Mentoring 101: The Basics


Some of the most common conversations I have with students involve the idea of mentorship. Today’s university students and other Millennials are desperate to be mentored by someone who has more life experience and wisdom.

The great thing about mentoring is that, if done well, it has just as much benefit for the mentor as it does the mentee. While many people agree that mentoring is beneficial, many people don’t have a mentor/mentee relationship in their lives.

Today, I’ve pulled together some of the best resources I’ve found on mentoring. These will help us define mentoring, find a mentor, and make the most of our mentoring relationships.

If you are desperate for someone to mentor you, here are three steps to help you find that person and develop a relationship that will provide a two-way street of wisdom and insight:

Step #1: Define what “mentor” means.

If you want to develop a mentoring relationship with someone with more life experience than you, you first need to make sure you have a proper definition of what a mentor really is. A mentor isn’t a teacher. A mentor isn’t someone who is supposed to make your decisions for you… they invest in you with knowledge, wisdom, and insight to living life with passion.

I love the definition of “mentor” Tyler Braun shares in this post:

A mentor is intentionally involved in your life to help you move from a melancholy existence in the mundane toward a life of significance.

By understanding what a mentor really is, we can have a good starting point for the kind of person we want to invite to be intentionally involved in our lives. At the same time, if we’ve been asked to mentor someone, we can have a good description of what is expected.

Step #2: Find a mentor.

Finding someone who can invest in your life over the course of months or years is probably the most difficult part of mentoring. In this post, Ron Edmondson shares how to find a mentor. Essentially, finding a mentor is as simple as “looking for one” and then “asking them.” However, Ron shares some really great thoughts when it comes to finding the right mentor for you.

Step #3: Make the most of the mentoring relationship.

If you truly want to make the most of your mentoring relationship, you need to check out this post with 10 tips for getting the most out of your mentor.

The truth is that making the most of your mentor/mentee relationship is a lot more difficult than starting one. People get busy, meetings get rescheduled, and eventually a mentor and mentee decide to move on. Unfortunately, this happens a lot in mentoring relationships. By setting expectations, expressing gratitude, and following some of the other tips in the post, you can establish a mentoring relationship that will provide some of the most fruitful conversations and advice you could ever receive.

Are you currently in a mentoring relationship? If so, how have you benefitted? If not, what has been preventing you from starting one?