Mentoring is a two-way street and a gift for the giver and receiver. When a mentor is effective in what they do and they challenge themselves to learn how to best support their mentee, they have no choice but to grow, research, learn, and transform themselves. The knowledge a mentor receives transforms their mental perception, performance, how they deliver information, their intellect (at many levels), and evolves their personal development, whether it is intentional or not. In turn, when a mentor becomes a better version of themselves, they will naturally deliver a better quality of mentoring and support to their mentee.
Several mentors serve in different capacities within my business and personal development. I have had mentors since my undergraduate years, and I could not be more grateful for the impact that they have had on my life. The type of mentors I have welcomed into my life has evolved as I have transformed along my path. I needed support aligned with what I was trying to do in different seasons of my life, so I am grateful that a few of my mentors have evolved.
My style of mentoring is compassionate, transformational, and semi-strategic. While having some structure may be key in creating outcomes in mentoring, providing a space where the opportunity to have an honest conversation and thrive is equally essential. There is no formal process to my mentoring as I recognize that every mentee is quite different, and I must adapt to their personality type, learning styles, and place they may be in their lives. It may seem easy to create a pattern of success, but there must be space to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all in mentoring.
Preparing before a mentoring conversation can be very beneficial in making the most of time spent together in a planned meeting or scheduled phone call. Having questions, being prepared with follow-up remarks from a previous conversation, and understanding the context of future calls are all necessary for being best prepared. Depending on the structure of the mentoring relationship, preparation may look very different. Two things that are always necessary for the preparation process are gathering any necessary materials the day before your meeting and ensuring that you have peace within yourself so that you show up ready to give and receive in the best ways you can.
The women I work with in the area of life after domestic violence have been through therapy and have gathered powerful tools to use in their healing journey before they come my way. Some of the most powerful words I can share with them as they learn to take their lives to the next levels after finding formal ways to heal are to recall their purpose, know who they are, and understand that they are enough. Women who go through levels of healing and transformation for themselves will face challenges as they climb the ladder and address what looks back at them in the mirror. However, with time, competent support, and consistent effort, empowerment from the inside-out will become a regular part of their lifestyle.
Success monitoring/developing with a mentee at optimum levels happens on an individual level, and it can only be maintained by the mentee. Avoiding burnout is something that a mentor must recognize as a concern and find the balance of care for oneself while supporting someone else. There is a fine line between giving your all and giving all of yourself-if you know what I mean. You can learn to guide or educate someone or help to generate effective tactics and help them to become self-sufficient, and you must do this because your “job” is not to become a part of a dysfunctional relationship or someone’s crutch-you are co-creating something that the mentee can carry out on their own.
Advice to 20-year-old KayLa: You are in a space in time in which your life is changing rapidly, but it is so important that you focus on your goals and what you really want for your life. You are the only person you have to compete with and impress, so love yourself and all you do. Remember that challenging times in life are moments that will pass just like storms in the night; brace yourself and always have your umbrella and rainboots prepared. You have always had big dreams, so let nothing get in the way of making them a reality.
With the right mentors in different phases and spaces in life, a person can have high-quality support in their corner at all times. Mentoring can be an open space with emotional support, personal and career development, and much more; that blend can create success when fine-tuned and consistent. Only when people are willing to do the work and continue to evolve will they see the fruits of their labor. A mentor can plant seeds in the lives of their mentees to challenge them and show them how success could be possible in many aspects of life, but if those seeds are not tended to and taken care of, the greatest of goals could be just beyond reach. Mentoring has the power to create many exceptional outcomes with the right pairing, compassion, and competence-I’ve seen it happen from both sides of the table!