Maintaining equality between your personal life and your work life…
Mentorship is a relationship between two people with qualities, where the more knowledgeable and experienced person gives guidance to the less experienced one. It’s natural that people are going to approach you and ask you to mentor them if you master some skills or expertise. It is because they are inspired by your actions and behavior and they too want to get their act together so that they can easily achieve what they want in their lives.
Mentorship qualities can be developed in two ways: one which is developed naturally or let’s say unintentionally and the other where a mentee asks for a mentor to guide him/her. Let’s assume there is a person who works in a firm where he has a senior to whom he can approach anytime for advice. The senior solves his problems and gives him advice on issues he wants to resolve. So this kind of mentorship quality is developed naturally and unintentionally. On the other hand, people often ask for mentorship quality from a more experienced and skilled person so that they can get assistance from them. This will help them pick up a good deal of expertise along the course of their journey. This type of mentorship quality is developed intentionally.
A mentor can be of any type: relationship mentor, career mentor, health mentor, spiritual mentor, etc. And anyone can be a mentor. There is no training required for becoming a good mentor. Just that there are basic behavior and attitude that a mentor should have. We will look upon that!
Before mentoring someone, make sure you evaluate the mentor-mentee relationship properly. Is he/she the right person? Is he/she teachable and is willing to learn? Will he/she reciprocate? Make sure you are working with a person who takes personal responsibility to help you drive results. Then set protocols. Answer any questions they may want to ask you about. Explain your role to them and tell them what you expect of them. Ask their expectations from the meetings and what are areas they are hoping to improve. Acknowledge their goals properly. Then agree on how much time you both are willing to devote to the sessions. Will it be a telephonic or one-to-one meeting? Will it be on workdays or holidays?
Discuss specific time slots. Set boundaries by agreeing on how much depth to go into. Keep it professional, remember you are not their therapist, but a mentor. Make sure, both the mentor and the mentee are gaining from the sessions. Both should get the most out of the relationship. If you are someone who finds peace in uplifting others, here are 7 qualities for good mentorship:
I quote Richard Branson here, “To be a great leader, you must be a good listener”. As a mentor, you are a role model and a leader in your mentee’s life. When they have approached you for mentorship qualities, they have a belief that you will lead them to a successful life. Having high hopes in you, they basically characterize you as their guardians. Therefore, being a good listener ensures your mentee that you are paying attention to what they have to say. When they feel that you are interested, they will feel valued and will easily connect with you. This will in turn build trust and your relationship will be more fulfilling.
Having all your attention, the speaker will feel relaxed and will be able to think clearly too. Paying attention to what they have to say is of the utmost importance when the mentee is discussing a sensitive topic. Remember, people respond better to someone whom they perceive listens to their problems attentively. Moreover, you will get new insights into their lives which will help you solve their problems easily. Purposeful listening is essential for rapport building.
For being a good listener, you have to develop patience and tolerance. You have to have an open attitude while listening to other’s problems without passing any judgment. Remember the person’s expertise and perspective can be different from your own. Therefore, it’s important that you practice positive listening skills. Understand the difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is a physical process that happens all the time, but it is when you give attention to what is being said, you are actually listening. When you are listening to someone, you are not only listening to the words they are speaking, you are actually listening to the feeling they are trying to convey.
Remember what worked for the last person may not work with the person you are dealing with right now. So your approach should be flexible. Different strategies work for different people. People are different, no two people have the same way of thinking or the same approach to life. We all take things differently and are affected at different levels. What matters to one, may not matter to others. There are things that one may take casually but can break the other. Every person has a different perspective about life and the struggles which come with it. As a mentor, it’s your responsibility to understand this difference and be flexible while dealing with clients. Get insight into their personality and deal with them accordingly.
Let’s assume that you are dealing with a client who is a puppet to his emotional strings but at the same time wants to be a great leader and an influencer. You know his personality is not fit for the purpose. But your job as a mentor is to help him achieve his goals. Therefore the best way to work with such a person is by reading his/her cycle of behavior, emotions, and thoughts and making him/her familiar with their inner self so that the person doesn’t repeat the same cycle over and over again. Then there is another case where you might deal with someone who is inflexible and stubborn and want to become a social activist. Therefore, your job as a mentor is to keep changing approaches while dealing with different clients.
Remember as a mentor you are seen as a leader and it’s your behavior, not just words that will encourage other people to behave in the way you are telling them to. When you never practice what you preach, you are considered to be a hypocrite. A hypocrite advises others about life, job, relationship, etc but they never follow their own advice. Your task is to advise others, therefore you can’t afford to be a hypocrite who is pretending to be what they are not. Your mentee is going to implement your advice into his/her own life.
So don’t just give them random advice and send them on a fool’s errand. Be accountable and someone who is authentic. And your authenticity is proved when you practice what you preach. Let’s say you are advising someone on how to be emotionally independent, but you yourself call people frantically at midnight and weep when you face even a slight emotional crisis. So as being a responsible mentor, you will first have to work on yourself and then share your self-development journey with your mentee. This way your mentee will relate to you and will trust you.
As we mentioned earlier, that being authentic is key to becoming a good mentor. And we have discovered ways how to be authentic- by being truthful, by being morally correct, and by behaving in the same way that you try to persuade others to behave. Another key factor in becoming authentic is by giving honest feedback about their performance. Pay attention to their every move and pace out their distance from their goals. Count all the small victories they have made. This will encourage them to move forward with greater enthusiasm.
It’s equally important to be open and non-judgmental while listening to people’s problems. Have your own thinking, beliefs, and opinions and at the same time respect others. This way you will be a good problem solver without any personal biases. Remember they are trusting you with their life. So confidentiality is required here too.
Mentoring is not just about one day, rather it’s a whole journey you take up with your clients. You know you can’t afford to leave them in between when they have put their trust in you. Everybody wants mentors who are dedicated and loyal. Whom they can count on at the time of crisis. A good mentor genuinely cares about their mentee and understands the importance of being reliable. Remember, being reliable means, your clients will be depending on you for support and help. So you should be available. If you give up on them, it’s like you tell them “Don’t give up the day job”. So as a good mentor, you should be dedicated to your work and be accountable for your actions and words you speak.
As human beings, we all want instant results and rewards without waiting. Being patient is a tuff skill to master but remember all great leaders in this world had one thing in common, that they were patient. And here as a mentor, you are seen as a role model and your mentor has come to listen to your preachings. It’s obvious that while goal setting, you will teach them how to be patient and not dash it all.
Same way, when you are helping them to uplift themselves or make a great personal change, you are supposed to be patient as well. Remember nothing changes overnight. Real change takes time! It will take time for them to make progress, especially if are dealing with severe issues or are working towards a big goal. Just don’t give up as it is the same thing you are preaching them. Just give it some time, and you will be amazed at what you have accomplished.
People who have developed the habit of learning new ideas and skills are more curious to know about others. At the same time, this makes them better teachers and good mentors. You can do this by reading good books, listening to good audios, observing your surroundings, and being curious about everything. You will have a lot to bring to the table especially when you are giving solutions to their problems.