Editors Note: Who Is Your Mentor? Pt-4 – Relate – is the last post of our series – Who Is Your Mentor? by Emeka Nobis. If you missed it, you can find them here.
Mentoring is a relationship. There has to be a contact and then a connection between the mentored and the mentor. It is so commonplace in our times to hear many folks talk about being mentored by individuals with whom they have no relationship with. The mentor has to be in the know that he or she is consciously mentoring someone; otherwise it is role modelling and not mentoring.
At some point in my life I decided I needed to attend a proper business school to be tutored in the rudiments of the business of my talent. So I enrolled into one. One of the requirements for obtaining a certificate from the school was a compulsory mentoring phase under a businessman in the industry one was in. The school matched students with mentors who had the best fit for them. There was no prior contact between the student and the mentor.
By the time I had set up a meeting with the mentor assigned to me, I discovered he lacked the cutting-edge creativity and the work attitude I desired to see in my own life. He was good, no doubt, but on a deeper level, I desired much more. Consequently, the connection needed to sustain the relationship didn’t happen. We just had two meetings and everything fizzled away.
Research has discovered that when the mentored reaches out to create relationships with the mentor, the mentored did better in terms of productivity, career growth, business exploits and overall performance. As a mentor, consider the fact that someone reached out to you to mentor him or her as a cardinal role to advance the course of humanity. It proves the validity of your own work and its supreme ability to light the paths of others.
Given, there are a lot of misconceptions in the hearts of individuals who reach out to mentors to be mentored. To some, mentorship is a guise they come up with to avoid paying to be trained. They try to cut off that need and then seek to milk the mentor for his bag of experience and expertise. To some, mentoring is having a ball with mentor; taking photos and acquiring bragging rights to show off to friends or to improve professional profiles. Your role as a mentor is to clearly define what mentoring means to you and establish the rules of engagement. Within that boundary – which may still be redefined as the relationship goes on – the mentoring process can proceed healthily and without fuss.
It is important to set up and agree on the measurements for growth. In working with my clients on the system I developed called LEDGE, I help them set up their social media platforms (if they don’t have any) and we write down the dates. Tracking results – followership, quality of content, feedbacks, and consistency of engagement – are strictly followed. This places responsibility on the client to adhere to the rules of engagement. As a mentor, you have to invest in the true development of the mentored. Set up key performance indices and walk with the mentored to get incremental results.
Vulnerability is very key to developing a deep and organic relationship. It opens up the mentored to take difficulties steps. Vulnerability is based on trust and mutual respect, just like it exists between married couples. Which married person would anticipate to be murdered by the spouse when he or she lies down at night to sleep? I daresay there is none. It is a point of completely stripping ourselves of the walls of social intimacy and allowing our souls weld with others. This openness and trust is very vital to developing awesome relationships.
Do not manipulate the mentored. Allow them take huge bites without fear and leave the window open to leverage on their failures. Yes, your role is to see the big picture based on your expertise, but you have to agree that our lenses as humans may not be stretched like others. Never allow the bigness of the vision of the mentored to bend your knees to subscribe to manipulation in order to keep the mentored tied to your reins.
Human relationships will always have an end. Students move on to higher levels. Music brands splinter. Colleagues at work change jobs and forge new relationships with others. Couples break up or die. The finality of relationships on this side of life is an inescapable proposition. However, the point should be taken that it hurts to opt out of deep relationships. The feelings of inadequacy, shame or denial may crop up as a result. This is where many mentors fail – to accept that the mentored desires to dissolve the relationship and move on.
As we move up in life, certain deep relationships we hitherto kept with others won’t ascend with us. This is purely human. We may have different mentors for the different aspects of our life’s pursuits. At some point, just like other relationships, we may have a need to severe relationships and move on. A mentor has to come to the point of acceptance of the finality of the relationship and bid the mentored well. Sadly, this has not gone down well for many. Discuss the terms intelligently, appreciate the wonderful times spent sharing and growing together, and bid the mentored well in his or her pursuits, while remaining open to the fact that you will be a reference point of success in the mentored resume of progress.