How do you leverage your time and gifts to help others grow? How can you help others find their unique gifts and strengths in your organization and life? For many of us older leaders, we are given the gift of being able to help mentor others within our lives and organization. Today, we talk about what a good mentor can do for others. Thursday, I’ll share how you can incorporate mentoring as a way to develop your teams moving forward. So just what makes a good mentor?
The first gift of a good mentor is they challenge the way you see the world. They are very good at helping you see yourself in a different way. Often times they see your unique gifts and strengths before you do. They can help you use them to take your life to the next level. Good mentees learn to accept a higher opinion of themselves so they can grow into it.
The second gift of a good mentor is they provide you with a sounding board. Good mentors help you by asking great questions and giving you the time to uncover extraordinary answers. Good mentors are good listeners. They are willing to provide their insights, as well, but only after you’ve done much of your work first. You shouldn’t be surprised that good mentors are very comfortable in the silence of a good question.
The third gift of a good mentor is they are great at building and growing trust with their mentees. When I think of my favorite mentors, I think of individuals who were willing to challenge me on issues that others might leave alone. I remember one mentor asking me why I haven’t done more with my life. To be honest, I was shocked by the question. I thought I was doing many important things at the time. He then followed up with the quote, “Activity is no substitute for impact.” We then talked about how I might stretch to grow again if I wanted more impact on the world.
After this conversation, I resigned from my current role and was given an opportunity to begin training and developing others in our organization. It was a stretch, but over a very short time I was hooked. As a secondary result, I went to program on how to be a better trainer where I met my wife, Tricia. Needless to say, 20 plus years later, it was the best advice I ever got from a mentor. He also told me it was all right to marry up, and that I could grow into the bigger person I needed to be for the other person.
The fourth gift of a good mentor is they are willing to allow you to be you in your conversations. Many mentors I’ve known struggle because they are looking to help their mentees get the results they agreed to at the beginning of the relationship. They try to call forth the future before its time. The problem is many mentees fail to reach high enough at the beginning of the relationship because they don’t realize the power of great mentoring to accelerate person growth and development. Good mentors seek to help you grow while allowing you to stay where you are. Good mentors provide you with a strong partner who can help you not settle for less than all you can be.
Finally, the gift of a good mentor is they remind us we can get more done in partnership than as an individual. It’s critical today to work in partnerships to accomplish your goals. Good mentors provide an opportunity for us to grow and use our unique gifts for the benefit of others. We’ll talk about how you might apply this mentoring model to help your people and organization grow. See you Thursday.