How mentoring develops future leaders
Imagine if you could sit down with your future self and ask for advice. You’d have some incredibly wise and valuable snippets to share with your current self that would really help you navigate the coming months and years — and enable you to better prepare yourself for what’s to come.
This is what leadership mentoring does for prospective leaders. It provides them with a forum for setting, discussing and embarking on a path to leadership with someone who has walked that path before.
We all like to think of our journey as absolutely unique, and while there are of course some unique elements (including you), there are a far more similarities and shared experiences between your path to X or Y, and someone else path to that same destination.
Because of this fact of life, many of the leadership challenges the leaders of tomorrow will face — the leaders of today have faced.
Learning from seeing
Leadership mentoring enables mentees to see what great leadership looks like, as the mentor is technically leading them; using soft leadership skills to effectively communicate; leadership skills to encourage them and drive them forward; and hard leadership skills to hold them accountability for real progress.
Feeling how the mentor coaches and mentors the mentee through the process enables the mentee to learn about people management, discover how they like to be treated from a ‘superior’, and learn what type of encouragement and interaction spurs them to be the best version of themselves. The hallmark of great leadership is one’s ability to raise up other leaders who will be more effective and prosperous than they are.
Learning from doing
Mentors also provide mentees looking for improved leadership with development tools, activities, and practical suggestions for transitioning to becoming a better leader.
Mentoring isn’t just about coffee, chatting, and the odd bit of verbal advice. Great mentors spur proactivity in mentees, and encourage them to participate in activities, tasks and events which better prepare them to achieve their overarching goals.
A good mentor will know how to draw a mentee out of their comfort zone into more leadership oriented environments and scenarios, and can talk with a mentee about how they can address certain scenarios they are encountering in real-life, putting leadership skills into real-life context and real-life practice.
But the core factor in mentoring leaders is helping them learn to live life the way we were designed to. For example, God, Spouse, family then business. Genuinely having your “vertical alignment” correct so that your “horizontal alignment” will be correct. Character, integrity, faithfulness, servant leadership… these are all hallmarks of not just great, but genuine, authentic leaders.
BH – Mentorloop/Adapted