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When the word “mentoring” is mentioned, what usually comes to our mind is the picture of people in suits giving speaking to a gathering of people, and giving advice. What if I told you, that everyone is and can be a mentor to someone? In this article, I’d be showing you how to be a mentor to someone using 7 working strategies, some of which you might have been exhibiting without knowing.
Mentoring involves helping someone consciously grow and develop. Most times, it forms into a relationship between the mentor and the mentee (that is, the person being mentored).
Some mentorship relationships may last for a long time, others for a very short while. I have had conversations with experts in the writing field that lasted less than an hour but have had a tremendous impact on my career.
How to be a mentor to someone is not a daunting task. It involves some of the skills you probably already have like listening and curiosity. If you have younger siblings, it’d not be surprising if you know just how much influence you have on them.
What are the 7 strategies for being the perfect mentor?
7 Ways on How to be a Mentor to Someone
1. Ask Your Mentee Questions
One of the key tips on how to be a mentor to someone is being able to question your mentee on various aspects of their life, goals, and aspirations.
First, you need to know your mentee. You need to know who they are, their background, their likes, and dislikes among other things. This helps you start the training process on a relationship basis.
Secondly, you need to know their goals and aspirations. What do they aim to get from you? What aspects of their life or career do they want to see progress? These questions help you understand what challenges your mentee is facing and how you can help.
When I first contacted my “short-term” mentor, he asked me straight up “Alex what do you want to learn from me. Write it down and I’d give you a call in the next one hour” and that was it. Asking that question helped me gain clarity on what I actually wanted to gain.
2. Be an Active Listener
Active and attentive listening is a skill everyone needs to practice, especially those who are or want to be mentors.
As a mentor, you should give your mentee the freedom to speak. Think of it as a conversation between siblings.
You might have a vast knowledge of what you want to teach your mentee but paying attention to what they have to say can give you insight into how to teach. While you might have ready answers to guide your mentee, allowing them to speak can give an insight into how they think.
Learn to listen. Listening helps you understand their point of view. It can give you clarity on what your mentee really wants and how to help them through.
3. Create a Step-by-Step Plan to Help Them Grow
I’m fighting the urge to write “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Then I’d drop the mic and you guys would clap for me. On a serious note though, creating a plan is important when mentoring someone, especially if the mentorship is a long-term one.
You can create a plan that helps you work around the goals you’ve both set out from the beginning. Setting mutual goals gives you a blueprint on what you both want to achieve from the relationship. For example, if your mentee’s goal is to learn how to be a better public speaker, you can use that as a yardstick when creating a plan to help them out.
A plan also contains the schedule of your meeting. How would your contact meetings be? Offline or online? Google Meet or at a cafeteria?
4. Deliberate on Ideas Together
Do you notice how I keep saying “relationship” rather than “mentorship”? That’s because, as a mentor building a relationship with your mentee helps them connect with you better.
When a connection is established, you can then begin to deliberate and ponder on ideas together. Yes, I know you have exactly what your mentee needs but have you ever thought that they might actually have an idea on what to do but don’t know how to do it?
When I started writing, I had no idea how to monetize my skill. I met up with some of my friends, turned mentors who had experience in building careers. Rather than tell me how to monetize my skill, they asked me a few questions.
- Why do you like writing?
- What do you need to be a good writer?
- What platforms do you know hire the type of writer you are?
- If you were a client, would you hire yourself?
I had answers to some of these questions immediately, and some I did not. Instead of showing me platforms that hired writers, they made me research and bring to them platforms that best fit my style. In the end, I made the choice myself, with their guide.
When you brainstorm ideas together with your mentee, rather than provide all the answers yourself, you are helping them develop as thinkers.
5. Introduce Them to Your Network
Sometimes, someone might want you to be their mentor because they noticed how much access you have to people and they want that. Honestly speaking, I’ve had conversations with people I ordinarily wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for my mentors.
As a mentor, if you have several connections that would help your mentee develop better, feel free to network your mentee with them.
However, do not feel pressured to do these. If you feel your mentee isn’t developed enough to be granted access to your network, don’t make that introduction.
6. Give Words of Encouragement
Guiding someone through a developing phase can be hard. And I mean, very hard. Some days clicking with your mentee would be difficult. As with every relationship, good days and bad days happen.
This is where you come in as a good mentor. Rather than dish out criticism at the slightest opportunity, substitute it with words of encouragement.
I remember days when I felt like I wasn’t doing things right and I would run back to my mentor and complain over the same thing we’ve gone over a thousand times and all he’d say is “be patient, Alex. Work on your patience”. And that was it.
7. Avoid Being Bias and Judgmental
One key tip on how to be a mentor to someone is to keep every form of bias or prejudice you have aside when mentoring someone.
As a mentor, you need to keep an open mind when meeting your mentee. Avoid projecting any form of prejudice or stereotype towards them because it can affect the mentorship process.
Be a safe space for your mentee. Let them know you are there for there. Listen to their frustrations and vents. Avoid judging. You never know what things they might be going through.
These 7 tips on how to be a mentor to someone are practicable. Sometimes, people can choose you to be their mentor because they see what you have been doing and feel you can help them through too.
Being a mentor can be a fun experience. As you’re helping someone grow and develop, you’re also developing yourself as an individual.
Have you ever had a mentor or are you a mentor yourself? What experience would you like others to know? Share your thoughts in the comment section. I’d be looking out for tips to share.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who serves as a guardian, an adviser, and support to you. They are usually experienced people who take the time to understand your challenges and help you out.
What is a mentor supposed to do?
A mentor, is expected that share insight about your career and provide strategies, guidance, emotional support, and maintain a friendly relationship with your mentee.
What are the three A’s of mentorship?
The three a’s of mentorship include being available, being an active listener, and being analytical. These three characteristics are necessary for being a good mentor.
What are the 7 roles of a mentor?
The seven roles every mentor is expected to perform include- role model, coach, teacher, sponsor, agent, advisor, and confidante.
What are the benefits of having a mentor?
A mentor provides you with knowledge gotten from experience, helps you improve as an individual, and gives you access to professionals in their network.
How to be a good mentee?
As a mentee, you’re expected to be responsible for your learning, respect your mentor’s boundaries, be trustworthy and be open to learning.
What are key skills necessary for mentorship?
As a mentor, you should have good communication skills, be able to listen attentively, have good emotional awareness, and must be open to learning too.
How old do I have to be to be a mentor?
In most cases, mentorship comes with experience rather than age. If you have experience in a particular field, people would naturally want to learn from you.
Why should I become a mentor?
Being a mentor gives you the opportunity to share your skills and experience. This way, you are building a community of people with value, as individuals to the society.
What should I do when mentoring for the first time?
If you are mentoring for the first time, it is vital that you get to know your mentee, know what skills you have to pass on, and learn to help with the little things.
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