Mentors And Mentoring: What makes a person a good mentee?

Answers From Quora…

By Kris Deichler, Senior Mentor, Lighthouse International

Check out this answer that I have written on Quora, in response to a question regarding mentoring. Read on below, or take a look at the original post here.

The Common Mistake We All Make..

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been consistently mentored for the last ten years by some incredible people in both life and business and I will be the first to admit that I have not always been a great mentee myself. I have resisted the process by being lazy and complacent, I have ignored advice because I thought that I knew better and I have avoided taking responsibility for my bad attitudes and reactions to things that were hard to hear or learn about myself.

I have very often thought that I was always much further ahead than I was in my progress and development. That’s not to say that I was always like this though, of course for the most part I have valued both my mentors and the process immensely and have invested a huge amount of time, money and effort into the process of developing myself as a person, as a mentor and as a leader.

What You’ve Got To Be Ready And Open To Hearing…

Having been mentoring others myself now for a good 8 years or so, I’ve come to learn that these reactions I had are actually very common across the board from most people through the process. In helping someone to come to understand themselves better, realise the bad habits and negative traits they have unconsciously adopted through the conditioning of their upbringing that are getting in their way and facing things like their levels of laziness, it’s common that there will be resistance to accepting these things. We all love hearing the great and admirable things about ourselves, but no one finds it easy to hear and realise the things about us that we know are not admirable or good. These are the things that we wouldn’t boast about, that we often hide from others and even ourselves.

What Sums Up a Good Mentee?

If I had to sum up what makes someone a good mentee in I would say it’s having a good and healthy attitude. What makes an attitude good and healthy for me is having a commitment to reality. Being as real as possible, even when it hurts, through self-honesty and being dedicated to what is objectively true, not what we want the truth to be because it’s more suitable for us. Along with this, I feel it means to be courageous enough to face the truth too, often the hard truths about ourselves, about others, about the world around us.

“As a mentor, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

There is a saying “your attitude determines your altitude” and, whether you like such adages as this or not, there is a lot of truth to it. There are certain character traits that will absolutely determine your ability to receive mentorship and many that will get in the way of that. Being positive, open-minded, willing to be wrong in order to learn and get things right or improve, being willing and able to self-reflect and most importantly take responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviours is essential. As a mentor, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

What Does This Mean For You And Your Mentor?

If you’re putting yourself out there to be mentored but you’re not willing to learn the hard lessons you need to learn in order to overcome the barriers to your further progress in life, you’re always going to be stuck where you are. Mentoring is a two-way personal relationship and partnership where the goal is your mutual growth and development. So you need to be able to work together with your mentor and recognise them as someone who is there to help you and put your best interests first. That doesn’t mean you will always like them or agree with them but finding the best way forward so you improve and grow and building trust through that is what builds a great mentoring relationship.

Some More Really Helpful Wisdom…

My mentor Paul, who’s been a huge influence and teacher in my life adds more to this in this video below, which I feel will also help a lot to answer this question… I hope it benefits you, and do feel free to ask any more questions.

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