Who Should I Mentor?
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer   

For the last eight years, I have been writing my weekly posts regarding leadership and growth, so I am sure you aren’t surprised by a title related to mentoring. Mentoring is crucial for our growth, and the growth within our teams. Since it takes quite a bit of time, we need to put our efforts into areas that will bring about the greatest return. This week I think we should take a look at who we should mentor. Here are six questions to answer before getting started with mentoring.

  1. Capacity – Can they do what is required? This might seem obvious, but I think it often gets overlooked. Does the person have the capacity to take on something new? Do they have the time for the mentoring or do we need to take something off their plate?
  2. Commitment – Will they do what is required? In the past, I have taken this question for granted only to be disappointed in the end. Get the commitment up front that the person is willing to put in the time and effort to work in the specific area of focus.
  3. Experience – Do they have the proper experience? Sometimes a person has the capacity and commitment, but they lack the foundation needed for the mentoring to be successful. This doesn’t mean that the person won’t be there someday, they just aren’t ready yet. Trying to layer learning on a shaky foundation will only leave the mentee discouraged, and your time will have been wasted.
  4. Excellence – Have they modeled excellence? This is a big one for me. I have a sign above my desk that says, “No Short Cuts Ever.” I have it there because I need to be reminded not to take shortcuts and to pursue excellence. When you choose to invest your time mentoring someone, make sure they have modeled excellence in the past. If they have a track record of pursuing excellence in their life, they will bring that pursuit of excellence into the mentoring relationship.
  5. Compatibility – Are we compatible? Let’s face it, you want to be working with someone you enjoy spending time with. There may be someone else that is a better fit for the person. If that seems to be the case, make a connection for them so a better relationship can be established which will result in a better mentoring experience.
  6. Respect – Is there mutual respect? When we mentor someone, we aren’t trying to change them. We are trying to support them on their journey to become the best version of themselves. Each of us is a unique creation, created for a specific purpose and mission in life. When we respect and value the differences in people, everyone grows. Respect the fact that we may not always agree, and that’s fine. Our differences make the world a much better place.

Now, who can you start mentoring?