We can all use some tips on mentoring - especially now when it’s needed most.
During the COVID era, as the world seems to have flipped upside down, everything seems a bit crazy… and that’s being polite. Honestly, it’s chaotic. But, just because we may be individually facing widespread challenges, that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop being a mentor. Instead, it’s time to lean in and do more.
As we move forward into the ‘new normal’ world (I’m hating that phrase even as I type it), people are going to need mentors now more than ever before. Here are my thoughts on mentorship during and after the pandemic:
It’s different, but not impossible. Now that we’re no longer spending time together in person, mentors need to rethink the way they cultivate close relationships. Before, bonding happened naturally. Now, with so many of us OOO (out of office for the old-timers), it’s too easy to disconnect and drift apart since we’re not actually together. Now I truly understand what “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” feels like.
Since we’re not face-to-face, mentors need to come up with updated strategies to feel connected in meaningful ways.
Don’t Run Away, Stay Engaged
In my opinion, nothing could be worse than watching the ones we’ve mentored for years crash and burn. If you suddenly stop acting like a mentor just because the pandemic made things hard, your team will be left with no support system.
In difficult situations, it’s natural for people to want to run away from their problems by just shutting down. If you give up your efforts to be a mentor, you won’t be able to help your sphere when they need you. As a mentor, it’s up to you to provide your group with a positive outlook and the message of ‘you can do this’.
Embrace the power of presence. It’s the only thing you really have. Sometimes, just being there is enough to make an unimaginable difference in someone’s life. Keep going and your tribe will keep going, too.
Hopeful or Hopeless: Balancing Outlooks
It’s either hopeful or hopeless, and I’ve noticed people’s outlooks shifting between the two extremes at incredible speeds. Today’s mentors need to focus on grounding themselves. By cultivating balance, you’ll be able to help your team stay motivated and continue moving forward.
After all, progress can only happen when we try. If we give up, we’re succumbing to what holds us back.
Live by Example
To all the mentors out there, don’t give up now. Just because you’re also in an uncomfortable situation doesn’t mean that you can’t be of value to others. In fact, simply watching you foster a positive outlook and muster up the energy to keep moving forward in the face of adversity is an amazing lesson for your team.
Leading by example is a potent way to instill your message and encourage those around you to also give it their all - no matter what. Don’t just preach flexibility and unwavering effort. Practice it.
The job of being a mentor has just gotten more intense - and more necessary. Are you ready to live up to the challenge and out beat expectations, or are you going to abandon your sphere when they need your guidance the most?