There is a very sorry olde adage:
…New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. The sad inference is “who can keep them with the busy lives we lead?”
…may I suggest that we throw that adage as far as the east is from the west? And, may I suggest that in 2016 we accept the vibrant, life-giving, even sacred privilege of mentoring to a whole new level, depth, breadth?
If you and I were having some hot cocoa, toasting our feet at the edge of a winter fire, committing to a year of the “best of mentoring,” what would that look like in one year’s time for you and for me as mentors. Here are some suggestions:
I will become a rigorous student of asking questions correctly:
The best of mentors have in mind what kind of questions give an invitation to those being mentored to explore and discover how a person thinks and feels about their life past, future and present. Two exceptional books are: A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger and Power Questions by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas.
I will become a mentor who listens at least twice as much as I talk:
The best of mentors continually remember that mentoring which invites change and growth is about the mentoree not the mentor. When enthused in a good conversation there will always be the temptation for the mentor to talk…but…this is not about the mentor, but the mentoree. Can we encourage each other to remember that. Frankly, if you are asking the right questions, you will not need to be doing the talking, for there will be much to focus on as you actively listen.
I will become a mentor who is fully aware of how I am living an authentic life:
The best of mentors will be committed to living life as a whole person themselves in all the 8 Dimensions of the Circle of Life. We are all on a journey. There is no pretending to have “it” all together. The mentor is as much on a life journey as the mentoree, even though the mentor may be a few more miles/years of experience down the road of life. Life situations may be different concerning backgrounds, age, ethnicity, etc., but “being real” for both mentor and mentoree creates a pathway to seeing lives growing and changing.
I will become a mentor who is committed to being a student of life:
The best of mentors will be committed to honing and growing their own life as an example of how to live a full life as a whole person. Yes, mentoring can be brief sometimes concerning particular issues, but the best of mentoring, long or short term, will always consider the whole person, not just a part of that person, no matter the life issues that may be discussed. Encouraging those I mentor to be fully alive in all of their life requires me to consistently be mindful of my growth and wholeness in all of my own life.
I will become a mentor who continues to seek mentorship for my own life:
The best of mentors will also continue to see wisdom from others. None of us, no matter our age, life experience, gender, education, etc., is beyond also being mentored. We will never arrive at “no need” for that. In our mentor training we discuss several kinds of mentoring that everyone of us can participate in. At 73 years of age, I still welcome being mentored.
I will become a mentor who will be committed to keeping a confidence:
The best of mentors will always have a list of available support people (doctors, counselors, lawyers, etc.) to whom they will carefully refer a mentoree when a topic is beyond their expertise. As care-filled mentors we dare not offer responsibility beyond what we know are our capabilities. At the beginning of most mentoring journeys I will let that person know that I cannot be their only mentor, though I may be their primary mentor, who will give them guidance to the right people they may need in their own journey. If something illegal, immoral, unethical shows up, don’t panic, for you have a significant opportunity to help bring healing to tough life issues…all the better if you know who can assist you in caring for your mentoree.
I will become a mentor who will be committed to growing my mentoring skill:
The best of mentors will stay reminded and act annually on the fact that honing one’s mentoring skills is a continual act of care for others. Books, films, workshops, blogs, web sites, music, art, deeper mentor training programs, all can contribute to growing as a mentor. This is part of the reason for Leadership Design Group’s commitment to those who long to be, and will do the work to be one of those “best of mentors.”
I will become a mentor who encourages those I mentor also to become mentors:
The best of mentors, investing in another’s life, in time will do well to suggest that the mentoree also invest in others themselves via mentoring. Passing it on, paying it forward to nurture other lives keeps the circle of life turning through time. Finishing this blog post, I am here in my office deeply humbled at remembering those I’ve mentored who are mentoring others who are mentoring others…well you get the picture. To this end, awhile back, someone said to be, “Do you know you are a great-grandfather?” 🙂 They then unfolded the impact of four generations of mentoring relationships. I hope and pray the same for you as you also step into 2016.
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Leadership Design Group will be co-hosting mentoring workshops in 2016. If you would like to be kept informed as to when and where, please let us know. If you would like to host a workshop, please let us know.
This workshop is the first step in a developing program of training Master Mentors in the future. A member of LDG’s Team would welcome talking this over with you via phone, Skype or FaceTime. For further communication please connect with Tim Murphy, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Wes Roberts, at email@example.com.