Responsible to you, not responsible for you

Mentoring has been a cornerstone of my personal and professional growth since the age of sixteen.

Bill, my high school writing teacher, was the first person to show an interest in guiding me. He still does today. In fact, since adolescence, there have been dozens of other mentors who have been critical in helping me become the person I am today.

What’re more, I have personally mentored dozens of other young professionals. Both as an entrepreneur, and also as an employee.

Point being, this is a very specific type of relationship that I have been close to for many years. Brings me fulfillment on both sides.

Mizzou’s management department put together an exciting scale for evaluating corporate mentoring programs. It’s a framework that beautifully characterizes this relationship. Whether you’ve been a mentor, had a mentor, or are seeking a mentor, reviewing these questions might help you hone your skills, get the most out of your relationship and inspire you to hold this interpersonal inheritance in higher esteem.

Here we go.

*Does your mentor serve as a source of emotional support?
*Does your mentor consider you to be a friend?
*Do you talk together and share ideas?
*Do you share interests in common?
*Do you exchange confidences?
*Do you share personal problems?
*Is this person fun to be with?
*Does this person give you encouragement?
*Do you respect your mentor’s ability to teach others?
*Do you admire this person’s ability to motivate others?
*Do you acquire knowledge, information or skills from this person?
*When you do things together, did they let you take the lead?
*Has this person devote special time and consideration to your career?
*Do they help you coordinate personal goals?
*Do they take an interest in your development?
*Did you learn how to do things by watching your mentor do them?
*Have you tried to model your behavior after this person?
*Did your mentor serve as a role model of achievement for you?

This list is not comprehensive. There are other things mentors do.

But in general, this inventory is a useful framework for thinking about this type of relationship. It’s not coaching, it’s not consulting, it’s not managing, it’s not parenting.

Mentors will not lead you beyond where they have lived. They are responsible to you, not responsible for you. You both share the relationship, but you own the results.

It’s more than a relationship, it’s an inheritance. Get one and be one today.

Whom in your life has been there to believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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