Choosing a Life Mentor could be one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. Get it right and you could uncover a fabulous treasure trove of knowledge and support for your journey through life. Get it wrong and you could waste a lot of time, money and worst of all, emotional energy.
The first consideration is the chemistry of the relationship. Does the mentor feel right for you? Trust your instincts. You know what they say, “if it looks like duck, if it feels like a duck………….” Pick a mentor with whom you have an almost instant rapport.
Once you have ticked the initial, positive feeling box, it’s time to examine the skills and attributes of a Life Mentor.
Top of the skills list by a long way is empathetic listening. What you don’t want is a mentor who tells you about his story with no reference or relevance to you or your aspirations. The foundation stones of quality listening skills are the ability to frame excellent questions and the ability to follow these up with even better supplementary questions.
Skills two and three on my “must have” list would be the ability to simplify complex issues and the skill to create an energising view of the mentee’s future.
My list of the top three attributes of a good Life Mentor would start with a positive attitude to life. We all have ups and downs but we need a mentor who is a member of the “glass half full” club.
Attribute two would be a sense of humour. We all need to laugh more. A Life Mentor who has a light touch can be invaluable in difficult times.
Finally I would look for a Life Mentor who can commit fully to the process. If you ever feel that your Life Mentor is short of time or not fully present for you, then this can be catastrophic for the mentoring relationship.
So there you have it. Three key skills and three key attributes of the best Life Mentors.
Good luck in your search.