Image via WikipediaBy Brendan Moloney
Imagine that you are in your retirement years and have reached the pinnacle of your profession. You are giving an acceptance speech for a major award. Standing at the podium, you clear your throat and look out to the audience, and begin your acceptance speech...
What do you say? More than likely a question will be who do you thank? Most people won't talk for an hour about their individual efforts - here is the great opportunity to thank all the wonderful people in your life: those who made you a success, and challenged, provoked and inspired you.
Most of all, there will be, or should be, a great mentor in there. Someone who has helped you make sense of the world, someone who has answered your questions, and provided an example to follow.
Having a mentor is probably the most overlooked factor in success. This article tells you what to look for in a mentor, how to be mentored, and how to get (and give) the most out of your relationship.
1. The Right Attitude
The Right Attitude is absolutely crucial to building a successful relationship with your mentor. There is nothing worse than mentoring someone who does not have any interest in what you are saying.
Characteristics of the right attitude include a friendly demeanour, a motivation to improve, a genuine interest in what your mentor is saying, an open mind to new ideas that may challenge your thinking, and patience to grow and develop. Trust that your mentor is more experienced than you and that she or he is working in your best interests.
When you work with someone who is older and more experienced, it is equally important to demonstrate your gratitude. Consider that many individuals are providing you with wisdom learned over the course of a lifetime. For the price of a cup of coffee or lunch, you are receiving one of the most generous gifts that you will ever receive.
The cost of knowledge can be extremely expensive, count yourself extremely lucky if you have someone older who provides direction on living. Always send a thank-you note or correspondence after you meet.
3. Use Time Well
While lots of mentors are retired or semi-retired, this does not mean that time is not important to them. When you meet always be grateful for the time that you get, use that time well, and treat every moment as a learning opportunity. Observe and write down important notes from what is said.
Remember to hold on to what is said and not to treat it lightly. You may well build great personal, professional or relationship success as the result of this learning. Bring a notebook, be punctual (or early), and ensure that you don't waste time during the meeting.
4. Ask Appropriate Questions
It has been said that there is no such thing as a silly question. This is not true of course. There are rude, inconsiderate and inappropriate questions that shock, offend, or disappoint people. This is common sense. More than this, you need to ask appropriate questions.
What are some topics you might ask about? How to live ethically, important events, events that didn't work out, interpersonal relationships, and tips on your career or profession. A good idea is to at least think about your questions before a meeting with your mentor, and, even better, write them down.
5. Implement Lessons
A lot of people are good listeners and they take their mentors ideas on board. The problem is that after the meeting is said and done, they fail to implement the lessons. Some of the lessons might be hard to implement, but there is a real reason that your mentor is giving your advice. Again, you must trust in the fact that your mentor wants to see you achieve, is able to provide perspective and experience that you may not have yourself, or that you cannot see.
Changing is hard, and some mentors will provide lessons that require radical change. Don't be afraid of this. While it may be hard to cope initially with time it is almost certain that you will look back on your new behaviours and be grateful that you were helped along the way.
A final thought is that one of the best ways to implement a great mentoring lesson is to be a mentor yourself.
Dr. Brendan Moloney is an author, speaker, and lecturer with Darlo Life. http://www.darlolife.com
Darlo Life provides personal and life coaching, personal development and life skills to high achievers.
For further details, contact Darlo Life: http://www.darlolife.com
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