Everyone needs mentoring – yes, even you!
The best feeling in the world is too see mentees shine thanks to their mentors.
Everyone needs a mentor at one point in his or her life. Whether you are a business partner (junior or senior), a musician (up and coming or “oldie”), fighting an illness (from “mild” to very serious) or in school (student, teacher, principal), you could benefit from a mentor, or maybe you already have!
As a teacher, the most helpful mentoring I received was from someone who made me smile and gave me back the hope that I could teach 12 year-olds as well as I had taught 4 year-olds.
Thanks to his guidance and support, I dared to introduce my ideas to my students and convince them that my lessons would be fun! My shiny enthusiasm was enough for most of the kids to be more cooperative.
If you want to guide and support your mentee in a great way, bear these attentions in mind:
- give genuine attention
- show interest in them as a person, not only for their problems or what they can improve on
- offer a positive, hopeful atmosphere
- pose questions that are meant to build up
- never forget to use humour
I’d like to elaborate shortly here. Don’t worry, there will be more in my future blogs!
- “Walk a mile in their shoes.” A good mentor is able to do that. No judgements, just imagine yourself to be in his or her place…
- “The whole person, nothing but the whole person.” Be curious. Because there is so much about your mentee to acknowledge: he or she is good at something, interested in something, able of so much, and loving of so much. Life is so much more than what you are working on them with!
- As a mentor, you are like a buddy: you mean well! You know your student. You know when things work out, when your student has moved in the right direction and made the ‘right’ decision. You know the progress he or she made. When there are setbacks, you are able to make your mentee believe he or she will get over them and will start making progress once more.
- “What went well since we’ve last met?” All your questions are meant to build on your student’s progress. As a mentor in a school setting you mostly have little time and are not a therapist. Thus, make them tell you (and most importantly: tell themselves!) every (tiny) thing that shows their skills and resources. They probably can use it all to succeed in what they want to achieve.
- “Add lightness” is one of my favorite quotes from one of the founders of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Steve de Shazer. Even in conversation with clients who had big and serious problems, he managed to create a moment of lightness. How can we create that as mentors? Just be genuine and try!