4 things about a mentor

4 Things About A Quality Mentor

4 Things About A Quality Mentor

Mentor, what does that mean? The dictionary would tell you that, Mentor means an experienced and trusted adviser. That must mean everyone that calls themselves a mentor is experienced or is trustworthy. A lot of attention has been brought on the mentor concept and it seems everyone is a mentor for something. But how do you know if you can trust or even consider the potential mentor experienced? In my experience, it turns out there are 4 things about a quality mentor to consider. 

People are always looking for the next big thing, something to give them the edge. Someone to help lead and guide them into their future. In school, we are taught to ultimately get a job. Be an individual in a sea of potential teammates and leaders. Nowhere in school do they teach effective leadership, how to form and manage a team, how to become a mentor, or even how to find one.

Not Created Equal

Not all mentors are created equal and becoming a mentor should happen without the real intention to become one.

Think about it, when you are not focused on something you are in the flow of your own experience. You can fully embrace what you are going through and how it truly applies to you. Don’t get me wrong it is always a good thing to have goals. But the goal should not overtake the experience you’re having.

Let me be a little more clear. When you are presented with an opportunity(an obstacle in some cases) you have a decision to make. You decide if this opportunity will help or hurt you get to your goal. Either yes to go through or no to bypass. Whichever you choose, be fully committed to the decision and the experience you are about to have.  

After you have made it through to the other side, apply your lessons to your ultimate goal. Ask, how did that experience answer my goal? Maybe you had to bring up and clear out some past experiences in your life.

Well, those past experiences could help someone in the future. By sharing a common experience you speak the language and you are enhancing your goal. In reality, you are putting your goal together like a puzzle before you get there. It is not like you get to your goal and then boom all the knowledge comes to you.

Work For It

You have to work for it and make sure to keep and apply the knowledge nuggets going forward.

Really great mentors had to go through their own trials, their own battles, and they have the scars to prove it. Be wary of the people who call themselves mentors and have nothing to offer.

Well, that’s nice and all but what does this have to do with becoming a mentor? How does someone become a good mentor? How do you know what a good mentor looks like or acts like?  

There are 4 very specific and important things to consider before you make your decision.

4. Make Sure They Share Something in Common

Do not just go for the first mentor you see. Interview them, look up their profile, see what they post, speak about, write about, etc. They should have something closely related to what you are going through and where you want to go.

Too many people jump head first, without looking around first. There is more than one mentor in the world and it is something you should take seriously and make it personal. Remember every mentor should have had their own trials to get through.

There is no time limit on how long it should take you to decide, but you should do some research. If you have the opportunity to talk with your potential mentor, take the opportunity.  Ask them some questions, really listen to their answers. Do they feel canned? Not specific enough? Skirting around the actual problem? Or do they just say don’t worry about that just do this?

Some of the answers you get might make you feel uncomfortable. But there are differences here. Does it make you feel uncomfortable because deep down you know it’s true or is it so far off you’re wondering where the answer came from?

If you feel uncomfortable but you know deep down its the right answer, then you are on the right track. However, if it’s just so far off take it as a sign to dig deeper before committing.  

3. Is it Guidance or Hot Air

Everyone is so quick to give their opinion on anything, even if they don’t know what you’re going through or talking about. When I got out of the military it seemed like everyone wanted to give me advice. They would flaunt their experience as a tool to get me to listen, more then they wanted to hear what I was trying to achieve or what I was going through.

These types of so-called mentors just love to hear themselves talk and they feel like they are saving the world one person at a time. Hot Air can fill a room and melt the snow in the dead of winter. But it cannot guide you.

Someone who gives you guidance is someone who will not necessarily tell you what you want to hear. But they will definitely tell you what you need to hear. More importantly, they have been through similar struggles, having walked through the fire to show you how.

2. Are They Dedicated

Do they always blow you off? Never call you back, only get to your concerns or questions when convenient? Do they send you a Facebook Message or text asking a question, you respond and then hear nothing back?

Now there are only so many hours in a day and I’m not saying a mentor should be ready to respond to you always. But you should trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, say something. This is your life and your mentor guiding your through the forest, you need them on the same page.  

I have had mentors almost forget me when another mentee is making bigger strides. The guidance was turning to hot air just filling time, all responses seemed generic and not specific enough to guide me. It became ineffective.

This is not the only way it can happen, they may constantly reschedule, be half paying attention during your talks, there are many ways this can happen. You just have to trust your instincts and get in front of the issue as soon as possible. Make sure to pay attention to how they respond when you bring it up. Are they combative or understanding, then go with your instinct on whether to move on or not.  

You need to trust yourself and use this as a learning experience. Just because you are involved with this mentor and everything was good in the beginning doesn’t mean things can’t change. If the mentor turns out to be unfit for duty, take what you can learn what you did and didn’t like and find someone even better. Trust yourself, you are allowed to make mistakes, learn from them and move on.

1. Do They Try to Justify Themselves

This is the most annoying one for me. When you say things aren’t working and they come back and say, “just keep doing it, it will get better.” And they follow that up with something like, “I hope you see this is as INSERT ANYTHING HERE and nothing else.”

The problem is you never empathized, asked a question, or even attempted to figure out if the application of the process isn’t working. Or if we need to flex to something out of the box to make things happen.

The lack of support shows their limitations and is a sign they are not capable of helping you any further.

Most mentors I have had the “pleasure” of working with want to keep you in their own comfortable box. Notice I said their. They want to keep you small enough to control, so you listen and keep pounding the pavement in the same direction. For some people, this works because you can just create a system for people to follow and it is easy for the mentor to manage. If people fall off here and there no problem.

But here’s the problem you are not a system you are a person with your own ideas and experiences. You need someone who is not scared to go outside the box, create, expand, explore, answer questions and let you be yourself.

If you find your mentor justifying themselves all the time, leaving you with a pit in your stomach because you have unanswered questions, move on.

Find The Right Mentor

The right mentor should be willing to answer your questions, give you what you need to hear not what you want to hear, go beyond the system they have and share something in common with where you are and where you want to go.

There are plenty of mentors out in the world, and the right one will be ready and willing to take you to the next level. It is just a matter of how willing you are to find the right mentor. Believe me, the right mentor is out there and in today’s world you can learn and connect to someone no matter your location. In addition, someone could be a mentor just by learning from them and not actually talking with them(e-courses, ebooks, etc.) If the Mentor aligns with you there is no reason you should try to learn from them even if it isn’t directly. 

Taking action and getting on your own life path is paramount to your happiness. What if you could be in the flow, manifest, and be happier then you thought possible. Take action now by setting your Goals and Vision first and then take your momentum forward into your future with purpose. Want a little more 1-on-1 guidance schedule a call and really light the fire inside. 

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