Encourage others to reach their potential and achieve greatness.

How important are your face-to-face relationships to you?

This week I had the privilege of sharing mentoring thoughts with Coast Mentoring, a new mentoring program serving the area in which I live. I listened to the experiences of four new mentors who have only been mentoring their mentees for a couple of months. These are vulnerable young people on a journey through the confusing adolescent years. Yet, as I listened to these mentors, what became abundantly clear was that when a young person has a significant adult in their lives who reaches out to them, cares for them, and speaks to their potential, they are keen to connect. These face-to-face relationships will thrive and, hopefully, one day those young people will reach out to other young people looking for a significant adult in their lives.

10 Tips for Effective Mentoring

After I had shared a couple of mentoring stories with the mentors, I presented them with this summary to reflect on and be an encouragement to their mentees and, indeed, anyone else with whom they interact. These points can become part of student peer mentor or peer support programs, or to enhance leadership training. They can easily be adapted for any adult mentoring program. They are the results of years of research and a collation of key characteristics of effective mentors gathered from the work of respected global mentoring experts and leaders.

  1. Do not quit! Mentoring relationships with young people especially will sometimes stumble and stall. Persevere.
  2. Be authentic. Trust, empathy, integrity and respect are solid foundations on which a mentoring relationship can be built.
  3. Be non-judgmental. Unconditional love and care give the mentoring relationship a greater chance of succeeding.
  4. Turn up and stay in touch. Regular communication with your mentee will enhance the possibility of a positive connection with mentees. Mentors drive the relationship in the early months. Be punctual for meeting with your mentee.
  5. Don’t expect to have all the answers. Mentors are human beings who are not expected to be perfect. Seek support from other mentors and program staff.
  6. Be a valuable resource. Mentors are valued as key resources by mentees, especially when they link their mentees to personal networks.
  7. Be realistic about the relationship. Mentors are expected to be a friend, not a savior, rescuer, or someone offering quick-fix solutions to complex problems. Be a sees sower.
  8. Listen. Listen. Effective communication techniques produce mentoring from the heart.
  9. Celebrate the small victories. Be a positive cheerleader in your mentee’s life, helping them to achieve realistic goals on the journey to reach their potential. Look for every opportunity to acknowledge their effort, rather than focus on performance.
  10. Have clear boundaries and expectations. Communicate and negotiate ground rules with your mentee at the outset. Revisit these as often as is necessary during the mentoring journey.

“Life is a song – sing it.

Life is a game – play it.

Life is a challenge – meet it.

Life is a dream – realize it.

Life is a sacrifice – offer it.

Life is love – enjoy it.”

(Sai Baba)

Celebrating a new book

Promoting the spirit of mentoring is what drives me, as I have personally experienced the power of face-to-face relationships. I have read numerous self-help books, most of which have taught me some valuable lessons. Most, though, create the idea that I can do everything in my own strength and I know, factually, from my life experiences that this is not possible. I have spent years researching, looking for answers and exploring possibilities and this brought me to one of the greatest mentors the world has ever seen, and probably one that few (including mentoring experts) know about for a variety of reasons.

The Barnabas Prayer (also available on Amazon) is a short user-friendly book which follows the significant role that Barnabas – mentor to Saul – played in the emergence of the early Church. We consider some of the key qualities of a servant leader as we journey with Barnabas. Over 100 ideas to inspire and motivate readers to make a positive difference in their communities. Reflections, tips to improve and develop our leadership and coaching skills, and memorable quotes are all included in this guide on how to use our God-given gifts and talents in the post COVID-19 world. The ‘spirit of mentoring’ theme is woven through all the sections of the book.