Becoming successful in your own right is one thing; where the real fulfillment starts to come from is when you can use your skills to help someone else achieve their dreams. Through helping someone achieve their dreams, you get a similar but more powerful result yourself.
I’ve never been a formal mentor to anyone and recently I somehow fell into this role. No one told me what I had to do; I just did what I thought was right. Looking back, I wish someone had told me some of the basics of mentoring.
To stop you having the same problem, I have put together 6 skills that you need to become a world-class mentor:
1. Help them find what’s missing
Your most important role as a mentor is to help the mentee find what’s missing. What is missing in 99.9% of cases is a lack of passion or purpose. The person you’re mentoring wants to take it to the next level, and they feel lost.
In order to define where they want to go, and what they want to do with their remaining time on planet earth, you have to help them see what get’s them going. In my own mentoring situation, my student couldn’t work out what made him feel great about his life.
He is a spectacular leader, much older than me, a lot smarter than me, and has some entrepreneurial traits. When it came down to it, the only thing he did without fail, and that made him happy, was to lead people towards their destiny and keep them motivated.
All I did was look at his facial expressions and language when he responded to my questions, and within a few minutes, I could see that leadership was the correct path for him. When you mentor your own mentee’s go above and beyond to follow this strategy and uncover what’s missing.
2. Inspire your mentee to a new level
One valuable resource you have to offer as a mentor is inspiration. It’s easy to lose motivation and feel like you’re getting nowhere. Those of us who have achieved some level of success know that the road is long and treacherous.
With my mentee, I found that he had no idea he was a phenomenal leader. He took his number one skill for granted and didn’t realise that people loved working with him. He didn’t realise that all the un-complex tasks he did for his team every day were a rare trait that not many leaders have.
“As a mentor, sometimes all you need to do is become a magnifying glass for everything that is right in another person “
3. Challenge them
It’s not all fun and rainbows when you are a mentor. Being a world-class mentor as opposed to a mediocre mentor requires you to challenge your mentee. It’s your job not to let them slack off and tell them what they may not want to hear.
It’s easy to pump people up with artificial motivation, but it’s much harder to find out where the improvements lie and to deliver them on a cold bed of raw potato. My mentee had to be told that while there was some entrepreneurial spark inside of them, it wasn’t standing out enough for me to recommend they start a business.
The myth that you start a business and you all of a sudden get more time and more money is rarely ever true. You have to love what your business is about and be happy to do it for free, for as long as it takes – that’s what true entrepreneurship is.
4. Use leverage
Giving terrific advice is rarely enough. Your job as a mentor is to get your mentee into action. The best way to do this is through people that they respect. These respected people need to become the mentee’s accountability partners.
What sucks about having me as a mentor is that I don’t waste any time and take my role very seriously. My mentee mentioned that they were having trouble getting their belt on because they had gained a little weight.
I instantly planted the idea about fasting. They thought the idea was good and asked me “when should I start?” I replied with “when would now be a good time.” They wanted to think about it, and I just went straight to, “you should have your last meal tonight before 8 pm.”
When they agreed to my proposal, I then started telling everybody I saw about what they were going to do to create leverage. While spreading the news, I saw someone else that looked like they could join in on the fast. I told them they had to give me an answer straight away.
When they agreed, they called their wife to tell them what they were going to do. Within minutes, I had emailed a leader they both respected to tell them of what the two of them had committed to. This approach had created unstoppable momentum and leverage that there was no going back from.
As of this writing, they have both finished their five day fast and have learned some valuable lessons that would have never been possible without leverage.
5. Intro them to others
It’s common in the business world to hold your Rolodex of contacts closely to your chest. As a mentor, you must relinquish this ridiculous practice and open up your book of contacts to your mentee. Find out who could add value to their life and then start introducing people to them.
I’ve been lucky in the last few weeks to have someone do this for me, and it has resulted in the opportunity to meet with some of the most famous technology brands on the planet. The effect on my life has been drastic, and this can only be achieved through generosity.
When you share what you have with others, you get ten times the return back. I recently shared some of my best contacts with someone, and now my friend and my contacts are conspiring together to help me achieve my dream. Bottom line; give everything you have without thinking.
6. Share your stories
As a mentor, there’re no training books or how to guide for mentee’s that lays out everything both of you must do. The training manual is the mentor’s repertoire of stories. In my coaching sessions, I regularly roll out stories from my entrepreneurial endeavors as a way to show people what’s possible.
Many of my stories demonstrate that you don’t need any qualifications or skills, just sheer determination, wit, courage, and the ability to take action. Every session you have with a mentee is your opportunity to bring out a story from the archives that relates to the battle they are having.
The more stories you share with them, the more references they have for achieving their individual goals. Stories are a unique way of teaching, and they keep the mentee engaged. Try to keep the stories sharp and to the point, and share even the bits that might make you vulnerable.
Do you believe you can be a world-class mentor? If not, why? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
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