“The fun thing about getting older is finding younger people to mentor.”
– Mike May
Have you had the opportunity to be someone’s mentor? If you have I bet that you learned a lot about yourself too.
I was asked what I approach to mentoring is.
And for me it comes down to listening. The things I try focus on are their values, strengths and weaknesses.
I want to spend atleast as much time on listening as on talking. If the person isn’t very talkative but wants to listen I tend to ask a lot of open-ended questions so that I don’t just get binary yes/no answers.
I find the phrase “tell me about…” to be very useful.
The reason I focus on values, strengths & weaknesses is because I want to know their general trajectory rather than a fixed point.
I’ve found that while goals are great they tend to change over time. So besides giving them step by step plans and tools, we can also discuss the individual’s internal processes.
What I mean by this is that it becomes more tailored rather than a one-size-fits-all. As an added benefit this becomes a journey for their own discovery rather than having someone hand them a manual.
That being said, I tend to attract people with similar values so you really have to take a look at yourself and ask yourself whether you’re actually the right person to take on a mentee. Sometimes you’re just not a good match and you need to be honest with yourself and the other person about that.
Also, I’d like to add that there’s a tremendous amount we can learn from the other person too. It’s not just about us forking over a bunch of information, wisdom and guidance. The most beneficial thing is to have the mentee be your mentor as well.
In this way they get a safe environment in which to learn how to pay it forward to the next person and developing their own mentorship skills.
Do you have any experiences or approaches that’ve worked well for you?
Please share them in the comments.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!