How to be a Transformational Mentor; Understanding What’s Below the “Tip of the Iceberg”
Icebergs show only the tip of the massive amount of ice they contain. Like the iceberg, we only see what’s visible and that’s a tiny piece of what determines humans’ behavior.
What’s visible is BEHAVIOR.
What’s not visible are beliefs, values, past history, perceptions, attitudes, and values that drive behavior.
A Transformational Mentor understands this and seeks to learn what’s “beneath the surface”. Indeed, you cannot help transform clients’ lives until you can “see” what’s not visible.
To help our mentees create positive change in their lives we must learn how they process – mentally and emotionally – information (which comes in a variety of ways) that comes to them from outside their bodies.
We must also help them process information that comes from their own ideas.
Never underestimate the levels of understanding and the sensitivity and the knowledge great Transformation Mentors must have to be highly effective in their (what I think is a sacred) position.
Never take being a Mentor as anything but a precious responsibility that you should take very seriously.
Another person is giving you their time and money and sharing with you their most private thoughts and dreams. Always receive those things as precious gifts to be guarded well and carefully taken care of.
First and foremost you should teach them the principle of CHOICE. For that is their “Super Power”. Teach them that they have the ability to choose their thoughts, words, and actions no matter what is happening around them and no matter who is trying to take them down.
Teach them to run everything through the test of, “Is this in my control or out of my control?” If something that’s broken is within their control, teach them how to fix it. If it is out of their control, teach them how to let it go.
Everything that happens to them – every external event – they’ll internally process and simultaneously create an internal emotional state (happy; sad; fearful; etc.). Teach them to be very aware of this process and how they’re handling it by consciously directing their thoughts to be in alignment with their beliefs of how they SHOULD be thinking/speaking/acting. Awareness is the first step; then directing thoughts in positive directions; then taking actions that keep you on the path to excellence.
Any given state of “being” (mentioned above) is the result of the combination of our internal dialogue – our stories, our beliefs, our past – AND our physiology at the moment – the state of our body (healthy/ill/uncomfortable, etc.).
Transformational Mentors are extremely sensitive to the level of their mentee’s physical wellbeing and always take their client’s level of health (at any given moment) into the “mix” of their that client’s reactions/moods/body language, etc. Again, great mentors see the invisible. That’s part of what makes them great.
Factors that also come into play with Transformational Mentors are the five main sensory inputs…
- Sight – what they see or the way people look at them, etc.
- Sound – what they hear and they way people speak to them.
- Touch – the touch of someone or something; the way they touch others.
- Smell – the smells that trigger behavior, etc.
- Taste – the way things taste; food drivers, etc.
Think about these sensory inputs as you mentor; they’re part of the “below the surface” pieces that are usually invisible but very important tools you can use to help you as a mentor.
More Foundational Pieces of Transformational Mentoring…
- Connect with your clients heart-to-heart from the very beginning.
- Use positive reinforcement continuously.
- Keep your mentee’s responsible for their choices; flick back to that if they begin to blame and play the victim. Don’t allow them to go there.
- Listen very, very carefully. Be fully present with them 100% of the time.
- Separate their value from their performance and help them learn how to do that. (No matter how well or poorly they execute tasks, etc. their value never changes – in their eyes – in your eyes.)
- Focus on their next steps. Baby steps are applauded as enthusiastically as giant leaps.
- Continually bring them back to remembering that they can only work on what they can control; they cannot control others – ever – nor should they want to.
- Measure their progress. Frequently share their progress with them. Always take notes that measure their progress so you can come right back to “where they were” at the previous session with you.