What is the 'M-factor'? Mentoring!
Mentoring is such a valuable tool that adds so much to somebody’s life. My experience of mentoring has been really positive and helped me to learn and grown in myself. By meeting with someone regularly and consistently really honestly has so many benefits. Here are some of the qualities that mentors have and why they are so brilliant:
Someone who listens.
No matter where you are at that day or that time in your life being able to talk openly and air my thoughts without being judged but feel listened too allowed me to validate my emotions and not feel silly or stupid.
Someone who challenges.
So often my mentor would challenge me in things I hadn’t thought about before or set a task to do when I was at school or home for example writing things down when you feel them or simply leaving some questions to think about.
Someone who encourages.
Sometimes it can feel like life has got on top of you and you are struggling to see a way out. Mentors encourage, motivate, inspire and cheer you on. They are someone for you to celebrate your big wins and little wins with.
Someone who is a role model.
Mentors are people who set examples for you to follow, now nobody’s perfect but it can be really valuable to learn from others challenges and resilience too.
Someone who holds you accountable.
It is so easy to say things and not stick to them, I do it quite a lot :/ But something I found really helpful (and sometimes a little bit annoying!) was that my mentor never forgot things I had said I would do or try, so they were always holding me accountable and following up on challenges they set or things I had spoken about.
Mentoring allowed me to make some really positive changes for myself as a teenager and meant I was supported, valued, listened to and challenged in some of the tougher parts of being a young person. My mentor also role modelled to me what a great mentor looks like which really inspired me to begin some youth work of my own! When I left school I took a gap year working in South East London for a youth work charity called XLP. (I have written before on some of the things I learnt while at XLP which you can read here.) I had the opportunity while at XLP to mentor 9 young people in a variety of contexts and it was a massive learning curve which began and what I had learn from my own personal mentoring journey. For each young person I mentored we did different things, no two sessions were the same because it was about them and what they needed. For some that was practical support with learning, others more emotional support but for all of them it was a space to be themselves, ask questions and be listened to, valued and cared about. Lots of them didn’t have many role models in other places so it was a privilege to be able to get to know them and support them.
Working with them over the year and seeing them grow and flourish was awesome, to being more confident, more open, more thoughtful, more calm, less angry, less anxious and just free to be themselves! I love mentoring, it is such a rewarding thing to do that can have a huge impact in someone else’s story.
I am really thankful to have had a mentor growing up, for all they taught me and supported me and I hope that they know the difference they have made to my life!