With all the great benefits of having and being a mentor, I think everyone should be involved in mentoring relationships. But before we experience the benefits of mentoring, we need to get a clear understanding of what a mentor really does. A mentor isn’t a teacher. A mentor isn’t someone who is supposed to make your decisions for you. While everyone has their own idea of the type of mentor they want to be, I’ve recently been challenged to rethink my own personal definition.
This past year, Steve Saccone released a book called Protégé about developing the next generation of leaders. In the book, Steve highlights several ideas that have reshaped my personal definition of mentoring, taking it to the next level.
If we want to be the kind of mentor that creates protégés, here are four ideas we need to embrace:
● Protégé leaders invest in others personally just as much as they do professionally. An effective mentor helps guide and shape a person’s character just as much as guiding and shaping a career. To be a protégé leader, invest in the person your mentee is becoming just as much as what your mentee is doing. This comes from living a life that exemplifies good character and challenging them to always protect their character as they think through various issues.
● Protégé leaders know how to balance relationships. Mentoring relationships are tough. Protégé leaders know how to balance being too involved in the lives of their mentees and not investing enough. They also know when a person needs to be challenged and when they need to be encouraged.
● Protégé leaders multiply their impact by bringing people together. Mentors that create protégés leverage the power of connections. You’re doing the people you mentor a disservice when you aren’t giving them the opportunity to connect with and learn from different people. When we mentor people in community and allow them to learn from their peers, we give them the opportunity to draw ideas and experience from a group of people. Not only does this take some of the pressure off of you as a mentor, it also allows for an interactive dialogue rather than an individual monologue.
● Protégé leaders encourage others to take risks. You won’t find your true calling without taking risks. If you want to be the type of mentor who helps people make drastic improvements in their life, you need to encourage them to take risks. You have the perspective and life experience they don’t have. You’ve seen what has happened when people chose to take a risk and when they chose to stay on the sidelines. Great mentors encourage the people they invest in to take risks because they know that is where the real growth happens.
Are you embracing any of these ideas in your mentoring relationships? How have they paid off?