“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

― Benjamin Franklin

Mentors are defined as, “ A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”  As mentors, we find ourselves wearing different hats as a role model, supporter, coach, integrity enforcer, and friend.  I’m blessed to have many mentors in my life, which I continue to call on for wisdom and support.  As parents, we provide mentorship for our children throughout their life so they can be prosperous.  Leaders in organizations develop and mentor their staff to become effective at their jobs in order to sustain company success.  Football coaches develop their players’ skills, mentor proper character to produce a winning habit and champion a cohesive team.  I believe in order to become an effective mentor/leader, you must wear the following five hats I mentioned above and describe below:

Role model – You must inspire and set a positive example for others to follow to be an effective mentor.  You already have a strong influence on your mentee, which shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Just remember, it’s not just what you say that’s important, its what you do on a daily basis.

Supporter – As mentors, we must learn to continue to encourage no matter the circumstance or situation.  Your encouragement shouldn’t be restricted to reactive support but also proactive support.  Support their self-esteem, personal and professional growth to ensure positive progress.  This will not only unlock their potential, but also build necessary trust in the relationship.

Coach – We all have habits or certain methods that allow us to reach a certain level in our lives.  As mentors, we must be able to coach our mentees to higher levels and discover their hidden potential.  Provide the necessary tools for our mentees to be successful and motivation to stay focus.  Vince Lombardi once said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Integrity Enforcer – The most important job of a mentor is being able to tell your mentee they are wrong and traveling down the wrong path.  I remember years ago having a conversation with one of my mentors and sharing with him something he totally did not agree with.  Not only did he disagree with my behavior but also gave me a hardnosed talk I would never forget.  As a mentor, don’t lack the courage to tell your mentee they are wrong. Remember, they trust you in guiding them to become ultimately a better person.

Friend – Its common to befriend your mentor because you normally have the same interest or character traits.  A friend is someone you call when you’re going through difficulties or pain.  They’re reliable, loyal and always willing to listen to your problems.   Establish a dialogue and become a friend so you really can connect as a mentor.

We are all mentors to someone, which requires us to wear different hats.  I strongly believe the majority of people have a mentor in his or her lives that helped them along the way.  Whether you are a parent, teacher, friend, pastor or supervisor, being a mentor/leader requires a selfless, motivating, inspiring, and patient person.  A person who cares and will provide a mentee an experienced friend to help them overcome life challenges to achieve success.  Tony Dungy quoted in his Mentor Leadership Book, “Remember that mentor leadership is all about serving.  Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Mark 10:45)

Pray and God Bless!!!

Bruce W. Harrison Jr.