Although mentoring is one way to gain leadership experience, it requires commitment and compassion to stay the course. Simply put, mentoring should not be taken lightly. Whether the mentee is an adult or youth, the individual will be relying on you to be available and to provide guidance. Hence, this article suggests eight tips to ponder before taking the leap.
- Consider your motive.
What is your motive? This question supersedes everything. If you lack clarity and do not have a big enough why, maybe you need to rethink mentoring as a strategy to acquire leadership experience. Aside from possessing a combination of skills and qualities, you must care about people and their success. So, reflect carefully on your response to the initial question. At length, making a difference should be the major objective.
- Write down your goals.
Deciding to become a mentor is one thing, but creating a plan to make it happen is another. For that purpose, develop SMART goals. As you may know, SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
What do you need to accomplish in the next week or next 30 days? What do you want to accomplish in a year? Use a journal or spiral notebook to record the information. Plan to succeed.
- Begin where it makes sense.
Several groups need mentors: young adults transitioning out of foster care, students (high school and college), women re-entering the workplace, women returning to the community after incarceration, troubled youth, first time supervisors, entrepreneurs, etc. Where do you think you can make the greatest impact?
- Keep an open mind.
Your mindset will make the difference. That's why it is imperative to refrain from being judgmental or biased. Both can stunt the growth of the mentor-mentee relationship.
- Perform thorough research.
Read literature to discover the mission of the agency, the programs, and services. Who are the clients? What are their needs? Uncover the challenges and / or opportunities. Even though mentors receive training, never neglect your homework.
- Think about potential challenges.
Be encouraged to face any perceived limitations or fears. However, brainstorm ways to overcome them.
- Seek to maintain balance.
Effective mentors excel in buildings relationships and relationship building requires time. Still, you cannot lose sight of your other obligations. With that said, get a firm handle of your current schedule. Sharpen your time management skills so that you don't stress out.
- Take the next step.
If you've done all of the above, then make your move. There's no time like the present to get started.