Mentors combine knowledge and experience to pass on pearls of wisdom to the mentees they advise.
Mentoring is a common practice in schools and universities, workplaces, religious communities and youth development programmes.
Mentoring relationships can come about organically and be quite informal. Though for the most part, they are generally part of a structured programme.
Mentoring helps people learn to navigate the various challenges faced in life. Whether you need help personally or professionally, initiating a mentoring relationship can be immensely valuable.
As they are generally experienced in the area you need help, you can learn from a mentor's mistakes and successes. They use their experiences and knowledge to provide personal support, sound advice and encouragement. Helping you see the reality of your situation and make better choices in your life.
The Aim of Mentoring
Mentors aren’t there to solve the puzzle for you. Instead, their purpose is to help you help yourself.
No one is better positioned to improve your life than you. So, mentors strive to enable opportunities for you to learn how to solve your problems and make important decisions yourself.
A mentor will help you:
- Build self-reliance and confidence
- Discover your own insights and abilities
- Come to your own conclusions and decisions
- Consider your ideas from other perspectives
- Deal with your emotions and feelings
- Discover solutions to your problems
- Identify areas for improvement
- Set positive goals
- Find opportunities to learn and progress to reach your goals
How they provide this value to their mentees is through a variety of tactics. Each designed to help you take a step back and look at the bigger picture. So, you can improve as a person and achieve your version of success.
They Ask Good Questions
To do this they will first identify and help clarify your goals. Once they know what these are, they will ask open-ended and thought-provoking questions to help mentees reflect on their lives.
The purpose of these questions is to help people see deeper than the surface of their problems. Asking the right questions supports the mentee in their learning and helps them paint a clear picture of their future.
They Listen Well
A mentor cannot assume a mentee simply wants to follow in their footsteps and achieve similar goals. No matter your area of expertise, the ideal outcome for each mentee is different.
Mentors will listen carefully to what a mentee wants and helps them establish and achieve their individual goals. They help you realise what is important to you and give you the confidence to make these things a reality.
For instance, your goal may be a better work-life balance or a more rewarding career. In this instance, a workplace mentor may help you discover you’re more suited to a role outside of the business.
Alternatively, your goal may be to feel more empowered and take on responsibility at work. The workplace mentor can then help you identify opportunities in the business that provide this.
Regular Meetings Keep People Accountable
Mentoring is most valuable when there is ongoing, regular contact. More frequent meetings make the mentee feel more supported and help establish a trusting relationship.
Having a regular date in the diary also helps the mentee stay focussed. Targets can be set for each session, which gives the mentee a deadline to work towards.
If they do not achieve the targets ‘on-time’ this can help open up conversation as to why. Which may shed more light on other issues not previously discussed that are affecting their progress. Should they regularly smash their goals in good time, it provides a great opportunity to celebrate their success and progress.
Regular reviews also make it easier to adapt and scale goals as they evolve. Both parties find it easier to pick up where they left off and determine together the next logical step. Making any necessary mid-course adjustments along the way.
They Push People to Try New Things
Doing the same things almost guarantees the same outcome. That’s why mentors push you to consider new ways of thinking and different courses of action.
You won’t reach your goals by staying within your comfort zone. Through probing questions and challenging your way of thinking, they allow you to see things from a different perspective.
By offering new ideas and novel ways of achieving success, they build you up to take the next step in your development.
They Provide Honest Feedback
People often seek advice from friends or loved ones. While this can be valuable, many fall into the habit of telling you what you want to hear.
Mentors, on the other hand, say it how it is. Providing compassionate, yet candid feedback so mentees aren’t disillusioned or mislead.
The mentoring relationship is built upon honesty, and providing honest feedback is vital for self-reflection.
The feedback received can help the mentee connect the dots and identify areas they need to work on. This can help them to close performance gaps at work and recognise negative behaviours or actions that hold them back.
They Help People Lead Happy and Fulfilling Lives
Your mentor could be helping you improve your personal relationships, career performance or even better practice your faith. No matter the reason they can provide you with the tools and ability to unlock your happiness and fulfilment.
You’ll learn how to identify your goals and recognise what you need to do to achieve them. These are skills you can take forward and use throughout many other areas of your life.
You’ll be more engaged as an employee and strive to position yourself in a rewarding and fulfilling career. By identifying what you can do to make positive changes, your life becomes more positive and rewarding as a whole.
They Encourage Positive Behaviours
Aside from encouraging people to make positive changes to their own lives, mentoring promotes a positive change culture. Those who have sought successful mentorship see its benefit and are more likely to pay it forward.
Whether officially or personally, previous mentees often end up mentoring others. Encouraging them to realise ways of making positive changes in their own lives.
Whether this is in the workplace or otherwise, a culture promoting ambition and growth is of great value.
Mentoring can lead mentees onto great things, but the mentee isn’t the only one who finds value in the process. Mentors benefit from their own rewarding experience as their lives are filled with an additional purpose. Their wisdom and the value it brings making a real difference to the lives of others.
If you’d like to use your life’s experience to bring value to others, you can study to become a mentor.
learndirect is a leading UK distance learning provider. With many online courses that equip you with the skills and ability to mentor others.
You can lead your own fulfilling and rewarding life by helping others achieve their goals.
Click below to see our available mentoring courses in more detail.