There are two popular ways to think about mentorship. The first is to go into it intent on turning your mentee into your “mini-me.” The second is to view mentorship as helping your mentee become more of who they are.
While it’s flattering to hear someone say they “want to be just like you,” it’s better to use your strengths to draw out their own. The people you mentor may not think exactly the way you do and may even disagree with you on key issues. They may look at the way you’ve designed your career or lifestyle and say, “good for you, but not for me” and only want help in certain areas.
Your role as a mentor is to help people think about things from a different angle, to ask smarter questions, to empower them to take risks, to release untapped potential, to allow your perspective to help shape them into a better version of themselves.
Success as a mentor comes not from producing copies of yourself, but in helping people flourish in their own gifts and talents.
Originally published February 2014