For a long time, I thought of mentorship as something far-fetched that I couldn’t have. This is because all the people that I wished could mentor me were on TV screens and too far to be reached. Where or how would I ever be able to connect with these people in my lifetime?
This is the same question a lot of people are asking. We believe that we understand our lives and have the best idea of who should provide us with the needed mentoring. But what we actually want from a mentorship is to only be associated with the reputation and personal brand of our dream mentors (The crave for glitz and glamour).
Another issue is that most people do not even know who/what a mentor means. In simple terms, a mentor is someone who has gone ahead in a particular area or field and who is also willing and able to guide you along that path that you are veering into. This simply means that mentoring is a symbiotic relationship where the one who is being mentored is called the ‘mentee’, and the one providing guidance is called the ‘mentor’.
A mentor is someone you admire and desire to be like someday. This means that you are ready and willing to allow the person lead you to where you want to get to. A lot of times, people make the mistake of getting a mentor to help them in all areas of their lives. This, in truth, can be very tiring and ineffective to both parties involved. A mentorship can only be very effective when both parties are committed to investing time, energy and resources in getting the best of such a relationship.
After recognising who a mentor should be, you need to know how to connect with them. Below are 3 simple steps to enjoy the best of a mentoring relationship.
Effective mentoring starts from self-examining your life and areas that you need help with. Mentorship is real work and should not be sought out for just casual reasons. It should be something you truly need at that stage of your life. Some of the areas you might want to examine your life and seek out mentoring for includes:
- Self Development
Reach out to them
After recognising areas you need to be mentored on, seek out mentors who can be of help. If you really need mentoring in any, then you should be able to go all out to connect with people who can be of help. This doesn’t have to be so difficult to do – it could be an older friend, aunty, uncle, pastor, boss or even a senior colleague at work. Sometimes, these people may not be readily accessible. You can begin by listening to their tapes, conference speeches, interviews, etc.
I believe that for more effective mentoring, it is better to look for someone you can easily reach out to and connect with physically. Speak to them, send them messages, talk to them about how you will like to be mentored by them in such specific areas.
Being Open to Mentorship
It is not just enough to connect with a mentor, but you should be willing to also be mentored by them. Speak to them as often as you can, send them your personal growth plan and the actions you are taking. Seek their counsel on how to get better. Do not always think that once you have been able to connect with a mentor, that’s all there is to. You need to be active and very deliberate about the mentorship relationship.
To do so, try the following:
- Send them a detailed copy of your growth plans and progress report. This could be done monthly.
- Seek their advice before making major moves. This will show that you honour them and appreciate their leadership.
- Appreciate them at every given opportunity you get; on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Be an active supporter of what they are doing; buy their books, pay to attend their training, conferences, etc
- Make them proud by also growing.
Mentorship is always a great opportunity to learn and achieve greater feats faster in life, as you will be leveraging on already existing platforms. But to enjoy this kind of relationship, you must always learn at every opportunity you get with a mentor.