is your encourager, your cheerleader, your truth sayer. Someone who will be honest with you, wants your success as much as you do and is helping you forge action plans to get you there. They help you figure out the why, which fires up the engine that gets everything in motion. My father, Charlie “T” Jones, used to say, “Knowing how lets you drive it; knowing why lets it drive you.” Mentors get you to the “why”.
And if you find that special someone who you can call your mentee, you are both in for a tremendously transformative adventure. As a mentor, it’s not necessary for you to have it all figured out. You just have to have traveled further down the path than your mentee. With several of my Next Chapter Consulting clients, I am six months to a year ahead of where they are. This makes it extra exciting for me as I race back from the front lines to share with them what’s ahead. And then there are those clients I work with as part of The Legacy Project, where I’m a few decades of experience ahead of them and I can reflect back on how the once seemingly disjointed pieces of life all build your autobiographical canvas. Benjamin Disraeli said, "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." Truer words were never spoken.
Want to learn more? Be sure and listen to my free webinar Season of Leadership: Mentoring. It contains some tremendous tips on mentoring.