Ever since I was in high school, mentorship has been one of the most important parts of my personal development. I remember asking four of my teachers to be my mentors to help me prepare for college and to develop professionally. As a first year professional, my mentors in SA have been some of my biggest motivators towards success. From former supervisors, directors, and experience leaders, I admire how much they have done for me during different stages of my development.
Mentor/mentee relationships can become relationships that help students and professionals grow to new levels, one step at a time. Although mentorship can vary with the type of relationship, years, and origin, effective mentoring is important to allow both the mentor and mentee to learn from each other.
As a professional passionate about effective mentorship, I wanted to write about ways mentors can make a impact for their mentees during and after their academic experience.
Mentoring Matters (All Stages of Mentoring)
When asked “what makes an effective mentor?” I often tell people commitment is the number one factor of mentorship. I believe effective mentoring starts with understanding what your mentee (or mentees) need from you to be successful. This can range from achieving a personal goal, learning about their next step, or simply understanding their overall goals. The relationship will be better for both of you the moment you become “all in” for your mentee.
As a mentee, I worked with my mentors to learn new skills and insights. From sharing ideas, goals, and concepts to making long-term plans, my mentors were keys towards opening new doors of success.
Continuing the Conversations
Did your mentee apply for a new position? Work on a long-term goal? Need motivation to try something new? These are some of the many ways to help mentoring go from 1 on 1s to deeper conversations. As a mentor, I try to do a weekly check-in with my mentees and take their updates to the next conversation. I find the mentor role to be a serious honor to help make a difference and encourage to their success.
A positive and ongoing mentor/mentee relationship focuses on taking deeper conversations and turning them into future success. It’s important to understand how mentees see their mentor as a professional and personal influence in professional development and life.
With any relationship, mentoring is a “effort based” title to assist your overall growth. Learning from my own mentors, I developed into the mentor I wanted to be for a future generation of student leaders. Remember that mentoring is a rewarding experience and should be a quality over quantity relationship. I find mentorship to be a window to open light to the future of student affairs in various ways. My mentors helped to pay it forward, and I want to keep that connection growing with my students.
From Batman to Mr. Freeny, the position of a mentor is an important and honorable role for anyone to pay it forward. When I think of effective mentors, I reflect on the skills, value, and time they give to their mentees. In addition, I think of how they let their mentees make mistakes and learn from them.
Understand that being a mentor is a ongoing position, and inspire your mentees to keep moving forward. Even during the hardest times, remind them to believe in themselves. Just as mentors can inspire the world, mentees can provide opportunities to learn and grow as future leaders.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey