A great mentor won’t actually do the work for you–but he or she will help you develop your own opportunities. Here’s how.
I have been blessed with some great mentors. They were smart, experienced, and always had my best interests at heart–but they weren’t gentle. Probably each person gets the style they need from their best mentors, and mine were tough because I needed it. Here are a few things that my mentors have taught me about mentoring:
1. Listen Well
The best mentors ask lots of questions. They get information before making recommendations. I remember conversations with one of my great mentors during which he peppered me with questions for a long time. At the end of the interrogation, I asked him, “Well, what do you think I should do?” His answer was very telling: “You just figured out what you should do; you just haven’t committed to doing it.”
He was right: The questioning had clarified my thoughts, and he had led me through the choices to a course of action that was completely my own. Instead of an answer, he had given me a path.
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