Why should a mentor have a mentor?
Should a mentor have a mentor? Well, look at this quote from the great leadership guru, John Maxwell. There is always someone a bit further down the line than you.
A mentor is someone who teaches, guides and lifts you up by virtue of his or her experience and insight. They’re usually someone a little farther ahead of you on the path—though that doesn’t always mean they’re older! A mentor is someone with a head full of experience and heart full of generosity that brings those things together in your life. – John Maxwell
1. You need a Mentor!
For years as a salesman, I struggled to make the grade. I made the calls without any real conviction, tried to reach targets that somehow I couldn’t quite reach, read all the good books on selling but still failed to motivate myself. I was in Dead End Street.
What I needed was someone to share my journey but show me a different road. It didn’t have to be by cutting corners or a short cut. I was burning out, wanting to quit, because I seemed to be on the road to nowhere. There was something I was missing, something I didn’t quite get.
In the great movies, this is when along comes Obi Wan Kenobi to guide the young Luke Skywalker, or, a Yoda, or a Mary Poppins turns up. Even the great heroes of the bible needed someone when the going got tough. Moses needed Jethro, Joshua needed Moses, Elisha needed Elijah and the disciples needed Jesus.
The point is that we cannot succeed on our own. Someone who has been around the block a couple of times needs to show us the way.
Then I experienced a mentor in my own life, in the shape of a Field Sales Manager. Even then a field sales manager was old hat. Modern managers at that time were office bound, numbers people. But here was a guy who had been there and done it. He shared my journey, made the calls with me, he asked me the right questions, encouraged me to share my experiences with the customers, relax and enjoy the journey. Eventually, the success came. I still made the calls, did the presentations but with a passion and a purpose.
I spent many years as a salesman and a sales manager and it took me to many different countries. It would be easy to say that I did it my way, but that would be only half a story. I recognised that any success that I experienced was down to the others who had shared my journey.
2. A mentor can help you move forward
When considering ‘should a mentor have a mentor?’ bear in mind that mentors are generally volunteers. They volunteer for many reasons, but often they want to ‘put something back’ or, ‘pay it forward’. So why is it that many mentors, especially in the voluntary sector, do not consider having a mentor themselves?. Perhaps they feel they do not need a mentor, or that nobody would want to support them.
On the surface, it may seem strange that someone who can help another person to achieve their dreams, does not consider it for them personally. Everyone has hopes and dreams, and having support from outside of our immediate circle of family, friends and colleagues, who do not carry the same baggage, can make a significant difference.
But if that mentor would consider it carefully, they would decide that a mentor would be a good option for them.
3. Two people can share a journey
Sometimes we need someone who has “been there and done it” to help us negotiate a difficult situation, someone from outside who can get a different view of things. This is a mentor’s role. You are worth the time and investment.
Being on the mentee side of the mentoring relationship will give you fresh insights into your own role of mentor.
4. Having a mentor will make you a great mentor
You may think that you don’t have what it takes to be a mentor. You cannot see yourself in the role of wise and trusted guide. Perhaps you think you are not qualified to be a mentor. After all don’t mentors need a degree in some ‘ology’ or other? Put your mind at rest and consider “should mentors have a mentor” in the affirmative.
Should a mentor have a mentor? Having a mentor will help you to find your own strengths. The best qualification for a mentor is often ‘experience of life’. If you are in a business setting, perhaps you have had experience in starting an online business, or have been the CEO of a medium size company. Then you are perfectly placed to help someone else go through the same challenges.
You may have no business experience. Perhaps you have experienced and overcome family breakdown, financial difficulties or long-term unemployment. Who would want someone like you? The answer is anyone who is going through similar tough life circumstances. How much would they value support from someone who knows what they are going through. A listening ear and the wisdom that comes from hard-earned experience could be a life-saver for someone who is socially isolated by difficult challenges.
5. A mentoring relationship works both ways.
A mentoring relationship can be life changing for both the mentor and the mentee. When a mentor asks the mentee the right question, a light-bulb moment can happen as the mentee arrives at a solution to their own problem. This can be a revelation to both parties. In guiding a mentee through stormy waters, a mentor will often experience a light shining on some event in their own life. These are great moments in the relationship.
6. Matchmaking makes mentoring meaningful
Some mentoring relationships seem to be made in heaven. This happens when care is taken in matching the mentee with a suitable mentor. This is not rocket science. When both parties are keen to make the relationship work, then it has a better chance of being successful – just like any relationship in marriage or business. Having a good mentor will add to your value when you are mentoring.
So, should a mentor have a mentor? I hope this article has gone some way to persuading you.
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