The last few mentoring postings have focused on becoming a mentee. I thought for the purposes of this blog, I would focus on becoming a mentor.
The topic of mentoring was recently featured in a segment of CityLine, a show which airs nationally on CityTV. In this particular segment, host Tracey Moore and her guest, Dr. Karyn Gordon discussed what sets a mentor apart from a friend or peer. Dr. Gordon stated that all people have the potential to be a mentor or “a person of influence”. She stressed that the difference between a friend and a mentor is the ability to see potential and possibilities in others and voice it. Dr. Gordon also discussed the ability of great mentors to expand the thinking of a mentee but also to be a realistic guiding force on the mentee’s journey. (If you are interested in watching this segment it aired on CityLine on September 27, 2011.)
Becoming a mentor is similar to the process of becoming of mentee which I wrote about in my last post. It is about building relationships. As John C. Maxwell discusses in his book “Mentoring 101”, it is important to get to know people on a personal level as you prepare to become a mentor. You must understand what motivates the individual, their strengths and weaknesses in order to become an effective mentor.
I challenge each of you to look around the individuals you interact with at home, at work, anywhere you have personal relationships. Is there someone that you have previously identified as having potential? What about if you look at your “community” with fresh eyes? Do you see potential in that person that you could cultivate? Could you form a relationship with someone and be their “person of influence”? It absolutely takes time and energy to be a good mentor but the rewards are well worth it!
What are your thoughts? How have you approached an individual in the past to act as a mentor? How did that relationship work for you? What advice do you have for others who see potential in someone and would like to act as a mentor?