9 Types of Mentors to Have in Your Life
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a mentor as "a trusted counselor or guide." Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be surrounded by others who want to help you work toward and accomplish your goals? We all could use a few good mentors with us along our path through life, couldn’t we?
Or perhaps you have the time and desire to become a mentor to someone else. Everyone has gifts and talents to share! A great mentor is a guide who helps others to navigate the world of school, careers; even life in general.
Below are definitions of nine different types of mentors. Make it your goal to have these different types of people as part of your mentoring team to help you succeed. In addition, strive to fill one or more of these roles in someone else’s life. The rewards are tremendous!
If you want to grow, you will want some challenges in your life who will tell you when they think you're doing something wrong or if you need to spend more time thinking something through. They ask the tough questions that help you analyze your situation realistically. They don’t sugarcoat and they’ll honestly tell you if your idea is a bad one or if your plan is only half thought out. This criticism, if it comes from the right place, will help you get on the right path and avoid costly mistakes.
Having the positive support of a Cheerleader can give you the necessary motivation to keep going. Our parents, spouses and good friends can fill this role for us in many ways; and professionally, having a person in your field saying, “you can do this” can be a tremendous asset. A Cheerleader is someone who will be genuinely happy for you when you succeed and who will cheer you on when you might be struggling.
Coaches are there when you need someone to help you think through difficult problems. A good coach doesn’t solve your problems for you; they help you see both the problem and your role a bit more clearly. They do this by observing, listening, asking focused questions, reflecting, and challenging. Coaches can suggest strategies for solving problems you might not have considered and can help you think “bigger picture” of ideas and possible solutions.
The Connector gets satisfaction from making connections. They willingly open their personal or professional network to others. They are motivated by connecting people with one another to share ideas, passion, and energy. This type of mentor is an asset to both your personal and professional life. Sometimes it really is who you know that can make the difference!
An Educator is a person who takes the time to sit down and share their expertise with those who want to learn. Educators love to help others by sharing their wisdom. They want to see everyone succeed!
The Idea Generator
Are you tapping into your creative side? Are you taking the time to play? Sometimes we get lost in the day-to-day struggles and we forget to have fun. Play and fun are necessary to allow us to free our minds to look at the big picture. Is this the life we imagined? Where can we adjust in either our personal or professional life? The Idea Generator takes on the role of “thought partner” and helps you to open your mind to new experiences and new opportunities.
As you navigate through life, it’s helpful to be able to pull from various resources to help you get along. The Librarian has a wealth of information on your community, clubs, organizations, and support systems. They know a resource for almost any need and are aware of where to go to get questions answered or to get things done.
The Super Star
Find people who you admire. People who are living parts of their life in a way you aspire to, or who currently have the career that you want to have. Spend time with them and get to know their routines, their resources, how they go about their days. While their way is not the only way, you can gain valuable insight into steps you might want to take to get you closer to your goals!
Some days you just need an awesome listener. Someone to remind you that it’s okay; tomorrow is another day. A good teammate realizes that you aren’t always looking for a solution to your problem, or a motivational speech to spur you on. You just need someone to listen with a sympathetic ear, and then allow you to move on.
A truly great mentor often embodies more than one of these personality profiles. Look for mentors that know when to step in, when to push, when to teach and when to inspire. Making these connections and having these relationships available to you means that you can pull from these resources whenever you might have the need. Take a moment and reflect on what you might also have to offer to someone else. Be aware of the needs of others around you and step in if you are able. Mentoring can be a very rewarding experience for all involved!
By Kris Powers