Mentoring is a calling, but there are lessons to be learned once you’ve decided to answer! While it may seem like a simple role, you’re stepping into a leadership position for someone who needs it the most – meaning it’s not something to take lightly. Even if you’re a reasonable, responsible person, it’s still important to go over the basic dos and don’ts of becoming a quality mentor. We discuss some of the most basic things to understand here, and are more than happy to answer any more questions you may have.
Things to Do
One of the biggest things to practice is having a clear structure, as this will help you avoid potential problems in the future. Understanding details of the mentoring relationship goes a long way in avoiding confusion or conflict, and this can be addressed at the very beginning. This is especially important with organizations like ours that follow a very structured pattern and assist mentors with the process.
While setting clear structures may come naturally to you, another one of the big dos will be a bit more difficult for some mentors – learning to let the mentee be the teacher at times. Obviously, the mentor has more life experience and wisdom under their belt, but no relationship is strong with only one person teaching the lessons. Take the time to learn.
Things to Avoid
Besides the obvious negative behaviors that mentors need to stay away from, there are less apparent actions that can still damage the relationship. One of the biggest is acting too much like a hero. This comes in two forms: acting arrogant or overly proud of your actions and coming in to save them from every mistake they make. The first may seem obvious, but many mentors enter the duty with the intention of patting themselves on the back – which is far from what the purpose should be. The latter is something that many role models have to actively work to avoid. You care for this kid, but caring doesn’t always mean bailing them out of every situation. Some of life’s best lessons are learned from mistakes, and it’s an important part of the mentoring process. Of course you want to help whenever possible, but always pair it with a lesson.
Aspire Can Help!
The Aspire Movement was founded with one intention in mind – impacting the lives of Birmingham’s inner city youth through godly mentoring. We approach every moment with a thought-out perspective and provide advice and encouragement to individuals looking to join the world of mentoring. We’re more than happy to discuss our mission more with you. Contact us here for more information!