‘A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself’. Oprah Winfrey
Mentoring is an art, and unfortunately, too many fail to understand that.
It can be the means of self-discovery and growth as an artist, and, in my opinion, is totally undervalued.
Mentoring is the sensible, sound advice from someone you respect, who offers their experiences, knowledge, and compassion – because they’ve stood where you’re standing now, and they understand your hopes, your dreams, as well as your fears.
Their job is to offer possibilities, extend your thinking, open broader perspectives, and guide you to unlock and question your options.
A good mentor should never tell you what to do, what to think, or how to achieve your outcomes – that’s your job.
Simple reassurances or criticism aren’t what’s needed here – it’s their insight and ability to share what they know in a way that can be understood and used by someone else – that’s the key, and it’s not easy, because everyone is so very different.
Mentoring is the gift of growth. It can be structured or one-off. It should nurture, support self-esteem, and confidence-building.
Mentoring isn’t like teaching which is based on past learning. It’s using the experiences and knowledge of one person, to help another on their journey – and really, nowadays, that’s pretty special.
But this is a two-way relationship. The Mentee needs to clarify exactly what it is they’re after; their expectations, and outcomes.
So the role of a good Mentor is to gently guide the Mentee to ask questions that will lead them to uncover solutions for themselves.
It’s simply prompting thinking in a new light, and for the life of me, I don’t understand why it’s not utilised more often.