The Four Tasks of a Mentor


Young leaders will not be developed in large crowds but through life-on-life mentoring relationships with established leaders.

I recently finished a mentoring session with a college student. Our time together was pure joy to me. This student, Justin, is smart, hungry to grow and wants to invest his life in a worthy cause that will somehow improve the world. You got to love it.

I was reminded again of a value I've embraced for years. Young leaders will not be developed in massive crowds at a conference, but through life-on-life mentoring relationships with established leaders. So, I decided to list for you below the 4 actions I think a mentor should employ as they invest in a young person.

Mentors — Here are your 4 jobs to empower a young person:

1. Expose
We must expose them to gifted people; people who are different; to environments and cultures that are different. Exposure to new people and arenas broaden them. By furnishing experiences like this, they grow.

2. Explain
We must help them interpret their life experiences. We must not just teach them what to think but how to think. We must help them understand who they are and where they’re strengths lie.

3. Exemplify
We must let them see a model of healthy leadership. I am always hopeful I can model good leadership, but it doesn’t stop there. I introduce them to other leaders who they can interview and watch.

4. Evaluate
We must gain permission to tell them the truth. A mentor must: Converse, model, apprentice, and debrief. This means after we experience a new person or environment, we assess what we saw and heard.

Are you doing any of these with someone from the next generation?

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