A mentors role at the initial phase
Set the tone
It wholly lies on the mentor, to set the tone, create the environment and wait till trust blossoms between the two. Regular informal conversations, getting to know one another, sharing your own story, successes and failures deepens trust between the mentee and the mentor. This opens avenues for deeper conversations on perspectives of life, struggles and stimulates meaningful discussions. Most mentees become like another member of the family because of the open home that mentors have.
An Open Home
Mentors not only need to open their hearts to a new relationship but their homes as well. An open home might not just mean calling them over home for one meal or for a day. It might mean- many days of stay, many hours of talking late into the nights, rendering a listening ear to the mentee, his needs, his problems,etc -these are vital in a mentor- mentee relationship. Unlike the west, we in India are a joint society and not an individualistic society- this can lead to a greater responsibility of maintaining relationships with the mentees family too. Having an open home can be challenging and at the same time,fulfilling. Challenging in terms of sharing personal spaces, finances and the entirety of your home. There needs to be openness , hospitality, sharing , caring within an open home which mentees learn by observing. Most ideals are caught than taught in an open home.
Sharpening Mentoring Skills
The initial establishment of a relationship takes a longer period of time and effort. Once that is done, there exists openness between the two, to share each others lives with one another. There existed a huge age gap between Paul and Timothy in the Bible ,inspite of this -Paul understood Timothy’s every emotion and weakness and mentored him, encouraging him to move forward in spite of his temperament and weakness. These are a few tips to sharpen a mentoring relationship
Being open , transparent, being exposed one another’s successes and failures are vital in a mentoring relationship. It needs to be understood that mentoring is a two way communication process. While it is true that one is more experienced than the other, it also means that this “life sharing” works both ways. Listening to the mentee is more important that bombarding advice on him/ her immediately. Listen- to develop and maintain an environment of trust. Confidentiality is a vital component of a mentoring relationships. Things that are personal and shared in the privacy of this relationship should not be told out or prayed about in public. If it needs to be shared as a testimony or the work of God in his/her life- this needs to be done only with the permission of the mentee. It might take months or even years for mentees to open up about their personal lives and on the other hand -one careless conversation elsewhere about this – would sever the relationship. It is important to maintain TRUST.