According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a mentor is defined as "a trusted counsellor or guide." Mentors can be found in all areas of life including the workplace, in peer groups, through sports and with youth. The exact duties and responsibilities of a mentor will vary slightly depending on the situation, but there are some job duties that are common to all mentors.
Whether it is through work, play or while mentoring youth, it is vital to offer support in several different areas. As a mentor, you are looked up to. You must offer emotional support at all times and let your protege know there is a solid base of support behind him. This will make all areas of his life including social, family, school or work much easier to manage and will move him toward his goals that much faster.
One of the primary skills a good mentor will possess is the ability to listen. It is a duty that can often be overlooked, but is of utmost importance in a mentoring role. The people you mentor will all have their own problems, fears, hopes and thoughts. Your ability to listen without judgment will enable them to bring issues to the surface that may otherwise have been left unattended.
All types of mentoring require upfront and honest communication on your part. Many times, the reason a person needs a mentor in the first place is because she has gone astray in life or at work and being open with her is just what she needs to get back on track. The key is to learn about her as a person and what she responds to best so you can communicate in a way she can really understand. No two people are the same. One person may respond to bluntness while another will require a gentler approach.
One of your duties as a mentor is to help set goals and advise on the best ways to achieve them. This is the perfect time to help build his self-esteem and inject positivity into any areas where he is having trouble. Consider your advice carefully before giving it out.
One on One Time
While telephones and e-mails are great for some communication, you will need regular one on one time with your protege to really cement your place as a role model and someone to look up to. Spending time alone together will add that personal touch and let him know you truly care about him as a person. If your job is workplace mentoring, this won't be a problem but for youth mentoring, try to schedule at least two times per week to be there in person.