Mentors are usually people who have a desire to see others succeed. They can occupy a multitude of positions that run the entire range of our society. From the caring little league coach all the way to the professional mentor training the next person in line to run a corporate empire, all these individuals have a common goal: information exchange through education and example. To this end, they have several ways of going about helping their clients establish and attain goals. These methods are known as mentor activities. The mentor activities employed by the teacher can vary from person to person and are also dependant on the nature of the client. As each client is themselves an individual, a mentor must be aware of their needs and be flexible enough to tailor their mentor activities to suit that individual.
If you are a mentor or are thinking about becoming a mentor, consider employing the following mentor activities which are commonly used in the practice today.
Build trust with your client.
In order for you to build trust with your client, it is important to be consistent. Consistency is a primary mentor activity as it helps people feel safe. As in so many other areas, consistency begins with demonstrating that you follow your words with actions that reinforce them. Walk the talk, so to speak. Consistency can also be regularly demonstrated in areas such as temperament, demeanor, communication and empathy. Building trust can be the most important mentor activity employed by a teacher.
Because trust will build the foundation of the relationship, it becomes essential to employ this mentor activity immediately. Trust may not be achieved right out of the gates but the seeds of trust can be planted quickly. If the person you are mentoring does not trust you, they will have difficulty following your lead, culminating in diminished results, frustration and dissatisfaction for both parties.
Discuss your own mistakes.
This mentor activity is essential because it encourages your student’s sense of possibility. Specifically, it is a mentor activity geared toward helping your client realize that they are not a failure. When you admit to your client that you have made mistakes and discuss with them how you have recovered from those errors, you pass on a sense of hope—hope that if you have overcome adversity, they too can recover from their mistakes and move towards success. This mentor activity can be employed in a dual function, as sharing personal information such as hardships and failures with you client, goes a long way towards establishing trust between two people.
There is a common misconception amongst the public that successful people do not make mistakes. When a client begins to understand that nobody is infallible and errors in judgement and deed are more common than thought, it becomes apparent to them that they too can recover from mistakes that they have personally been a part of.
Engage in discussion that is encouraging.
This mentor activity is simple reinforcement through positive communication. Take the time to listen to your client and determine where their strengths and weaknesses exist. Feel free to be open and share some of your own. Once you have made an assessment, find creative ways to encourage strengths and make organized plans with your client detailing ways to face and overcome potential weak areas.
Sometimes having someone believe in you can propel you into success. Knowing that someone believes in you can give you the confidence you need to move positively towards your future. Combined with hard work and skill, that confidence can take you a long way down the road to success.
Establish a reward system.
As your client improves, find ways to reward them. This is an excellent and simple mentor activity. Celebrate their success with positive feedback and conversation. Encourage the client to step back and see how far they have come. Create specific steps towards their goals and reward them with positivity as they progress. Once you have built a relationship with your client, they will want to celebrate their successes with you. You have the opportunity to provide them with that support.
Choosing mentor activities that work for you and your client is important. Remember, you are investing in the life of someone else; do what you can to make it worthwhile for both of you.