What Are the Skills for Mentoring?

Did you know that nearly a quarter of Americans volunteer? If you’ve been searching for a way to give back to your community, you may want to consider honing your skills for mentoring. As a volunteer mentor, you’ll work closely with a teen to help them find direction and you’ll gain a lot in return. 

You may be wondering if you have what it takes. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more!

Be a Good Listener

While it’s tempting to launch into a lecture, a mentor needs to step back and listen first. By committing to listening, you’ll learn more about your mentee and allow them to become more comfortable with you. You can ask questions about school or interests to help encourage them to share who they are. 

You’ll need to be patient with this process. Avoid interrupting your mentee and help guide the conversation. You can do this by asking follow-up questions and letting them know you care about their progress.  

Offer a supportive and welcoming space to help build strong connections and move the relationship forward. A mentee should trust you to lend an empathetic ear when they’re sharing frustrations, concerns, or struggles. As a mentor with OhanaHC, you’ll gain access to training and events that can help you fine-tune your mentoring skills. 

Offer Advice and Be Persistent 

A good mentor needs to serve as a trusted source of guidance and advice. After all, your mentee will look to you when they have questions or reach a decision-making crossroads. You’ll need to make sure you’re backing your advice with examples and reasons to help your mentee make a wise decision. As a mentor, you’ll also want to make sure you’re offering constructive feedback when your mentee makes a poor behavioral choice or hits a barrier. In other words, you’ll want to hold off on leading with negative feedback, especially when your relationship with a mentee is fresh. 

As a mentor, you’ll also want to make sure you’re showing up, even when your mentee might not be opening up, even if they seem distant or disinterested in it. It’s about meaning it and showing it when we say we want to be there for them. It’s not about a ROI but about building that trust and standing by our mentee despite it being difficult.

Master the Skills for Mentoring

Becoming a mentor means knowing how to listen and react gracefully. Remember that many mentees may come from environments where they lack an adult figure to provide guidance. You’ll need to take small steps to earn their trust and engage in two-way conversations. 

At the same time, you’ll need to provide structure for your mentee. They may need help developing and following schedules or setting goals. You can serve as an invaluable resource to help them create a roadmap and handle setbacks with a sense of tenacity. 

OhanaHC offers the ideal space to put your mentoring and volunteering skills to work. Fill out the contact form on our website or email us at info@ohanahc.org to discover how you can serve as a mentor and help our students!

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Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

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