When it comes to mentoring, there are tons of resources available to explain how to be a winning mentor. At Winning Futures, we have partnered with business professionals to mentor youth since 1994. Over the years we’ve noticed a few qualities that all of our best mentors seem to share.
1. Winning mentors are good listeners.
Teens are experiencing tremendous changes and sometimes don’t feel like they have anyone they can talk to. Winning mentors make their mentees feel comfortable talking to them. In order to be a winning mentor, you have to listen to your mentee with an open mind. Listen more than you speak, and help guide your mentee to solve his or her own problems.
2. Winning mentors care about the relationship they develop with their mentees.
If you’re mentoring for any other reason than genuinely making a difference in your mentee’s life, you’re mentoring for the wrong reason. You cannot have a beneficial relationship without showing and proving that you care. Get to know your mentee beyond a set of structured questions and answers. Be open about your own experiences and the obstacles you have overcome. The more authentic you are, the easier it will be to build a solid relationship with your mentee.
3. Winning mentors commit to the relationship.
When you care about the relationship, you commit to the relationship. Set goals with your mentee and work towards accomplishing them together. Be accountable, and take each meeting you have with your mentee seriously. You commit by showing up when you say you will and by doing what you say you’re going to do.
4. Winning mentors lead by example.
A role model is a person looked up to and imitated by others. Winning mentors lead by example. Mentees learn a lot from observing the behavior of their mentors. You should be keenly aware of the influence your words and actions have on your mentee.
At Winning Futures, 95% of our mentors said they felt they made a difference and 95% of students said they benefited from the program. With these four qualities our mentors continually build lasting relationships with youth across Southeast Detroit and you can too.
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