I am currently working on a new job… training mentors. In looking at the information I will be presenting I was prompted to consider the mentors that have impacted my life. Some of them I chose, some were thrust upon me, some were good, some were not so good, but ALL of them left an impact and helped mould me into who I am today. But what makes a good mentor? As I pondered the characteristics of my mentors, their diverse methods, approaches and backgrounds, and I came up with four characteristics that defined the good ones:
- CONSISTENCY! Good mentors are reliable, the standards never change and they will always tell you the truth, when you have done a good job AND when you stuff up! They know who they are, where they are going and where they are tryng to lead you, and will consistently stay on track.
- AUTHENTICITY! The mentors I respect are the ones that modelled openness and honesty in their own lives as well as expecting the same from me. They were not hypocrites who demanded one thing from me and did the opposite when they thought I wouldn’t notice. They were true to the core, even able to admit their own problems and failures.
- UNSELFISHNESS! Those who impacted me most were the ones who gave themselves unselfishly, who in their own busy schedules made time to teach and train me, giving sacrificially with little or no thought for what they would get out of it.
- PERSISTANCY! In my experience, good mentors refused to quit, even when I did stupid things!
They did not just forget it, they dealt with the real issues and then gave me another chance, even when I didn’t think that I deserved it! You might think that you are only a mentor for a year, but good mentors will persist for many years to come!
So, whether you are a mentor or a mentoree (and many of us are both) these are the characteristics you should be working on. They are in tune with RAAF values and what God expects of us.
Maybe this is a good time to stop and think about your mentors, particularly the ones that made a positive impact. Have you ever thanked them? Do something about it today!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley