A common reason that people seek out a mentor is to help them explore what different outcomes could look like in their life. As you talk about decisions and actions your mentee could take, you can help them see clearly what implications these decisions and actions would have on their life; will they have a positive effect or a negative effect? How will it impact your mentee’s life spiritually and personally?
I like to consider a few things; what is valid and real, what is sound, and what is legal. We should explore if each possible action is realistic and ethical, and what the benefits or ramifications might look like. It’s not about making pronouncements or making decisions for your mentee—rather you are there to help them see all possible outcomes, and guide them through their decisions.
Questions to Ask
As a mentor, it can be challenging to explore these areas without influencing your mentee more than is healthy. Here are some questions that can help you and your mentee consider their situation and subsequent actions:
Is it Real?
For the mentee: This means looking at how possible or realistic an option is. For example, if you are considering quitting your job, you need to look at practical outcomes; what else would you want to do? How possible is that career? Do you have the financial stability to make this shift?
For the mentor: What is your mentee missing? Are there benefits or consequences they have overlooked? Are they reaching too far or not far enough for their goals?
Is it Sound?
For the Mentee: This looks at the ethical possibilities. If you quit your job, would you be putting extreme stress on your co-workers? How might it affect your relationships? Is it the right move for you? For your family? Is it good for your well-being? What are the spiritual implications?
For the mentor: You should also consider how your guidance might affect your mentee. Be careful of bias or pushing an agenda, even if you believe it to be the right way to go. You are there to help explore possibilities and provide insight, but the decision should always belong to the mentee.
Is it Legal?
For the mentee: Does this possibility break any laws? Is it above board?
For the mentor: As a mentor, you need to know what is legal. It’s essential to be aware of what the law requires of you as a professional, in your jurisdiction. If your mentee shares they have done something to endanger themselves or others, it is your responsibility as a professional to take actions to make sure everyone is safe. As you begin sessions with a new mentee, you should always be clear about your legal responsibilities.
Let’s look at an example: Your mentee is considering leaving their partner.
Is it real? Are the reasons they want to leave valid? Could it be worked through? Is anyone in danger? Logistic questions are also important here: Who would get the home? Can they afford the home alone? Where would they go if not? Would a lawyer be needed? Can they afford one?
Is it sound? How will it impact their family? How will it impact them spiritually? Can they forgive their partner in their hearts, even if they choose to leave?
Is it legal? This comes back to the question ‘Is anyone in danger?’ If there is abuse, physically or emotionally, then action needs to be taken.
What’s next for you?
If you are looking to grow your mentoring skills, check out these resources:
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