“Wisdom doesn’t always come with age, sometimes age comes alone” – John Maxwell
I’m sure you have either heard it said, seen it done in a movie or read it in a book, “If you could go back and speak with your younger self what would want most to say? Knowing what you know now what advice would you give yourself?
What if you could sit down with your future self and ask for advice, what would you ask yourself? Both scenarios play into the mentoring relationship. You know and trust yourself well enough to ask the right questions.
The reason the idea of going back or forward in time to address yourself is such a popular fantasy lies in our innate desire for wisdom to help us become a better version of ourselves.
Everyone Needs a Mentor or Coach at One Time or Another
Imagine what the world of sports would look like without mentors or coaches. How competitive would the Olympic games be without personal trainers? Pick any career path and seek out those atop that field and inquire if any has made it to the top without the help of a mentor or coach somewhere along the way.
Good leaders are lifelong learners, so it’s no wonder they value mentoring relationships. Good mentors/coaches provide leaders with a safe space for deep personal conversations with those who’ve been down that road before.
Mentorship is About Helping You Become a Better Version of Yourself
“The key to being a good mentor is to help people become more of who they already are - not to make them more like you” - Suze Orman
I have yet to read a genuine success story where that person or persons had no one to thank for some valuable contributions toward their achievements.
Bill Gates credits Warren Buffett for playing a vital role in his success.
Richard Branson expresses his gratitude to Sir Freddie Laker, for his valuable guidance helping him with Virgin Atlantic in its early stages.
Oprah Winfrey credits the late Maya Angelou saying, “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life.”
Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me, and I forget, teach me, and I may remember, involve me, and I learn." The mentoring relationship gets personally involved in the process of self-discovery helping you become that better version of yourself.
4 Good Reasons to Have a Mentoring Relationship
“Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor.” - Lailah Gifty Akita
Good mentoring and coaching relationships help you develop your thinking, skillsets, and strategies to overcome obstacles effectively. The wisdom and self-confidence gained are priceless and will serve you well throughout your lifetime.
1. Helping You to Stay Focused
Sometimes you can become so fixated on the details that you lose sight of the big picture. Having an objective voice asking the right questions helps you regain perspective and uncover the triggers that distract your thinking.
2. Helping You Build on Your Strengths
Helping you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and being honest about both is a part of the mentoring relationship. Asking why you do certain things can reveal what should be delegated freeing you to operate more in your strengths. Staying in your lane is always a win for your organization.
3. Helping You to Uncomplicate Things by Keeping it Real.
Being honest about your hopes and dreams as well as your struggles and fears enables a good mentor to know how and when to challenge you to reach further. Having someone close enough who gets you is also close enough to know your potential. It’s been wisely said, “you were born to be real, not to be perfect.” A good mentoring relationship helps you achieve authenticity.
Mentoring relationships are built on mutual trust and automatically lends itself to a high level of accountability. From thinking through tough decisions to questioning the motives behind them, these relationships will assist you through many difficult yet valuable conversations. The strength and stability that comes from the self-awareness gained are worth the price of a good mentoring relationship.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ― Plutarch
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***