To mentor means to share trusted wisdom with the mentees during the mentor-mentee relationship. That is, mentors share the truth of their practical experience when the mentees are ready to listen. Sometimes, even when they are not ready to listen!

Mentors have a vested interest in the success of their mentees. They share their insights in a friendly, conversational way to encourage their mentees to live their great lives and create well-living workplaces.

A mentee embracing the mentee-mentor relationship is often heard to say: "I'm stuck! I know it! So your advice will be helpful to see my knowing".

My Mentor-Mentee Experiences

Two notable mentors have touched me over the years. One was my manager for the playgrounds I supervised. He brought to life the creative process and how to think though the box. Through our conversations he encouraged me to write my thoughts and feelings. His spirit continues with me today even though his name is lost to time.

The second person, Gerard gave of his time to chat with me on many topics. Our conversations expanded my ideas about management excellence and navigating organizational culture. Unfortunately, he passed away too soon. In celebration of our relationship I purchased a portion of his estate re: the organizational culture assessment he was developing. Today, through continued use of the tool I honour his involvement in my life.

And today, I guide others. It's a way to live the adage 'you educate what you love to learn.' I share management tips, tools and techniques I have learned. More important, our sharing means I continue to learn and expand my practice and thinking.

14 Important Truths about Mentoring

Here are my truths about mentoring:

1. Mentors enter the relationship to guide mentees to their knowing. In other words, they both engage in social construction of knowledge, then wisdom.

2. How mentees present themselves at the first meeting is the start point for the connection. For example, if the mentee is joining a business as a senior level manager, the mentor starts the conversations from a manager-management perspective. In doing so, they share baseline insights. It's a place to start, that's public to both.

3. Mentoring is a learning-centred, open approach to developing and sustaining connectedness based on demonstrating accountability, fairness, trust, caring and respect.

4. The mentee invitees the mentor to the connection. However, its on the shoulders of the mentor to decide if the request is of benefit to both. The decision to mentor is sacred!

5. The mentor encourages the person's learning adventure knowing the person may or may not ask for guidance. Because of the trust and respect they share, the mentor shares insights when necessary.

6. The mentee continues the mentor-mentee relationship for as long as the mentee learns from he mentor's lived experience.

7. The shared learning conversations are open, nurturing and vibrant. Of what they share, the insights must be relevant and applicable. Confidentiality binds the relationship!

8. The connection can be far away or close. Face-to-face is preferred because listening through what you see is important to the relationship. Distance mentoring is now possible with the new video technologies.

9. Mentors facilitate fair-exchange during the relationship. They want the mentee to gain new insights. It's their call to serve that matters. This call originates from a sense of informed quietness.

10. It's up to the mentee to wisely apply the new insights. The mentor suggests options. However, the mentee makes the ethical decision to continue.

11. Mentors encourage mentees to continue learning. They offer corrective guidance and praise when appropriate. More important, they share their knowledge and skills.

12. The connection they seek is transformational than transactional. More so, if they can work towards a transcendent connection; that is, they move ahead together without knowing for sure their destination yet having faith in their journey.

13. Each mentee deserves to be celebrated and honoured for her/his uniqueness.

14. The mentor serves as a 'guide on the ride', a companion, a partner. When feelings of loneliness arise, the mentee knows the mentor is available to share feelings and associated thoughts without judgment.

These 14 truths suggest what I know today. They will continue to evolve as I continue to guide others.

Questions to Continue Your Learning

Here are questions to continue your learning:

Who has mentored you? What insights did they bring to your learning?

Who is currently mentoring you?

Who seeks you as a mentor?

If a mentee does not appear to have a fit with you, are you willing to say NO to the relationship?

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Stephen Hobbs as an educator, learner, leader, writer, author, facilitator, infopreneur, thought-note speaker, world traveler and friend describe, in a broad but distinct nutshell, his life and works. Stephen's work experience spans over 35+ years and six continents within the corporate, public and nonprofit sectors. His expertise in guiding, instructing and facilitating personal, group/team and organizational learning, combined with his background in research and savvy writing skills enables Stephen to influence the lives of thousands. Looking to find awesome ideas about mentoring in the workplace, then visit to find the best advice on mentoring and facilitating SOON available though the WELLth Academy.