It is no new fact that some of the world's greatest people are mentors. Mentorship is a unique profession where a person in a higher position of authority, influence, fame, or financial status, assumes a position where he/she can influence the actions and potentials of another person in an obviously lower position.
A large number of young people have their actions modelled after someone they consider a role model, which is another form of mentorship. Mentorship is usually based on contact, where the mentor has some connections with the mentee.
The mentees(the one that is mentored) usually lookout for the mentor who may be more visible than him/her.
However, many times even the distant mentorship is discarded by the mentee who may consider the mentor not worth emulating or not interested in a mentor-mentee relationship or role model-mentee relationship.
Many people in higher positions have understood the importance of becoming mentors to the younger generations and they strive to become the mentors they are supposed to be. That is to infer that, whereas the young mentee would disappear or rule off someone as not ready for a mentor-mentee relationship, the would-be mentor would actually be interested in coaching them.
Benefits Of MentorshipThere are inherent benefits in mentorship for both parties involved, although it may appear that only the mentee benefits or at most, benefits more than the mentor. Let me try to give a list of the benefits to both the mentor and the mentee.
But just before then, suffice me to say that in a role model relationship, the role model may not even be aware that they are indirectly affecting their distant mentee.
Benefits To The MentorThe benefits of mentorship to the mentor are not usually as great as they are to the mentee for various reasons. First, the mentee seems to need the relationship more so they can learn from the superior through advice, role modelling, and offers if possible. But to the mentor, the major benefit is realised by those I call the true mentors. They are natural mentors, in the sense that they would always want the younger people to be around them and learn something or get something from them. I also want to see this as an act of responsibility that people of the older generations see their own responsibility to contribute to the success of the younger generations.
To such a mentor, that self-satisfaction that he/she is investing in the lives of younger people who look up to them and admire them is considered such a great deal.
To mentors who do not want any attachments with those who look up to them for mentorship, there are no benefits. There is no regrets or afterthoughts that their mentorship fails without their notice.
When you have become successful, young people who desire success automatically look up to you for directions. In other words, you do not ask them for mentorship. They actually do. But when they do, what happens next?
At a conference I attended, I met a young entrepreneur who has achieved great feats in entrepreneurship despite the demands of his professional callings of being a medical doctor. After a few hours of lectures and answering questions, the interests of most of the listeners were raised to make contact with him so that he can coach them in business. He casually added that he welcomes people that are ready for mentorship but with the way he sounded, it appeared to me like one of those mentors who just recently realised the need for mentorship.
It was only towards the end of my personal conversation with him that I realised why his mentorship would always fail with the way he handled it.
I was able to take his contact details but I did not bother to reach out to him and I am very sure most other people would not either.
but what could be this grievous crime that made us detest him so much for mentorship? First, note that it is not a grievous crime and we do not detest him. But there is one simple and common reason why mentorship commonly fails. Before we explore that, let us see the benefits to the mentee.
People always run away from such a relationship with mentees because they are afraid some of them would lay unnecessary burdens on them. For example, a mentee asking for business startup money from them. This reason is justifiable but the few numbers of people that would behave this way should not make you turn your back entirely against the rest of them.
How The Mentee BenefitsLike I mentioned earlier, the mentee has a great lot to benefit from the mentor. These could be in the following forms;
1. Role modelling.
2. Source of knowledge and advice.
3. Emotional support when they feel like giving up.
4. Sometimes depending on how close, financial support.
5. Source of motivation and encouragement.
6. Guidance and counselling.
There could many more on this list but let us now see why your mentorship has always failed.
How To Be A Successful MentorThere are some few things to do to make you a successful mentor. Failure to adhere to these will make your new potential mentees to turn back and not follow you anymore. Though you have nothing to lose from this, I personally think it is still worth addressing.
1. The first reason why your mentorship has failed is not knowing your mentees:Simple questions that foster intimacy like their names, where they are from could be the first step to a successful mentorship when you meet a league of potential mentees. When your potential mentees come to meet you to thank you for being who you are or for a lecture you just delivered, they are actually coming to introduce themselves to you and to get their contact if possible.
When you act in a certain way, it gives them the impression that you do not want them in your life and they would not want to bother you so much from then on. Asking for their names or other information about them creates intimacy and registers in their minds that you are open to them.
2. Discuss some of the things you do with them:I learnt this from a very senior friend and mentor, a man to which I am no match in any single way. He is a man I love so much because he believes in the younger generation. Despite his international statuses, the day we met, he discussed many things with us when he saw that we are keenly interested in the things he does. That further strengthened our bond till the present day.
When you do this, you further raise their trust in you and believe that you are interested in their growth and progress.
3. Give them advice even when need be:One of the ways you can show them that you are approachable and willing to impact them is when you are always keen to advise them when they are going the wrong directions. It may not be the best thing to start giving them money except when it is most required, however, words of advice will go a long way to build them up and to make them develop trust that you are willing to help them grow.
4. Don't give them the impression that you are against their growth:Why would anyone think you don't want them to succeed? Or why should anyone think you are afraid they will be greater than you?
Some of the best mentors out there are those who don't allow their mentees to have such impressions. Anyone can nurture those evil impressions against you but there are some behaviours or actions that may make them think so too. The greatest people in the world today are those who do not let the competition change them. You must not act in ways that make your mentees think you just don't want them to grow higher than the heights you attained.
There may be more tips than these and I hope to update the list with time but one important thing you must realise is that mentorship, especially the closed contact kind of mentorship discussed here is very important. The principles highlighted here may also apply to distant mentorship with varying modifications. But really, being a successful mentor has its own satisfaction alongside other benefits that the individual would later notice. Hope you enjoyed your read?