I continue my writing journey, racing towards the deadline to send the completed manuscrip to my publisher, incredibly grateful for the positive words of encouragement I have received from people who were interested in reading an early draft. I am so conscious of the global context within which I am writing, and the significant challenges the world is facing at the moment.

The pandemic, the lockdowns, environmental catastrophes, and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine have added more challenges to the world of mentoring which I believe will become increasingly important in the next decade and beyond, especially with regard to our youth. I look to the future with a spirit of HOPE.  How do we discuss the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and the global community’s reaction to it, the threats of nuclear war, the ongoing refugee issues …? Let’s not digress from the purpose of this blog, though.

7 Key Mentoring Life Lessons

As I have spent time reflecting on my personal mentoring experiences – over fifty years all in all – while writing this book, I thought of seven key mentoring life lessons (including mentoring qualities) which create a HOPEFUL and authentic mentor for those who mentor any age, and which can be a source of inspiration or encouragement as we face the unknown challenges in the months ahead. I will include some of this content in the new book as well.

  1. Humility: how important it is for mentors to continually remind themselves that the mentoring journey requires humility and honesty at all times. The focus of the relationship is always on the mentee and their needs, their goals and their lives. Great mentors regard mentoring as an honor and a privilege. Once you connect with your mentee, you could embark on one of the most satisfying relationships in your life, a non-judgmental cheerleader.
  2. Organized: effective mentoring includes respectfully guiding your mentee to become better organized as they chase their dreams. Management of time discussions are important, with a focus on living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Coaching goal setting and the development of innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial skills becomes increasingly important in our post-pandemic global community.
  3. Persevere: the mentor should never quit on their mentee, tempting though this might be on occasions. Effective mentors continually explore different ways to encourage their mentee to reach their potential. Mentors speak to the potential mentees might not see, reach out a helping hand when they stumble and fall, and place them back on the ‘dream path’ with a gentle pat on the back and a reminder not to quit. Life-changing events could occur and the development of resiliency is enhanced as mentees master the art of self-learning with the support of a trusted mentor.
  4. Empathy: the effective mentor does their best to walk in their mentee’s shoes. They try hard to understand how their mentee might be feeling. The mentor models empathy and guides and coaches their mentee how to express empathy in their relationships with family, friends, work colleagues, and other members of the community. Create a supportive relationship in which mentees feel cared for, valued, affirmed and encouraged.
  5. Fun-loving: Coach your mentee not to take life too seriously and how to laugh at themselves. These are two powerful life lessons a mentee can remember from a mentoring relationship, and pass on to the next generation.
  6. Unity: promote a sense of unity in your mentee’s life and explore ways of achieving this – family unity, the importance of teamwork, learning how to positively resolve conflicts, and building community. Coach your mentee how to reflect and review their situation by looking for the positive and affirming opportunities, while learning from mistakes, and understanding that failure is part of the lifelong learning experience. These are examples of transformational mentoring which empowers mentees to be accountable for the choices they make.
  7. Listen: without doubt, one of the most important qualities of a great mentor is to be an effective listener; to show their mentee that their opinions and ideas are valued and matter, and to listen with an open, non-judgmental attitude. Continue to develop the skill of repeating in your own words something your mentee has shared with you, a great sign to your mentee that you are genuinely listening and seeking an understanding of what is being shared with you.

The Post-Pandemic Narrative – never quit on young people and young adults

The key lesson from the pandemic and lockdowns must be how much youth value face-to-face relationships with their peers, employers, teachers, coaches and mentors. Education institutions have a wonderful opportunity to develop peer support and other types of mentoring programs.

I have captured most of my thoughts and experiences in a variety of books which have been published during the past fifteen years and which you can read about on my website. The mentoring framework which I developed during my forty-plus years experience is best read in the latest user-friendly publication released in recent times: CHOICES: Encouraging Youth to Achieve Greatness. As 2023 draws to a close, always promote the spirit of mentoring, build many meaningful relationships with youth, and sow plenty of HOPEFUL thoughts and messages as you support and encourage young people to reach their potential.