How to become a great mentor?

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Have you ever had a mentor? What was the best thing that stood out for you about your mentor? What did you achieve with this person?

Would you agree with me that everybody needs a Mentor?

My mentors came at different times in my life and I call them “My angels without the wings”

The earliest I can remember was my teacher.  I was often kept back, where initially she gave me a lecture and then toned it down to “Valerie, stand first in class, you have the potential!!  You are like no other”.   Those words were like honey and milk laced with fruit toppings. At 17,  I had a wonderful boss called Trevor Fernandes who had a lovely, nurturing, personality.  If I gave him a document with any mistakes, instead of ordering me to his desk and telling me what was wrong,  he would show me better examples and take time to make me understand why I went wrong. he was an inspiration and helped me throughout my tenure with the organisation.  I have never met anyone with a gentler and more helpful nature.  He actually inspired me in life to be a mentor.

What does it mean to be a mentor?

At its core, being a mentor is being a trusted advisor. Keeping your mentees best interest in mind. You are there to be able support that person when they need help and advice and  to deliver support in a way that makes sense to them.

A mentor/mentee relationship can last for years, or it can last one coffee date. When you mentor someone long-term, you really get to know and understand their personality, learning style, and goals, which can set you up to offer richer, more relevant advice over time.

But mentorship doesn’t have to be long-term. It can also be a one-off or a short-term relationship, like when someone needs help working through a specific problem – such as a career transition or a problem with a co-worker or manager.

You can be a peer support person, a career mentor or a life coach, outside of work.

Ways to be an amazing mentor

1) Approach each mentorship differently.

2) Take a genuine interest in your mentee as a person.

One great way to get to know someone? Become an active listener. This is easier said than done as it means making a conscious effort to really, truly pay attention to what your mentee is saying, instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next. You might worry that you need to come up with something helpful right away, when in fact, the best thing you can do for your mentee is to listen closely to what they’re saying, ask open questions to dig deeper, and act as a sounding board.

Our Diploma in Counselling, Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs offers a lot of such training.

4) Know when to wait before giving advice.

5) Improve your emotional intelligence.

6) Don’t assume anything about your mentee — ask.

7) Be really forthcoming about mistakes you’ve made.

8) Celebrate their achievements.

9) Give more than you ask.

10) Seek out classes or projects related to skills your mentee wants to develop.

11) Find solutions that will last a life time.

12) Lead by example.

In the end, being a mentor will likely be as rewarding an experience for you as it will be for your mentees. At TrainSmart Australia, we can help you become one and even launch your own mentoring business!

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