Peer to peer mentoring can be a very rewarding experience that often leads to lifelong friendships and bonds. Great mentors have the ability to build relationships with people, ask uncomfortable questions and share their insecurities. They help people reach their goals in many different areas of life. Not-so-great mentors struggle to create an emotional bond with their mentee and their relationships can fizzle out pretty quick.
These tips will make sure you're a great mentor.
REACH OUT TO THEM PERIODICALLY
My goal was to use my experiences to help others move forward in their life, reach their goals and then reach for even bigger goals. It’s very easy to get bogged down with all the little things in life like work, school, errands, personal care, health, family, friends, vacation, religious obligations, and the list goes on.
It may seem like you don’t have time to be a mentor.
As an adult, one of my greatest learnings was to take time out for other people. Show them that you care about them by picking up the phone giving them a call. Ask them how their day was and take an interest in what's going on in their lives. Do the same for your mentee. Reaching out to them shows them that you are genuinely interested in their life and their success.
It opens the door of communication and invites them in.
Invite them out for lunch or coffee or happy hour. This gives the two of you time to connect personally and get to know each other a bit outside of a business or an educational setting. Simply picking up the phone to give your mentee a call or shooting them an email out of the blue will put a smile on their face and keep you connected as time goes on.
MAKE NOTE OF THEIR SPECIAL DAYS
Don't take the time that you have with your mentee for granted. Instead, when your mentee tells you that they're going to MIT for the summer internship (like my awesome mentee did #goalgetter) make a note of the date. When the time comes around, send them tips relevant to their new journey.
If they are starting a new job, make a note of the date so you can send them "new job" tips or share a story from your first day at work. Send them a congratulations or a ‘you got this’ text.
Make it your job to know when their birthday is and how old they'll be. If you're 30 and your mentee is 25, you can share stories with them from your mid-twenties. You can share the lessons you wish you knew at 25. You can help them better prepare for the new challenges ahead of them, whether it's business or personal.
KNOW WHAT THEIR GOALS ARE
As a mentor, you are utterly useless if you can't help your mentee move up in their life. If you make a conscious effort to understand your mentee's goals, you are in a much better position to help them actually achieve them. Encourage them. Keep them accountable. Check in on their progress. (side bonus: you’ll be more motivated to crush your own goals while you help other crush theirs).
Related Content: How to Set the Right Goals in All Areas of Your Life
Help them network in order to reach their goals. If they are in a different field as you, you can help them expand their network and learn new skills by introducing them to your network. If you are in the same field, you will be able to help them potentially land internships and jobs through your own connections.
USE THE GIFT OF FORESIGHT (OR AT LEAST TRY TO)
If your mentee is in school, make a note of when the mid-term and final exams are at their school. This way you will be able to send them inspirational confidence-boosting emails right before they start taking their tests. If your mentee is in an internship or job, help them prepare for evaluations, mid-year reviews or negotiations. Try to account for every stumbling block your mentee could encounter on their journey and make it your job to help them through it, using your experiences as a guide.
In order to be successful at using foresight, you need to really….listen. Sometimes we have so much experience to share, we forget to be good listeners. You won’t be able to know what they really need if you don’t listen to what their saying.
SHARE YOUR FAILURES WITH THEM
Though many people don't want to admit it, we have all failed at something at some time in our lives. On the bright side, those failures usually teach us life’s greatest lessons and allow us to grow incredibly for the better. We are given the gift of our struggles because once we get through them, we now have a roadmap that we can provide to other people in order to help them rise out of their biggest problems in life.
The greatest gift you can give your mentee is to share these stories. The most painful stories of your life have likely taught you more than all of the times you triumphed with minimal effort. These are the lessons that hold great value for your mentee. These are the stories that will propel them forward when they reach hard times.
GET A GOOD MENTOR
A great way to learn to BE a good mentor, is to HAVE a good mentor to learn from. Seek out someone you admire and ask if they’d be willing to mentor you. Ask someone who is 1 or 2 jobs above you to teach you their ways.
Being a mentor is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your time. Share your knowledge with others. It doesn't help anyone if you keep all that wonderful experience to yourself. :-) Your story is meant to be shared.
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Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants that they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.