Whether it’s for the good or the bad, the only thing constant in the world is change. Change is a choice that we all have to make and of course, we would prefer that all change is for our good, and for the good of others but unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way.
Wise choices in our relationships, finances and activities protect us from negative consequences and enhance our quality of life.
“Wise choices will watch over you and understanding will keep you safe.” (King Solomon)
Wisdom is the soundness of an action or decision based on the application of experience, knowledge and good judgment.
That is why it’s necessary to be constantly growing in the knowledge of spiritual and natural things. Intentionally increasing your capacity requires a change in how you think and how you do things.
John Maxwell explains, “It’s possible to change without growing but it’s impossible to grow without changing.”
There are times when we have grown as far as we can on our own and will need some assistance to tap into our potential to go to another level. That’s where a mentor is beneficial. One of the greatest acts of leadership is mentoring.
Put simply, a mentor inspires you to be or become your best self by stepping out of your comfort zone and stretching to operate at a higher level. Mentoring is a sign of confidence and maturity in a leader. These leaders want to see others expand their capacity and grow beyond their own level of success. Insecure leaders are the opposite.
Mentorship is something that I find valuable and as such is near and dear to my heart. It’s one of the most rewarding roles that I have ever filled and hope to continue doing for a very long time.
Mentors are available for almost every situation or vocation and the mentorship relationship can be a mutually beneficial one, but should not be entered into lightly.
So how do you know which mentor is right for you? Here is my eight-step mentor assessment to help you with that process:
1. Are your core values aligned?
You and your mentor don’t have to be philosophical twins, but it defeats the purpose if your values and beliefs are not in sync. The relationship will flow easier when there are similarities in your foundational principles. Pay attention to any red flags that may indicate that this is not the right fit for you and be bold enough to voice any concerns that you may have and end the relationship if necessary.
2. What is their area of expertise?
What skillset do you need to develop? What character trait do you need to strengthen? Choose a mentor that has experienced and successfully grown through the challenges you are facing and have a proven track record of success.
3. Are they available to you?
Your mentor should be able to have regular one on ones with you, and if that’s not possible, that may not be the right match for you.
4. Are they a good listener?
Does your mentor talk more than they listen? Are they spoon-feeding you information instead of prompting you to think for yourself? Your mentor should be acting as a guide for you while you navigate the growth process.
5. Do they challenge/inspire you to become better?
Your mentor should challenge you to become a better version of yourself. Great mentors are tough and sometimes irritating but that’s necessary to help you stretch. They will ask you hard questions and provide honest feedback, some of which may feel like harsh criticism. This is the mark of someone who is invested in your growth and success.
6. Does he or she lead by example?
Does your mentor embody the principles that they are teaching and holding you accountable to? If the answer is no, this is not the right role model for you.
Does he or she walk their talk? Are they consistent in their actions? Do they follow through with their promises? There is nothing more disappointing than when a person in authority displays blatant lapses in character. This is a person that cannot be easily trusted. Your mentor passes down his or her values to you. If they are not displaying the type of character that you would like to inherit, say goodbye.
8. Respected and respectful
Mentorship is a privilege that is given to mentors by their mentees. Therefore it should be cherished, not exploited. Is your mentor respected and celebrated among his or her peers? Are they respectful of your time and boundaries? Do they speak to and interact with you respectfully? If the answer is yes, you may have hit the jackpot. Just remember that respect is mutual. To be respected, one must show respect.
There are other criteria that you can use to assess your potential mentor, however, these are the ones that I have found to be most enlightening for me. Hopefully, you will find them beneficial as well.