We've recently asked our mentors what their top challenges were with regards to mentoring. One of the main concerns was how to gain respect from mentees and ensure their mentoring has an impact. Here are a couple of key points to remember while you shape and grow your 'REAL'ationship with your mentee.
YOU HAVE TO EARN RESPECT
For many mentors the choice to pledge and take on a mentee came from the fact that they were in a similar situation when they were younger. As a result, they became part of the change to make a difference to our youth by becoming a mentor.
As a mentor, it's important to help your mentee, by imparting the knowledge and skills you've learned through your journey in turning your life around. For your mentee to listen to you though, you first need to earn their respect and this takes time and patience.
One cannot earn the respect of others though, without first being clear about who you are yourself and what your values are. Choose your top five values and express them throughout your daily routine, start embedding them as good habits in yourself so that your mentee can also see and follow your good habits. Be clear about your choices and acknowledge that changing behaviour is not easy, especially when you have to stand up for what's right.
RESPECT GOES BOTH WAYS
In order to gain respect, you have to show it. Be kind, treat your mentee the way you would want to be treated. Smile and open up about the realities you face together. Remember it's not a race – just take it one day at a time. Patience is key.
Check your body language. Eliminate non-respectful behaviour such as eye-rolling, sighing when your mentee is sharing bad or difficult news, looking at your phone instead of being present with your mentee or talking over them. These actions can create a wedge between you and your mentee that can deter your 'REALationship'.
People earn respect by always being ready to lend a hand or an ear whenever they're needed. Look for opportunities to help, take responsibility and do things without waiting for your mentee to ask for assistance. It's the small things that count.
To summarise: Be patient Be true Build an honest relationship Show respect To earn respect