Do this, don’t do that…
The following list contains some good advice for mentoring. Many of the points are here because they have been learned the hard way. We are just trying to contribute to your ability to exercise smart compassion.
Don’t do this:
Never give money to your mentee. Trust me, it just complicates things and it is not your role to supplement finances. What about coffee or a meal? That’s fine but don’t make it a regular thing.
Don’t give out personal information. Keep in mind that whatever you share will most likely be shared with others. Here are some examples:
Details about your family. You are the mentor, not your family
Details about your schedule – vacation and travel, are a few examples.
Details about your finances
Details about the toys you own
Don’t confront or accuse your mentee. This is the courts job so let them do it.
Don’t listen to a conversation that begins like this, “You need to promise not to tell anyone…”
Don’t work harder than your mentee
Don’t give advice to the judge – this is a bad idea.
Don’t hire your mentee at your place of employment
TRY TO DO THIS
Listen! Pay attention to what’s being said.
Learn! Ask questions with the intent to learn about your mentee’s world
Resist the urge to give advice
Keep it simple. Find one or two things to work on and focus on that.
Your stories about your past are not going to impress anybody. This is not a situation where the only difference between you and your mentee is that you didn’t get caught. And if you did get caught, we are looking forward not backward.
Your mentee is not a project. We are not looking to create a mini-you.
Success is relative to the situation. Your definition of success may be very different than everybody else’s. Sometimes very small pieces of progress may be more than they have ever accomplished in the past.
Failure. You are not responsible for your mentee’s failure (or success) so when it happens you need to evaluate what went on and what can you learn from the process.