In our last article I discussed who I am as a “Self-Protection Mentor.” I spoke generally but here I’ll lay out, via a helpful list provided by Morag Barrett back in 2014, a summary of the role of a mentor, as I believe it’s a good list with which to start:
- Advisor and coach- The mentor provides advice, guidance, and feedback, shares their experience and expertise as appropriate, and acts as a sounding board for ideas and action plans.
- Champion and cheerleader- The mentor offers encouragement and support to try new things, they help mentees move out their comfort zones, they celebrate successes, and they help mentees understand when things do not go as planned.
- Resource and recommendations- Mentors identify resources that will help mentees with personal development and growth, such as recommending books, workshops, or other learning tools and they encourage mentees to join networking organizations or introduce them to new contacts.
- Devil’s advocate and “truth-sayer”- Mentors provide the tough feedback that mentees need to hear in order to move forward, they push mentees to take risks when appropriate, and they help mentees consider and weigh potential consequences of decisions and actions to avoid the pitfalls and predictable surprises that may occur.
So I, as a Self-Protection Mentor, will act as these things in the list. It’s what I love doing with people and I’m happy to do it.
But that doesn’t mean that you can sit back, do nothing, receive what I have to offer, take zero actions, and then wonder why you don’t know any more than you did prior to reaching out. No, that’s not going to cut it, and this is why my mentorship isn’t for everyone. I simply won’t let that happen.
Going back to Ms. Barrett’s article, here are the responsibilities of a mentee so that you can begin to understand what your role is when you partner with me. My notes are italicized:
- The mentee will identify initial learning goals and measures of success for the mentoring relationship be open to and seek feedback. (Note: We will do this together, trust me; in the beginning of the process you don’t know what you don’t know.)
- The mentee will take an active role in their own learning and help drive the process. (Note: Go back to the Mentor List and you’ll see that I’m an advisor and coach; you’ve got to take ownership and action, a fact that we’ll both agree on from the start.)
- The mentee will schedule and attend mentor conversations. (Note: I’m excellent at many things but I’m horrific at mind reading. I’ve tried it [I’ve been married 19 years!] and I’m just no good at it. Reach out to me and we’ll walk through the issues you face together.)
- The mentee will follow through on commitments and take informed risks as they try new options and behaviors in support of career and development goals. (Note: Like I said, you don’t get off the hook simply because you have me showing and telling things. It’s like the saying goes, “Well done is better than well said.”)
The bottom line is that this is a relationship. We’re going to share our lives, with reasonable and appropriate boundaries, of course. I’ve got duties and responsibilities to you that I’m going to go out of my way to make sure I handle and vise versa. This is a type of relationship from which I’ve benefitted both in the martial world as well as in the ministry world. Solid men who’ve opened their lives to me and walked with me through the beginning phases of my journey laid the foundation for me to want to do the same for you.
So that’s it. The Mentor/Mentee relationship. This is how we’ll relate to one another when you contact me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Until next time,