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How to be a Positive Mentor

Whether you’re a first time mentor or an experienced pro there are always new ways to improve mentoring skills and techniques to get the most out of the experience for both yourself and your mentee.

Each and every mentoring experience will be a unique one, as everyone is different! Some may provide challenges, and others will deliver a number of triumphs. However, in most cases it won’t just be your mentee doing all the learning, you will also learn many things for yourself and about yourself.

Here are the top tips on how to be a positive mentor to achieve a solid mentor mentee relationship.

Be genuinely interested.

Mentor and mentee relationships are best built on a personal level and one of the best mentoring techniques is to position yourself as a “cool older brother or sister” or even a friend who wants to help out rather than a teacher giving orders. Get to know your mentee as best you can past the pleasantries like what their middle name and age are.

Strive to find out what your mentee’s hopes and dreams are so you can really bond with them provide the best advise they will trust. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and is comfortable with sharing different elements about themselves. Remember not to force or push your mentee for information.

A better mentoring technique is to ask general and broad questions and allow your mentee tell you what they are comfortable with and want you to know. In most circumstances the more they get to know you and see that you are genuinely interested in hearing what they have to say, the more they will open up.

If your mentee is a little sceptical on the whole mentoring business, you can always guide them to a few helpful blogs that could encourage them into the experience.

Share your experiences.

To build trust with your mentee and encourage them to open up its important for you to do the same. Being open and able to share your mistakes and failures as easily as your successes is a great mentoring skill. Your mentee will undoubtedly appreciate such honesty, and might even learn a similar lesson as yourself through your words. However, keep in mind to be careful and always make sure your experiences are appropriate to be sharing within the situation at hand.

Only give feedback when warranted

Feedback has the power to be both constructive and destructive. A positive mentor will be able to differentiate between a good and bad time to provide feedback or advise. A great technique to determine the best time is to simply ask your mentee if they would like any feedback or need advice. Sometimes mentees will welcome feedback with open ears, and other times they might simply want to tell you something and leave it at that.

MTC Australia’s Youth Frontiers program is a positive experience for both mentors and mentees designed to build young people’s skills, capacity and community connectedness.

If you are passionate about helping young people thrive, want to learn how to be a mentor, or work on your mentoring skills Youth Frontiers is the program for you!

Sign up to be a mentor for a year 8-9 student during school hours (1-2 hours per week) from April to October, and connect with a young person and make a difference in your community.