Throughout my life I've been a mentor to a number of different people. In school, I worked as a student mentor in a student mentorship program. I guess that was where I got my first taste of it. When I moved onto university I worked as a mentor at the summer school my university ran. It was basically a creative summer camp for teens who were at risk of dropping out of school or getting expelled. More recently I've mentored small business owners and people waiting to take the leap into running their own businesses. A stepping stone for me, into consultancy. I always think that if I weren't an illustrator I'd love to be a life coach of some sort. Saturday was National Mentoring Day so I wanted to share some great things about my experiences as a mentor. Here are Three Good Things About Being A Mentor.
They sit somewhere in between teacher, coach, and sometimes, friend.
The bonds you grow with mentees throughout a program are something special. It is nice being on the same level and being able to talk openly and honestly because of that. It's different from that of a teacher role as the hierarchy can be broken down. It's also really nice to nurture friendships and relationships that encourage that sort of communication. Like an artist would have a muse. This doesn't seem to be that common these days and I think that is an absolute shame. If you're running your own business why not pair up with another small business owner and make a date to check in with one another? See how each other's work are going, offer insight, help each other out.
You get the opportunity to really help someone if you're being a mentor or to really be helped, if you're open to it.
When I was working as a student mentor I remember a particular group of students who were very underwhelmed to be taking part in an activity, to say the very least. They turned up and were all attitude. Making jokes, not showing any interest, everything was dumb to them. Something happened in that course. We got to them. We showed them that learning is actually really fun and it doesn't have to be a chore. By the end of that course they were asking what they had to do to get into university, what alternative routes there were to build their careers, how they could study to become what they wanted, what career options there were for that course. They had done a complete 180 turn and it was amazing to be a part of it.
It's a chance to learn what you know.
That might sound a bit strange. I've always thought that you really learn something once you teach it to someone else. We hold on to so much information that we take for granted, but it's not until we can share that information with someone that we can truly learn it. We can also see for ourselves just what we do know. Having been a mentor for small business owners who are at an earlier stage than myself, I've been able to share some of the things that I have learned over the years and just taken for granted.
For anyone who likes to help people, mentoring someone is a great way to do it. Facebook even has an option for certain groups that use their platform to create mentorship schemes amongst their members. I found it really neat. It provides you and your mentee with a place to check in and check up, it provides prompts for discussions to have and a place to chat about things and to share information. Best of all? It keeps it there so you can refer back to it after the mentorship ends.
Have you had a great mentor in your life or a great experience with being a mentor?
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