Mentorship is the key to fulfilling our potential. We need others that have taken a few more trips around the mountain than us to help us see the way.
You have taken a few trips around the mountain and you have something to offer to someone younger and/or less experienced.
When you take the time to invest in others you are helping them to fulfill their potential. You become a partner in their success.
I majored in Psychology while in university. I learned about a term called scaffolding. The idea is for someone to mature, learn and develop they need the assistance and support of a more competent individual.
This is the idea of mentorship. We each need this type of support and assistance. We are also all capable to being that support and assistance to others.
It can be intimidating if you haven’t stepped out in this way before. Don’t hoard your experiences (the good and the bad). Take the time to invest in others.
Here are 5 keys to keep in mind as the mentor:
1. Be Available: By Phone, email or in person. Be available to the person you have committed to giving mentorship to. They are going to make sacrifices to be in relationship with you. Give them the adequate time to learn and grow from you.
2. Be Open: You have failed (we all have), you have made mistakes and learned things the hard way. Don’t keep these experiences to yourself; they are valuable to the one you are mentoring. They can learn from your mistakes and can avoid some of the pits you have fallen into.
3. Give Homework: If someone is interested in learning from you, they are willing to do some extra work. Assign some homework. I’m not talking about a 15 page paper done in perfect APA style! Ask them to read a book, do some research, or perform a task.
4. Share Stories: Most likely you are older and have richer life experiences. Share your stories with them. This may be the easiest way for them to learn from you. Your experience has made you who you are and has most likely drawn that person to you for mentorship. Take the time to share your stories!
5. Encourage: The person you are pouring into is going through their own struggles as they face fears and the angst of growing up. They need your encouragement. They need to know they are going to make it. Take some time and give them hope.
They key here is to share your experience with others. You can do this through one-on-one relationships, small groups, through a blog and in many other vehicles. I would suggest a bit of all.
Start with a one-on-one relationship. Go out for a coffee and take someone with you!