Hello and welcome to another great week, another opportunity to move our dreams closer to the mark. We are still on the series of Mentoring and today I want to take time out to answer some of the questions that have come back from the last two posts. All these questions are from Mentees or prospective Mentees.
- I am in a mentoring program run by an organisation, how do I set a framework seeing one already exists? First of all recognise that even though the organization running the Mentoring programme is committed to ensuring that you get the best out of it, it is your responsibility to drive the process. They would have done their best to pair both the Mentor and the Mentee and have given guidelines on how to proceed. The reason why this is important is because of the peculiarity of your personalities and difference in the schedules of all involved. It is impossible for the organization to be able to envisage how your mentoring relationship will work out. So my answer is even within their framework, once you get to know your Mentor, there is need for you to set up a framework that is peculiar to you both.
- My Mentor did not ask for a framework, what do I do? Again, because you are the Mentee and the one who needs to get something out of the relationship, you drive the process. What this means is even when your Mentor is fluid and did not insist on a framework, you need to set up one. Your needs will determine the framework you should put together and though you cannot impose said frame work, you can do a list of your expectations based on what you want to achieve. Also, you need to ask about the frequency of meeting times, and preferred meeting places. Let your needs determine the framework.
- Can I have more than one Mentor? Definitely, you can have more than one Mentor. Those who have only one Mentor, have what is called a Primary Mentor. And usually this one person tends to give them guidance and counsel in practically every facet of their lives. The more rampart kind of mentoring however, is when people pick Mentors for their different needs. These specified mentors are known as Secondary Mentors. They are in your life to help you achieve a particular thing and do not cross beyond the limits of that particular objective. No matter how many Mentors you end up having please ensure that you are clear on what each of them is offering and how you will relate to them within the confines of their respective frameworks.
- What if I don’t have any skills, what do I give back? First and foremost, everyone has something to offer. It is because you have something that you even qualify for a Mentor. The issue is not the size of what you give back but the recognition that you should and therefore try to give back. If for instance you are an Accountant by training, and your Mentor runs a business, you can suggest that you come in once in a while to ensure that the books are in order. If you love children and your Mentor has young children, you can also volunteer to babysit once in a while to free her to do other things she may need to do. This doesn’t make you less the person you are, it just shows you appreciate your Mentor’s efforts and contributions to your success. When you get to know your Mentor it will become easy to discern what you can give back to the relationship.
- Is my Mentor my friend, Boss or Supervisor? No! Your Mentor is not any of the above things to you. He is not your Boss simply because you are not in a relationship so he can yell at you and issue commands for you to follow. What you have is a mutually beneficial relationship and so he should treat you as such. He is not your Supervisor either; he cannot be there every minute breathing down your neck to see what you are doing. His job is to make suggestions and give counsel. You even have a choice to follow them or not. What I will ask is that you are responsible enough to explain to them why you may not be able to follow through on their suggestions at the time. Your Mentor is not your friend; even though some of those relationships evolve into the friendship status. However, please always remember to be respectful even when you become friends.
- What if my Mentor doesn’t let me make any contributions? Yes, it is possible to have a Mentor who has a dominant personality and therefore, may not give you the chance of day. But that is why you are an individual, there is a need for you to ensure that your voice is heard; be respectful about it, but make your contributions nevertheless. What you require in a situation like this is to ensure that the contributions you make when the relationship takes off are valuable enough for your Mentor to look forward to.
Remember, dreaming is not enough, there is a need for action. A dream is not one until it is alive. Today, I encourage you to live wide awake! One step today and you are closer to the mark than you were yesterday. You will make it NeverTheless, I promise you will.
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