We all need a mentor.
Why? Because nobody ever achieves anything by going at it on their own without advise or counsel from someone else.
Before I go any further, welcome to my blog and Happy New Year 2016 to you.
No matter what kind of year 2015 has been for you, whether it was exciting, or failure, whether you accomplished many things, or nearly none, my hope is that I will be able to inspire you through my blog, to make 2016 a much better one.
I have set a plan for my blog this year to be geared towards that goal too.
Instead of posting topics that doesn’t seem to follow a pattern, and is entirely dependent on a random inspiration I got, I have decided to be a little bit more intentional about the content.
I will begin posting series of blog posts revolving around a certain theme. It gives me an added benefit of being able to dig deeper into a subject matter while at the same time, allowing you my faithful readers something to expect and perhaps, alllowing me to answer any of your questions that may perhaps be asked about a topic because I know I have four weeks to do so.
You are reading that right, four weeks. I will plan my blog posts as a monthly series revolving around a topic. For the month of January, the topic will be mentoring.
I have benefited tremendously from the many mentors that I have been very fortunate to have. At the same time, as I began mentoring others also, I have also been getting plenty of benefits.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor, by its definition, is an experienced and trusted advisor. A mentor is someone you could count on for advise, insights, experience sharing and even becoming an accountability partner. A mentor can become many things to you but the key role of a mentor is to provide counsel / advise when you need it.
What does a mentor do?
Here are seven important roles a highly effective mentor could become to help you in your personal growth journey.
A mentor is a counsellor As I mentioned earlier, a mentor, first and foremost, is to be an advisor. It is usually in an area that the mentor is experienced in. It is important to note that although a mentor’s experience is valuable input, it is not and should not be taken as the truth. You should not be applying somebody else’s experience into your own situaiton.
To illustrate, imagine that you are having symptoms indicating that you are infected by a certain disease. Now, a friend of yours have just recovered from another disease and reported having similar symptoms to what you are having. He gives you a good news and a bad news. The good news is that he still have a copy of the prescription given by the doctor for him, and he even kept the bottle of the medicine in case he needed to buy more in the future. The bad news is that the doctor’s fees aren’t cheap and that you needed to get on the waiting list to see him because he’s a specialist of that disease and he’s really popular. My question for you is: what would you do? What would be the most sensible thing to do? Would you go to see the doctor still? Or would you ask your friend for the copy of the prescription and buy the drug from the nearest pharmacy for yourself?
I hope you picked the second option.
Why do you still need the doctor’s diagnosis? Why would you see him even though you have to spend more money? It’s because you and your friend have different body and although the symptom is similar, the disease and the prescribed medicine may be different. Likewise, in mentoring, experiences aren’t to be taken like a band-aid. The key is to ask the mentor what lessons could be drawn from the experience and to apply it appropriately.
A mentor is an insight-provide
A mentor’s most valuable resource for them to bring into a mentoring process is their past experience as well as the insights they gain from it.
If you are starting a new business in a certain area, then having a mentor that can provide insight is extremely important and beneficial. A kind of mental GPS, if you like. Their valuable insights can help you from stepping into the wrong direction, or making the wrong turns, or going into dead-ends or from making terrible decisions that may jeopardize your business prospects.
A mentor’s most valuable tool in providing insight is by asking questions. A good mentor knows how to ask targeted, open-ended questions that allowed the protege, or protegee to really think through their decisions.
A mentor is a role model
Although we can learn a lot from our mentor based on their wisdom, their experiences and their counsel, I believe that our greatest form of learning is through observing them setting example through their life.
It is said that, “People read your life like a book” and I believe that we learn the most from observing our mentor who lives his life with values, behavior and character.
A mentor is a supporter
While we may need advise and counsel from a mentor, we do not always follow them. Perhaps from time to time, we may make mistakes and we may decide against their counsel. Regardless of our decisions, a good mentor will always be willing to support us and get behind our decisions.
A mentor respects your freedom to think and make your own decisions even if it meant you are going against their advice.
A mentor is an encourager
A mentor provides an endless supply of words of encouragement and affirmation to allow the mentee to rise to a higher level. A mentor may advise against some of the mentee’s decisions or plans, however they will always let the mentee see their potential and what they could become.
A mentor is a believer
A mentor believes in you the most even when you don’t believe in yourself. They see the best in you even when you see the worst in yourself.
A mentor is a feedback-giver
A mentor willingly lay down the truth for you, even when they know that the truth may hurt you initially, because they know that it will grow you eventually.
What Do You Do Now?
Now that you have gotten a small glimpse of how great a mentor can be to you and for your journey towards your personal growth, I’d like to pose a few questions for you.
Is mentoring a new word for you? Have you ever had someone that felt like a mentor to you? How did that feel like?
From the picture I painted, having a mentor is amazing, but a mentor cannot be everything for you.
Next, I’ll share about what a mentor is not, to be followed by tips on how to find a mentor.