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 person will be relying on you to be available and to provide guidance. Hence, this article suggests eight tips to ponder before taking the leap.
What is your motive? This question supersedes everything. If you lack clarity and don’t have a big enough why, perhaps you need to rethink mentoring as a strategy to acquire leadership experience. Apart from possessing a combination of skills and qualities, you must care about people and their success. Thus, reflect carefully in your response to the initial question. At length, making a difference should be the significant objective.
Write down your goals.
Deciding to become a mentor is one thing, but creating a strategy to make it happen is another. For the purpose, develop SMART goals.
What do you have to achieve within the next week or next 30 days? What do you want to achieve in a year? Use a journal or spiral notebook to record the information.
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 following incarceration, troubled youth, first time supervisors, entrepreneurs, etc.. Where do you feel you can make the greatest impact?
Keep an open mind.
Your mindset will make the difference. That’s why it’s imperative to refrain from being judgmental or biased. Both may 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 requirements? Uncover the challenges and/or opportunities. Even though mentors receive training, not forget your homework.
Think about possible challenges.
Be invited to face any perceived limitations or anxieties. But, brainstorm ways to overcome them.
Want to Keep balance.
Effective mentors excel in buildings relationships and relationship building requires time. Still, you can’t lose sight of your other duties. With that said, get a firm handle of your existing schedule. Sharpen your time management skills so that you don’t stress out.
Take another step.
If you have done all the above, then make your move. There is no time like the present to get started.