At least twice a week I get this question from friends, online community, colleagues etc. “How do I choose a mentor or do they get to choose me?” On television medical dramas, you often see a swarm of interns following a doctor through hospital rounds. Stopping in each room, an intern will step forward, clears her throat and provide the patient’s case details. A nervous silence follows as the interns dare to diagnose and recommend treatment under the scrutinising eye of the attending physician –the mentor.
Mentoring is actually an ancient practice and I am absolutely passionate about it. The word mentor is of Greek origin, translated as “an experienced and trusted advisor.” I mean who doesn’t need like 100 of those (smiles). Some of the most important lessons I have learned have come through mentoring. Without it I would not be where I am and I dare say who I am. As a little kid without the presence of a father figure, my fellowship pastor became my father and mentor. He taught me to enjoy and love reading. He would give me a book every week to read and summarise. By the time I was 18 I felt I had read a library (lol), from motivational books, to finances, leadership, work ethic, development, and communication etc. wheew. My mentors have helped me centre myself in difficult circumstances. They have challenged my perspective and shown me options I didn’t see. They have inspired me and more than once they believed in me more than I believed in myself.
I believe mentorship is far and away one of the most valuable strategies you can use to develop, promote and centre yourself. A good mentor, however will not:
1. Give you the answer or solve the problem for you.
2. Rescue you from yourself; big, bad bosses and other monsters you think exist.
3. Become professional parents
4. Judge you
5. Attempt to clone themselves in you
So with that safely out of the way, I will tell you there are things you can and should expect from a good mentor. You can count on them to:
1. Challenge you with tough, soul searching questions
2. Tell you the truth and help you confront the truth
3. Encourage you to try new approaches
4. Push you out of well-informed comfort zones
6. Offer new perspectives by challenging you to see old things in a new way.
7. Make recommendations and help you see options
8. Help you learn from mistakes and celebrate successes.
When you consider several barriers you daily encounter, whether in your career, marriage, finance, friendship or even relationship, mentoring should definitely be a top priority.
About the Writer: Eniola Adeniji is a woman after God’s own heart, a motivational Writer, Speaker, Fashion and Photography addict. She is also a Business Developer, Social Media Manager and the founder of Woman Of Value. She blogs at ennmae.wordpress.com