In my previous mentoring training article, I wrote about volunteer mentorship. It’s a great opportunity to build experience as a mentor while also receiving mentoring training – often for free.
As a child and teenager I was fortunate to have mentors in both my teachers and YMCA volunteers. These adults helped me gain perspective in life, and encouraged me to put my talents to use. They provided the guidance and wisdom necessary for me to achieve my goals.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering where you should get mentoring training and experience. Which one is the best? I don’t think any one program is better than another, so I invite you to choose what’s best for you:
Big Brothers Big Sisters: One of the most well-known youth mentoring programs out there. It’s been around for more than 100 years and connects mentors and youths across the country.
MENTOR: National Mentoring Partnership: This organization has worked in youth mentoring for over 20 years. I’d check out their volunteer referral service. It’s free and connects you with mentoring programs in your area.
USA Freedom Corps: Launched in 2002, America’s Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal is exactly what it says – a portal through which you can find all sorts of volunteer opportunities. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the other programs, this may have it
Keep in mind that most mentoring programs require background checks and other application procedures before you can begin volunteering. If you’re eager to get a head start on your mentoring training, take a look at my 3 Building Blocks of Mentoring:
- Communicate. This is the basis of all mentoring. If you can’t communicate effectively, no one will be able to benefit from your wisdom and expertise. Know when to listen, when to ask questions, and when to give constructive feedback.
- Build Trust. The most important factor in your success as a mentor is based on trust. Be authentic. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Be consistent. By being committed to your word you are building the strongest foundation for a successful mentoring relationship. Once your mentee knows he or she can trust you, they will come to see you as the rock they can build their future on. Being that trustworthy friend is the best gift you can give your mentee AND yourself!
- Be Patient. Mentoring is a long-term process that aids in personal growth. Start with small things and build up to the big successes. This will keep up a positive outlook and give you and your mentee the opportunity to get to know each other.
While volunteering is a great way to gain experience, remember that you can also take your mentoring training to great heights. To learn more about becoming a successful mentor and/or coach, I highly recommend getting Dr. Craig’s free report now.