Updated: Dec 20, 2019
"One who refuses to seek the advice of others will eventually be led to a path of ruin. A mentor helps you to perceive your own weaknesses and confront them with courage. The bond between mentor and protege enables us to stay true to our chosen path until the very end." Anonymous
That’s how I always used to hear folks say in their motivational speeches that it was important that every single person have a mentor – that trusted person you can turn to for advice and guided recommendations on how to navigate various areas in your life’s wheel. In an age where a good number of us feel like the world is out to get us, we all need a safe space to articulate our frustrations or desire for change. I enjoy the privilege of both sides of the mentor/mentee spectrum as I find it both informative and rewarding.
Since becoming an author and evolving as a speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to mentor young women specifically on the topics I cover in my books. Finding oneself in the face of insecurity and low self-esteem, transitioning from one life’s phase to the next, turning an idea into a brand and profitable business are some of the few topics I love to help women work through on account of my personal and professional experiences. So if you are considering embarking on a journey that involves cultivating a relationship with a mentor, allow me to share a few pointers that will help you foster a great relationship with your mentor:
1. Carry out thorough profile audits as you identify possible mentors. One of my friends once recommended someone who they felt would be great in helping me restructure my side hustles. A quick Google search revealed that this lady has a bunch of court cases pending for non-payment of service providers. Now, now…how can you agree to be mentored by someone violating a whole hosts of rights while doing business? Needless to say, I kept it moving, settling for someone I genuinely felt was a natural fit beyond just discussing business.
2. Be ready to share your challenges, goals, shortcomings and fears openly. Trust is founded on openness. If you are still guarded about what you will share perhaps take a step back and assess whether you are in fact ready to be mentored. Mentors have a difficult time helping someone if they aren’t willing to be vulnerable. With a good mentor, the more you share, the better the chances they can help you figure out how to go about ironing out your objectives and finding solutions to what lies before you.
3. Your mentor isn’t “The Fixer.” If you aren’t prepared to do the work, there is no point soliciting the advice of a mentor. Mentors are usually well-versed with dealing with situations that relate to their area of expertise. New mentees often come with a lot of questions, but aren’t ready or willing to consider the advice handed to them. Do the work. Your relationship will be a lot more meaningful if you do the work and ask questions while you actually do the work.
4. Carefully consider the advice handed to you. A good mentor is objective. They will give you advice based on their experiences either mentoring others or having dealt with particular situations themselves. Consider their advice. Not doing so is a waste of their time and yours. Figure out how you can apply what they are saying then – per the preceding point – put in the work.
5. Give feedback. Mentors respond to feedback on the impact of their advice. If something we said didn’t work we would like to be able to help mentees figure out alternatives to help them get ahead. So again, share. Share your experiences, share your fears; share your wins, where you feel you are losing at and so on. Whatever the case is, mentors take on the role of mentoring you because they are vested in your progress.
Growth requires accountability partners. I like to look at my mentors and mentees as my accountability partner; the people GOD sends into my life to help me with checks and balances?
What are your thoughts on mentor/mentee relationships?