By Randy Gener

Mentorships are set up between two people who meet regularly on a volunteer basis. A mentee is ready to accomplish whatever they are setting out to do. What they need is someone who has been where they want to go, and can reassure them when inevitable obstacles pop up.

As well as knowledge, wisdom, professional resource and experience, mentors provide mentees with a sounding board, someone they can bounce ideas off.

5 Examples of High-Impact Mentoring

Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison personally mentored a young novelist

[Y]ou will find in this Fall 2019 Issue 5 interviews with some of the greatest writers and artists in the world — a number of them are Nobel Prize winners in Literature.  Toni Morrison, Mario Vargas Llosa, Wole Soyinka, Robert Wilson and Peter Hall. Please read them, and if you like them, then share these interviews with young people.

No mentor should ever have to work with youth in a vacuum, we’ve learned from these 5 interview about matching mentors with proteges. Help should always be available when necessary. Initially, the first training session before a mentor is matched with youth is a time for mentors to learn about program policies and procedures, how to build self esteem in youth, issues around confidentiality, mandated reporting of abuses, gift giving, resources available to assist mentors, physical contact, how to resolve conflicts and many tips on what to do during each session.

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In conversation with mentors,
you’re simply collecting data from trusted sources
who will help you make the end decisions.

How are mentors and mentees matched? Is it based on common interests, same gender, or what other criteria? What is the age of the mentee with whom I will be working? Do I have choices in that regard?

Will you make a good mentor? Questions to ask yourself.

[T]he mentorship model of instruction is based on the Socratic method—a model that has existed throughout the history of education, in such strongholds of Western civilization as the monastery and the Renaissance painters’ guild.

Typically, mentors are caring adults—they do not have to have a background in teaching or youth development to be a good mentor. They just have to care and be good listeners, offering support and encouragement.

lightbulb-unsplash-Photo by Ashes Sitoula |

Mentors are:

  • good listeners
  • confidential in all matters relating to their mentee
  • tolerant, non-judgmental
  • reliable
  • consistent

They also:

  • possess good communication skills
  • do not interfere with program policies and procedures
  • have a good sense of humor
  • act as sounding board for ideas/concerns about school/career choices
  • provide insights into possible opportunities
  • provide support on personal issues if appropriate.

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Mentoring is a perfect fit for
the sharing economy.

Photo Mentoring In the Culture of One World

Build Relationships, Mentoring is All About Relationships

[T]here are many qualities that good mentors possess. Yet two stand out as being more important than the rest. The first is a commitment of time. If a mentor makes a time commitment to a youth, it is important to keep that agreement. When a reliable mentor shows up when they are supposed to, you are providing youth with the consistency and dependability that is often lacking in their lives.

“No shows” are not allowed. Yet mentoring is flexible and many mentoring programs have built in procedures to notify youth when a mentor is unable to make a scheduled meeting and vice versa.

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Collect as much information as you can
from mentors, but always trust your gut
in making the final decision.

The other quality is patience. Often a mentor eagerly wants to observe dramatic results overnight in a youth as a result of their involvement and efforts. But it sometimes takes much longer than overnight to begin to see positive results. Patience is a virtue in mentoring.

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Make sure you’re ready to be mentored
before you decide to find a mentor.

[M]entoring programs today follow quality guidelines, standards of excellence in mentoring. Each prospective mentor goes through a selection process in order to be chosen for this worthwhile and honored role.

It includes, at a minimum, completion of an application to become a mentor, employment reference checks, an inquiry about a mentor’s interests, character reference and a criminal background check. These procedures begin a process to match interested individuals with youth who are waiting for your support. — rg


Who would you want to mentor you?