Career Advice, Watercooler

Confessions of Four Serial Mentors

A mentoring relationship is an interesting one to walk into. For starters, it immediately asks of your time, expertise and overall judgment. For some, these asks could be overwhelming and ultimately lead to the downfall of a mentor-mentee relationship that has just started. For others, it’s the in that they’ve been looking for.

For those who have been seeking mentees and have finally entered into this relationship, your next big step is figuring out what mentorship strategies you’ll be implementing over the span of your relationship.

To make this transition easier, four serial mentors chime in on their preferred strategies and why they feel they are so relevant.

Confession #1: A Mentor Moved to Tears
Sincerely caring about another person’s needs, wants, goals and desires is integral to being a strong mentor. According to Serial Innovator-Entrepreneur “Ted,” who founded and built profitable enterprises, he has been known to get tears in his eyes when performing an employee reprimand. This innovator’s natural leadership empathy has organically spurred him into mentoring roles, over the years.

[Related: How to Find A Kick-Ass Mentor At Your Job]

Confession #2: Be A Non-Judgmental Mentor with Actionable Attitude
“Cynthia,” a Program Director and Creative in the education and community services arena, regularly has received feedback that she is “an amazing role model as a mentor” with a collegial attitude. She always is willing to give guidance and show compassion, and is slow to judge. She also is inspirational, empowering and invigorates her mentees into action.

[Related: 5 Signs You’ve Got a Bad Mentor]

Confession #3: A Mentor Who Gains As Much As She Gives
“Gayle,” a Fitness and Sports Nutrition Expert and Principal Trainer, has guided hundreds of individuals over the years and accrued a record of phenomenal results. Some of her mentees have worked with her throughout a 20-year tenure, fortifying her credibility. 

Her experiences are strengthened through consistent self-nourishment and training to build intellectual muscles. Forward-thinking mentors stay ahead-of-the curve through continuing education (attending conferences, webinars, workshops, etc.), and through research/reading on areas of expertise, etc.

Confession #4: Be Available, Not Elusive
“James,” a General Manager in the Oil + Gas industry, became a serial mentor through his openness to others who signaled a need for his help. Lesser-experienced professionals or those who desired to make a leap from a different sector over to where he stood often sought him out, firmly rooted, and willing to assist.

[Related: 3 Easy Ways to Make Sense of Conflicting Career Advice]

When entering a mentorship, take stock on your most dominant qualities and try to find ways in which those can be channeled to best suit your mentee. If you’re organically empathetic, don’t be afraid to work that into the way you mentor. If your strengths rest with logistics, this may be exactly what your mentee could be looking for. Be open to adapting as time goes on and enjoy the start.