One of the most exciting moves in the game of baseball occurs when the slugger steals a base, then two, then three, then slides home!
In some ways, the dividends of being a mentor are a bit like stealing all the bases. Here’s what one seasoned mentor wrote:
—–“I get to re-teach myself important lessons from my experience, as I prepare to support my mentee.
—–My only mission is to help my mentee become more able, so I concentrate on listening, clarifying, probing and challenging. That carries over into all my relationships and helps ME be a better person and more interesting to be around.
—–Mentoring forces me to re-open my mind to a wider range of alternatives and ways of thinking. I become more creative and thoughtful, and that rubs off on my own habits, judgments and decision-making.
—–Working with mentees from different circumstances helps me look at t hings I might otherwise ignore or never face. I’ve had mentees who are younger, older, of a different gender, culture and race than myself. They have gifted me with a spectrum of views, values, norms and ways of thinking that i can now celebrate.”
WOW! That’s like stealing ALL the bases….in the game of life…and winning the inning!
Motivations are many: better work environment; greater reward; new degree on the horizon; new opportunities in the same organization.
There’s a particular triangle of talent that can really energize workers and that’s a good relationship between a manager, a mentee and the mentor.
Good managers recognize the underdeveloped abilities of their people and they can recommend mentors to help further the progress of their team members.
Aware mentees are the ones who can best identify areas in which they know or suspect they need growth.
Taking their developmental objectives to a good manager will help identify the sort of mentoring desired.
Gifted mentors provide strategic guidance to mentees, supporting both the manager and the growing mentee.
Mentors suggest readings, growth-oriented assignments and work in their own lessons of experience–
WITHOUT being problem-solvers for their mentees.
The solid energy triangle between the manager, mentee and mentor recognizes that it is the mentee
who’s the most in charge of his or her personal growth. Others can champion this adventure,
but it’s up to the mentee to “spring forward.”
Trust is a big word–and includes answers to these four questions:
—Do I trust the information?
—Do I trust the judgement?
—Do I trust the commitment to follow through?
—Do I trust the intentions TOWARD ME?
Sometimes the answers to these questions actually result in lowered trust levels–and breakdown in mid-journey.
No matter how hard we work at building and maintaining trust, situations arise that can cause “potholes” of damage.
Trust is a two-way street, so these repair suggestions work for both Mentors and Mentees along the high-way
of this unique relationship called mentoring:
—When trust is damaged, be ready to work really hard to get it back.
—Take the first step by deciding to let the past go–for the sake of the relationship.
—Be honest about your own contribution to the problem, even it it’s embarrassing.
—Work together to establish realistic goals around renewed commitment.
Trust always has to be maintained; it takes both partners to keep it as a vital causeway in human endeavor.