tips for a mentor

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg

Stand out as a mentor with the below mentorship tips.

1. Tell stories.

In this Internet age, the information gap has enormously been reduced, almost declared non-existent. Yet, our thirst for personal stories still remains insatiable.
A personal story is memorable. Psychologist Jerome Bruner, In his book Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, estimates that facts are approximately 22 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story.

We are emotional beings who are more similar than we are different. Stories cement our similarities. They evoke emotions, help us to connect and cultivate empathy to each other. A personal story is a personal touch, a part of our true identity.

A story emphasizes the idea of persistence. It goes to show that growth is a journey and no one is always figured out. Stories break the ice and reduce the ‘uptightness’ that comes with mentorship. It shows the mentor is human as well.

Everybody has a story they can tell. Moreover, these stories are what cause mentorship to have taction. Have faith in your experiences and be bold in sharing them.

Vulnerability breeds Vulnerability. The more you open up about your experiences and sincere thoughts the more easier it will be for your mentee to open up as well.

2.Confidentiality.

A mentorship space should be safe. A space which is free of judgement. What the mentee chooses to disclose in the sessions should remain safe with you.

Discussing their issues with other people outside of the mentorship sessions is unprofessional and unethical. It represents a breach in trust. It shows lack of respect. An impertinent person pushes people away and other people cannot risk opening up to them.

As a mentor, it is important to have respect to the Information a mentee shares with you. Learn to be a confidant.

3. Value the mentee(s).
In most cases, the mentor is normally ‘superior’ in terms of experience and skills. This situation may cause the mentor to overlook the value of the mentee.

Considering that most individuals are self-centered, it takes intentionality to esteem someone else and to do it authentically.

Because of how mentors are positioned in society, their mentality towards mentees may sometimes be flawed. Some mentors consider mentees as having ‘Nothing much to offer.’ This is a completely distorted mentorship approach and it projects pride and unapproachability.

It creates an invisible wall which eventually begins to eat into the mentorship relationship. Mentees are people of value and people who can build up their mentors too. Value the person you are mentoring, on the very least they are the reason you have the ‘mentor ‘ title.

Be genuinely interested in knowing them and Interacting with them.

It is important to remember that people may forget what you say but they rarely forget how you made them feel. Make sure your mentee feels appreciated and nurtured.

4.Allow your mentee to make the decisions.

A mentor doesn’t shove decisions down the throat of a mentee.

The mentor listens keenly, analyzes the situation and gives feedback. The feedback consists of different approaches highlighting both their pros and cons. This in parallel to giving personal stories as previously mentioned, better positions a mentee for decision making.

A mentor is an enabler. It’s the mentee’s responsibility to analyze the different approach methods proposed and then take a decision on their own accord.

Pass on the fishing Rod not the fish. Teach the mentee skills, skills in decision making, analysis, reporting, managing and the like. This way, no matter which physical spaces they may find themselves in, they will have the knowledge to apply and skills to use.

Decision making for the mentee grows their confidence and optimism.  It promotes their independence, responsibility and accountability.

Try not to practice spoon-feeding in mentorship
“Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon” —E.M.Forster

5. Be very clear on the expectations/ goals from the beginning.

The goals of the mentorship should be mutually understood by both parties. It’s not only your mentee’s journey, but yours as well.

The mentor should always have in mind the goals and expectations because this is the destination. It is the bearing point in the mentorship journey.
Clarity creates the space for the mentor to Encourage and motivate the mentee in the proper direction, the direction agreed upon by both of them.

This reduces the chances of disappointments and gives the mentor a clear vision.
Besides this, be very clear on the communication channels, time (schedule generally) and the ‘where’.

Mentors don’t necessarily have all the answers, but they can help mentees find their own answers.


Be sure to check out the mentorship tips for mentees as well, you can borrow a leaf from there.

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