Mentorship is based on talking about problems and listening to people in order to guide them on their journey of self-discovery. At the same time this experience should be a positive and rewarding one for both parties.
Dare to share
We can’t all be Batman, taking on the entire world and its woes, but it does take a true hero to hear those in need. As humans, we are social beings who process through communication. In sharing and communicating we voice our problems, grapple with them, and find creative ways to solve them. An issue always seems so much bigger when it is kept to oneself instead of sharing it with someone else who could help. It’s about sharing the weight of the problem and embracing the support from others.
It is crucial that you as a mentor listen to your mentee, as well as hear them. The difference between listening and hearing is that you try to understand where they are coming from. You don’t need to have all the answers or something to say in return. Sometimes people just need a non-judgemental ear to just listen to what they are saying. Think about what they are sharing with you, internalise it and then speak from the heart.
Build a bridge
Sometimes it is hard to get people to open up, particularly when they have to talk about their struggles and hardships. Sharing your own personal stories of how you overcame or dealt with problems can encourage them to want to speak about their troubles. Communication does not always need to be verbal; encouraging your mentee to express themselves in a medium they feel comfortable with can be invaluable to them succeeding and processing things. Communication can be shared through writing, creating art, making videos, or taking photographs.
Influencing and changing another person’s life is very rewarding but it is also a privilege. Opening yourself up to sharing your stories and experiences with your mentees and having them share theirs in return, creates a bond of trust and forges a path for a way forward to overcome the issues that our youth face daily. Be part of the change. Visit www.bethementor.sab.co.za, take the pledge and start making a difference for South Africa.