Mentoring has the wonderful capacity to advance a mentee’s development or even change his/her life in a remarkable way. It is a responsibility and an honor that must be approached with integrity and commitment. These ethics are not only expected of the Seedling mentor, but also of Seedling. As we take the steps to make each mentoring match, research defines our process. For example, once our school contact has identified and confirmed a student would like a mentor, they look at the interests stated in the mentor’s application and consider the interests of the child to make the best possible match. Mentoring research shows that relationships have an increased chance of success when the mentor and mentee share similar interests. Likewise, similar expectations and goals.
While it is only natural to enter into a mentoring relationship with high expectations such as imparting your knowledge and wisdom to your mentee, tutoring your mentee to the A honor roll, or teaching him/her a special skill, the young person you are matched with may not be envisioning the same. Mentoring expert Jean Rhodes also warns about expecting your mentoring relationship to be year after year of endless home runs. While there are some outlier mentoring relationships lasting four plus years and ending in mentor and mentee hand-in-hand at graduation, the majority of mentoring relationships are best focused on the mentee’s current needs and a targeted approach to meet that need – a listening ear during difficult family transitions, a nonjudgmental presence during a difficult academic or behavioral year, or simply a friend to play games with while the mentee grows in social and emotional skills. Rhodes says, “Yes, there will be some spectacular hits, but all of mentors should be well prepared to play the game.”
If you are just beginning your mentoring adventure, or consider yourself a seasoned veteran, it is always best practice to contemplate your motivation and expectations of being a mentor often. Though the connection you have with your mentee may ebb and flow over the months and years, depending on the stage of your relationship, one aspect should always be agreed upon and that is what you set out to achieve together.
For more on setting expectations with your mentee watch this 3 minute Seedling Mentoring video
Your Mentor Director has a professional and ethical responsibility to check in with you, but they are also a great resource to help brainstorm ideas, share your mentoring stories with, and get support.
Source used for this article: “Why neither baseball nor mentoring should be a home run derby” by Jean Rhodes.