Dual Footprints Part 3 – A Commitment to be Transparent
This is the third article in a series about coming alongside someone else and mentoring them. Part 2 discussed the commitment of time and in this article, I’ll address the importance of being transparent during the process.
This past March, I flew from Denver to Sacramento, California. As we began to cross the snowcapped Rocky Mountains, I took the above photo through the transparent glass. If the window had been fogged over, only allowing light to pass through, then it would have been translucent. If someone had painted the window black, then I would have seen nothing, including light because the glass would have been opaque.
Opaque, translucent, and transparent. In a mentoring relationship, if either party is opaque, not allowing any light to pass through, then there will be no personal growth. In a situation like this, frustration quickly takes root, and the mentoring dissolves in short order.
Trust is a necessary component of a successful mentoring relationship. At first, the mentee may hold back and not fully disclose where they are personally and/or professionally, creating a situation that fits the definition of translucent. In circumstances such as this, the mentor should reassure the mentee that their meetings are confidential, and information will not be shared with supervisors. On this note, I’ll add that mentoring works better with someone outside of the organization to alleviate those concerns. It is also important to note that if something arises that falls into the legal or personal safety realm, then that paints a different picture, but that is not the subject of this series.
Therefore, to be successful, the mentor and mentee must be open and transparent with each other. Not attacking, caustic, or spiteful, but open. If you are the type of person who is more worried about being politically correct and fearful of sharing the truth to help the other person grow, then don’t bother being a mentor!
A mentor should focus on helping the other person grow and develop. This is accomplished by asking questions, listening to the other person, and sharing our knowledge and experiences with them, but not in an overbearing manner.
Next week in Part 4, I will address the commitment to slay the ego. Until then, please visit my website at www.impactusleadership.com to see the solutions I offer to your problems and challenges and find out how I can help you or email me at email@example.com.