Above all else, being a great mentor requires a strong degree of self-awareness, interpersonal skills, and a commitment to seeing things through. In some ways it’s not unlike being a close friend, in that a mentor is someone a mentee needs to be able to trust enough to share with. The difference, though, is that as a mentor you’re in the unique position of being able to impart your experiences on someone who recognizes your achievements and, in some ways, wants to emulate them. This means doing your best to ensure they’re equipped with the tools they need to make informed decisions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. What mentees want and expect from mentors will differ. Some might have simple questions they need answers to, others might be looking to build strong, lasting relationships. Regardless, your only job is to share with them your own experiences and offer guidance based on what they want.
2. Being compassionate is essential. Remember that there are as many types of people as there are people, and that it takes time to get to know someone. Not everyone will have the same sense of humour, beliefs, or level of confidence. It’s up to you to do your best to make your mentee feel comfortable enough to open up to you.
3. Don’t be afraid of speaking on your failures. We learn a lot from our mistakes, and by owning and understanding them mentors can help mentees steer clear of bad decisions. This can extend beyond mistakes you made personally – what traps did you see others fall into? How did you avoid them?
4. Stick to what you know. What sets you apart as a mentor is what you’ve experienced, observed, and incorporated into your character. Take some time to think about what you say, and try not to offer generic answers. You have insights nobody else has. A great mentor knows how to articulate and offer them.
5. Listen, listen, listen. Keep in mind that while there’s a lot a mentee will want to know about you, there’s a lot you’ll need to know about them. No one’s journey is exactly the same, and good advice is only good if it’s needed in the first place. Don’t be afraid of asking your mentee questions, but if you encounter resistance, recognize that you might be touching on a sensitive topic and that it might be best to leave the issue alone. The mentee will share what they’re comfortable sharing.
6. Be respectful and expect respect. Understand that mentees are looking to you for guidance and information, and that they wouldn’t be using BALLPRK if they had all the answers. Mentees are people driven enough to recognize that the best way to grow is to learn, so never make them feel bad for what they don’t know. By the same token, politely tell your mentee if you’re not comfortable answering a specific question. Should you experience any kind of unpleasant interaction with your mentee, please inform BALLPRK immediately.
Ultimately, you’ll learn how best to communicate with mentees once you start. As long as you’re agreeable, generous, and interested, we’re sure you’ll do a great job. Let us know how it goes!