Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do you have what it takes to be a mentor?

Everyone can use a mentor, but can just anybody be one?  What are the qualifications?  I have learned a great deal over the years about coaching and mentoring by reading, taking classes, and being trained in the practice.  However, none of that compares to what I have learned about mentoring from being on the receiving end of such a professional relationship.  Over the past 25 years I have had many wonderful mentors in the field of education.  I often wonder if they knew the impact they would have on my professional journey at the time.  Settling into a new role this past year has led me to think a lot about those individuals.  Some have retired and a few have passed on.  I have lost touch with many of them, but there are some that I still reach out to regularly.  I created this list not only to pay homage to them, but to remind myself what I can do to be a better mentor myself.

10 Things to Look for in a Mentor

Often times the conversations we have with our mentors can be sensitive in nature.  It is important that we trust our mentor will honor confidentiality.

A good mentor needs to be a good listener.  By letting you talk, your mentor is giving you the space to work out problems and solutions on your own.

When we turn to a mentor it can sometimes be when we are at our lowest.  It is important to trust that you are in a judgement free zone.

A mentor can act as a mirror.  This is why honesty is an imperative trait to look for in a mentor.

Trying new and different things sometimes takes a little nudging and a safety net.  An effective mentor is one that encourages responsible risk taking.

A good mentor will always ask a lot of questions.  They do this to help you look within for the answers.  

When they do speak the advice and words they share will stay with you for days or longer.

They are role models. You would be proud to be viewed by others the way you view them.

When you are with your mentor they are truly with you in the moment.

Great mentors are selfless. They understand it is not important to gain any accolades or credit for their efforts because it is never about them.