Five Thoughts on Mentoring

I was listening to a podcast the other day. I was struck by a phrase, “we all need to find our personal Yoda”. I presume he meant find someone who can mentor you rather than find a mythical character who utters wise words in an almost incomprehensible fashion. In another life I had a sort of mentor and I have had people in my life who, from time to time, have offered advice and direction. I have also had people who didn’t so much offer advice as tell me what a worthless piece of….but that’s best forgotten and I don’t think it come under the broad category of mentoring.

So what are my thoughts on mentoring.
  1. A mentor should be someone who is willing to share their skills, knowledge and expertise. Should mentors have the skills that are directly applicable to your industry? Personally I don’t think so.It might well help. If if they come from the same industry background they may possess a certain amount of insider knowledge but in any business arena there are transferrable skills. Someone might know nothing about how to edit a video but would know how to deal with people, how to stay focussed and a whole host of other skills that could benefit me.
  2.  A mentor should hold you to account for what you do but not be judgemental. Too many are fearful of seeking help and advice because they feel they will be judged. Helping you see where you can do better rather than pointing out where you are going wrong seems to me to be one of the prime skills of a mentor.
  3. Good mentors remember what it was like to start out and will understand where their mentee is on the growth curve.
  4. A mentor needs to guide and offer direction but not be controlling. It must be tempting to live life vicariously through one you are mentoring. Maybe even to the point of taking the credit for their success. It takes quite a person to mentor someone and then to take a step back and allow others to take the glory. Humility is surely a key trait of any mentor.
  5. A mentor needs the ability to reflect on their own journey. A mentor will have ability and knowledge but alongside the how of their success they will know the why of it as well.

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