It’s possible that you have only been able to find mediocre mentors. They are a little detached, a little lackadaisical. If you get together, you leave without much direction.
I’d like to suggest some ways that you can make them amazing.
But first, here’s my working definition of a mentor: Someone who knows more than you about something you need to know, and is willing to share life to help you learn it.
1. Ask really clear questions about what you want to know. Before you meet. So they have a chance to think about the question.
2. Shut up and listen. It’s possible that the answer to your question is more complex, more confused, or more simple that you think. It’s possible that your question isn’t clear. So allow your mentor to spend some time exploring both the question and the answer.
3. Ask clarifying questions. “I’m not sure I know what word means?” is a clarifying question. “I read that there are lots of other ways to do this” is not.
4. Ask implementation questions. “How can I start that?” is an implementation question. “Are you sure that will work?” is not.
5. Apply the counsel offered. The way to find out whether the counsel works is to apply it in real life. And the way to let your mentor know you are serious is to resist talking about doing whatever and embrace actually doing it.
6. In the next conversation, ask questions based on what worked and what didn’t. Rather than having the same conversation over and over, accept responsibility for moving it along by accepting responsibility for learning.
7. Be willing to graduate. Sometimes, you will be with your mentor for decades. You are sharing that much of life. Sometimes, you will have learned what you need to learn in a few meetings.
So how do you make your mentor amazing?
I wrote once before about how to find a mentor.
I changed the front of 300wordsaday.com. Let me know if you think it’s helpful to people who have never been here before. Thanks.