1.) Make Mentoring Magical: Start conversations with your mentoring moment: the moment a mentor gave you advice that made a significant difference in your life. Getting started this way will make sure your mentee remembers the conversation- that it is more than the transactional, it is memorable. It may even become their magical mentoring moment.
2.) Get the Mentees' Names Right: Names are often rooted in family, culture, and religion. They are an extension of our identities. If you are not sure how to pronounce the mentee's name, just ask. Pronouncing names correctly is one of the ways that you can really practice anti-racism and allyship.
3.) Avoid causing Harm: One of the functions of mentors is to provide perspective. Mentors should spend time considering the extent to which privilege was key to their success. Acknowledge behaviors or experiences that you understand to have hinged heavily on privilege and would be risky if performed by someone with less privilege.
4.) Be Sincere and Honest: Be willing to share examples from your own journey. It is important mentees understand that success is a journey, and it may have many twists and turns. Things may not always work out exactly as we hope. Share not only your successes but be willing to share missteps and failings and what you learned in the process.
5.) Break it Down: Everyone can use help breaking down bigger problems, challenges, or tasks into more manageable pieces. Mentors can help a young person develop a plan to accomplish big goals by taking things one step at a time while providing encouragement, feedback, and problem-solving along the way.
6.) Show Up for Mentees: Show up for mentees as an advisor and confidante, not an all-knowing authority figure. No one likes a know-it-all! Be careful not to make the mentoring session about you. Come ready to listen, validate and have constructive conversations.
7.) Recognize and Respect Differences: Understand that the mentees may have opinions and resources that are different from your own. All of us bring a unique set of identities, perspectives, and experiences that shape the way we see the world.
8.) Be an Active Listener: Use active listening skills when you engage with mentees. Be present, show you are following along, and ask relevant questions about what mentees are saying.
9.) Ask Open-ended Questions: Ask open-ended questions (questions beginning with who, what, when, where, why and how) instead of yes or no questions. This keeps the conversation flowing and encourages mentees to speak in more detail.
10.) Do Not Be Afraid of Silence: Sometimes, our mentees might need time to think through their idea or work up the courage to speak. Simply being there and waiting can open a lot of conversations.
Outside of this one-time space created for mentoring, contact with teens is not permitted. For everyone's safety, do not share business card, telephone number or other means of communication.
Learn how to Be a Mentor here!
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