Thursday, November 29, 2007

On Mentoring and Being Mentored

I have been blessed with great mentors -- people from whom I have learned so much both professionally and in life. Often I did not even realize I was absorbing what they taught until much later. My best mentors never told me what to do and simply supported me with ideas and understanding.

Now, I find myself as a mentor -- it is not a role I seek and I am grateful that someone else would ask my advise. While considering my position as "someone influencing another" I have arrived at the rules I will observe:
  • Mentors should have no connection to the reporting structure of the person being mentored.
  • A mentor’s role is to listen with no agenda and offer alternative choices and thoughts with no goal for myself.
  • The key traits a mentor needs to possess are empathy, understanding, and a desire to witness the growth of another.
  • A mentor needs to be experienced in profession and in life relative to the person seeking a mentor.
  • Mentors cannot directly benefit or be negatively affected by a choice of their charges.
  • The relationship between the mentor and mentored is a private relationship.
  • Those mentored choose their own mentor. Period!
I know that I have benefited from the experience of so many and am grateful for their wisdom. If you find that you too are asked for advise I hope that you will understand all of the implications of words you offer.