Lessons Learned: Understanding How to Be a Mentor

No matter your career level, there are always opportunities to be a good mentor. I stress the word good because it’s important to take the role seriously. After all, someone thought highly of you and asked you to be their mentor. I offer the following recommendations:

You’re not perfect.

You have spent a considerable amount of time on your education and skill development. Don’t keep all of this information to yourself. In fact, a mentee can learn a great deal from your mistakes and successes. As a mentor, your job is to be open, honest and share your experiences with your mentee. Consider yourself a treasure trove full of lessons learned.

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.” – Oprah Winfrey

Make the commitment.

Mentorship is definitely a huge responsibility. However, approach it as a win-win for both parties. Why? You get as much from the process as you put into it. Serving in this capacity will likely be a rewarding experience. Additionally, the mentor has opportunities to learn from the mentee. You can always learn from other people, if you are open to the possibility. Remember, this is a two-way street.

“If you light a lamp for someone, it will also brighten your own path.” – Buddhist Proverb

Set mentor goals.

It’s helpful to set goals from the beginning. Have your mentee identify their objectives. Likewise, you need to define what you hope to achieve. It’s easier to measure success if you know what you are measuring. Ultimately, setting goals keeps both of you focused.

Evolve over time.

Enjoy the process and let the mentor/mentee relationship unfold organically. It’s important to realize that this is a revolving process that yields satisfaction and achievement for both parties. In the end, you both have likely gained a positive, lifelong connection.

This post was originally posted on GovLoop.com by Kandace Foreman. Foreman is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.