“A mentor is not someone who walks ahead of us to show us how they did it. A mentor walks alongside us to show us what we can do.”
One of the greatest things that we can do is become a mentor for someone else. This can be for a student, a colleague at work or even our children. Sometimes it may be for all three. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek reminds us that when we are a mentor for someone else we walk alongside them to show them what we can do. A mentor to me is also a leader. They do not have to be the one in front of us because to me that is being much like the sage on the stage and it only benefits the one who is leading and/or presenting. The ones who need the mentoring are not really engaged in the work and their learning will not be as in depth as it could be because of this lack of engagement. It needs to be hands on in my opinion and they need to opportunity to apply what they are learning with their mentor right there to lend their help and support. To be their guide on the side.
Mentors are meant to be good communicators and listen to their mentees. They provide constructive criticism when is necessary while still providing that guide and support. Providing empathy is necessary too as it’s important to relate to your mentees and understand their perspective and feelings. This does require a great deal of effort on your part as the mentor because you need to listen more, be curious about others, appreciate those who are different from you, reserve from making any innate judgments, and educate yourself to break false stigmas and ignorant ideations. One of the most important things we can do is let them make the decisions and think on their feet so to speak as situation arise so that they can better handle what may come there way and learn from whatever the outcome may be. This can also serve a benefit because as their mentor you can follow up with them to debrief and determine next steps.
Mentors to me are like Jiminy Cricket from the story Pinocchio. He served as Pinocchio’s Conscience. And what Pinocchio eventually learned is to that we need to let our conscience be our guide. A mentor is just that: our guide.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards developing your relationship skills?