Monday, August 24, 2015

A Mentor In The Making

You know how we've all heard or read the scripture, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" quoted to us in times when serving up a hefty buffet of revenge (notice buffet and not a plate) was deservedly being planned (although revenge is never for any one of us to carry out) but those plans were intercepted by Truth and so went that buffet. And rightly so.

I've come to learn that life in and of itself is steadily developing mentors of us all. Whether our learning is applied to positively or negatively impact others lives will be a lasting impact. For in this life we are all being molded and shaped into mentors - mentors in the making!!!

We mentor others on our experiences and our perceived knowledge of what we take from those experiences. Regardless of the subject matter, nor the age, creed, or color, we all need mentors and we will in turn become mentors to those who seek growth and development. This is essential in building lasting relationships across the divide and beyond, in order to build anything lasting mentors must be well sought, well advised persons that are willing to lead.

Let's be honest about all of this: If we didn't have experienced individuals who forewarned us of the risks we were taking - none of us we be here in any capacity.

Now that we have come to understand and receive that we are all mentors to others in some aspect or another, there are some essential aspects to developing and being a mentor that fosters positive impact on those seeking mentors. Let's take a quick look:

1. Always entreat others with "Love" first and foremost. People will always remember the genuineness of your care and counsel. The greatest lessons of my life were taught in love. Those lessons took me farthest in life and those are most treasured in that I too, wanted to pass those lessons learned in the same love.

2. Always, always be honest. Be honest about your willingness to commit to mentoring. If you're in a particular place in life that let's say transitioning and your time commitment isn't there - be honest and communicate that. Quite possibly the mentee may be willing to wait for a period of time for you to become available. Another example that strongly applies here is being honest about the depth of your experience(s) in a given area. You know what you know. Make sure the person asking for mentoring understands your level of expertise and allow that person to make the judgement for themselves. People need honesty. That doesn't include stroking your ego.

3. Be patient with others. Everybody simply don't think using the left side of their brains. Everybody adheres to learning differently. Don't get impatient because it may take two or three teaching methods to get the point across. Sometimes, it may take another mentor to get that particular idea or concept over to the mentee. The most important thing is that they "get it" not who teaches it.

4. Don't take the task of learning away from the individual(s). Instead, allow that person and/or persons to learn whatever lessons to best of their abilities. If they don't get it, they'll let you know. It will show greatly. But their receptiveness to really learn and develop has to be their desire. If you happen to meet those few who really are looking for others to do "their" work (and usually for ) "free" and want to invest no time in developing themselves, please show them the door. That ploy will serve two very empty purposes: (1) It will expend your time and talents with no pay and; (2) It doesn't bring anyone into accountability of the job being performed. Remember, this isn't for your development it's for the one who came knockin.

5. Respect the decisions of your mentees. The weight of responsibility comes with mentoring for both the mentor and mentee. However, this does not mean you have to carry the burden of mentees who act irresponsibly with your time, your resources, and your counsel. Be wise when mentoring others. You have heard the scripture quoted, "Don't throw your pearls before swine" (Matthew 7:6). This means, don't spend your time giving sound advice and wisdom to those who will do more with it than throw it in a gutter. Wow, what a waste! Too valuable. Whether we as mentors like it or not, we must respect the decisions of the adults who come to us for mentoring as to what they want to happen in their lives or businesses. They have the final decision. Let them have it!

6. Know when your season is past. Every person being mentored does so for varying reasons and again, everyone is not on the same level. Depending on what the individual's need determines the length of mentoring. No matter the time period, it is vital to know when you're done, after all, isn't this what growth is all about (to see if the person has learned enough to begin applying what you've taught?). 

Don't allow mentoring to take the place of fee-based consulting. It's imperative to know the differences as well as knowing upfront what is expected of all parties involved. Mentors need to be concise in delivering what's being sought of them so there will be a clear end to earmark. After you have given of yourself and your knowledge base there comes an end (or rather, until further notice - LOL) that must be expressed or all of this will become wearisome to a degree. Mentoring should not be wearisome - heartfelt yes, but wearisome, (hmmm, I guess if you find yourself with a problem child) not in the slightest. Why? Because mentors truly appreciate, respect and are honored that the attributes exemplified in part are noteworthy and that those attributes are worthy of being replicated. 

Mentoring provides an opportunity to help nurture and shape future generations. There is absolutely no way mentoring can occur without giving some of yourself in the process and this is and will continue to be the strongest element in mentoring; how much of ourselves we pass on to others. After all, shouldn't the best of our attributes live on forever?

Keep Going!
The Living Consultant