Wham! It happens. Someone just asked you for advice, more than that, they specifically asked you to be their mentor. You feel honored, humbled, proud, ready to help them achieve success and become what they have always wanted. And now you get to help them get there!
What happens if this is your first time truly mentoring someone? What if you, for whatever reason, never had a mentor yourself? How do you mentor someone when you don’t necessarily have a model to follow?
First, consider your past experiences with your current and former managers, supervisors, parents, grandparents, close friend, parent of a close friend… you get the picture. You may have been mentored and just not noticed it. Sometimes this comes in the forms of subtle advice or questions. Other times, in the form of a little prodding and directing from those that care or cared about you the most.
You are looking for the advice, direction, questions, etc. that were bestowed (maybe even forced, with love of course) upon you that helped shape who you are today. What are your most memorable pieces of advice? What were the toughest situations you were placed in that produced the greatest results in the end? For some, this could be facing the neighbor who’s window you just broke and you had to do yard word for them to pay it off. Others may have stood up against the playground bully, defending a friend. Some may have been the playground bully. What did you learn?
If you are having a difficult time with this, then consider just being the mentor that you always wanted. What was it you were hoping to get out of the relationship you never had? Hope? Inspiration? Direction? Motivation? Work to define for yourself, what you can offer your mentee. If you have been asked, then you have some characteristics, qualities, and skills your newly found mentee is looking to learn from. So ask them what it is he/she is looking for. Once you find out, you will have some direction.
Consider these when mentoring.
When in doubt, simply remember that the mentor/mentee is a relationship that takes time to develop and is an ongoing process. Just be the mentor you always wanted.
Next I will touch on being the mentee and how to make the most out of your mentor/mentee relationship.
Jared W. Snow