The pleasure of mentoring has filled my days over the years.
Such arrangements have occurred within the workplace just as they have appeared in all aspects of my life outside work.
Some arrangements have been long and involved, as others have been short and to the point.
In all of them … I’ve been the recipient of learning just as I’ve been the educator.
Along the way, I’ve picked up these 9 important lessons.
1. Shift happens … and because it does, patience, flexibility and discretion are awesome companions
2. When you listen you learn, when you share you educate … and when you remember you have two ears and one mouth, then listening rather than speaking is a awesome way to stay alert to the questions asked.
3. Words matter yet there are no absolute words … and on any given day the utterance of “yes or no”, can alter the course of your mentoring relationship
4. No matter what you think you know, there is more to learn … and you’ve not learned everything until a child has shared something that rocks your framework of life
5. Whoever enters your life was meant for the time … and gain understanding of the conscious message and the non-conscious message of your meeting, because learning occurs on many levels
6. Guide each mentee to reflection on his/her weaknesses and strengths … and then guide them to improve, focus, and strengthen the strengths and identify ways to have others augment their weaknesses
7. Surround yourself with people who’ll call you on your B.S. … and do the same for your mentee in ways that reveal the beliefs and assumptions framing the B.S.
8. Take a break from mentoring to reframe your ideas … and find ways to rejuvenate yourself in the down time
9. Believe in the mentee’s willingness to engage … and celebrate the times when engagement is evident, and address those situations when there is disengagement
These 9 lessons are foundational in your continued presence as a mentor. Give up on two of them you weaken the mentoring arrangement. Give up on three you weaken the relationship.
As you mentor today, which one resonates for you? Which one will you improve for tomorrow?
Keep a diary of your knowledge capture. Then find ways to share your knowledge so other mentors can prosper from what you learned.