What Makes a Good Mentor?
Most of us have had a teacher, supervisor, or coach who was a good mentor and made a positive impact on our lives. Those people wore many different hats, acting as cheerleaders, task masters, enforcers, advocates, and friends.
Good mentors have:
- Respect for young people
- Active listening skills
- Ability to see problems and potential solutions
- Lacks the need to always be in control
- 3+ years business experience
Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. Not only do you get to have impact on the life of a young person, but many mentors report:
- Having fun
- Personal growth and learning more about themselves and their field
- Improved self esteem
- Feeling more productive and positive at work
- An enhanced relationship with their own children
Frequently Asked Questions
What is my expected time commitment?
Each mentor/mentee relationship is unique. You might have more time to offer your mentee, or they might need you less than usual. For each of our mentors, we ask that you be prepared to offer a minimum of 1 hour a week. The length of your commitment will vary, from 1 month during the Student Entrepreneur Challenge to two years for new business owners. Talk to us about your needs and availability, and we will work with you to find the opportunity that fits you best.
What age of kid will I work with?
The majority of our participants are between the ages of 13 and 18. If you are interested in working with a particular age group, let us know and we will work to find you the perfect match.
Will I work with one child or a group?
We work hard to set up a relationship that is the most beneficial to the participant, and to you. If you are involved with the Student Entrepreneur Challenge, you will work with a team of 3-5 students. Outside of that program, you will more likely work with 1-2 young entrepreneurs.
Will I be expected to financially support my mentee?
No. While we do not have rules prohibiting you from investing in your mentee’s business if you become interested, but you are in no way required to provide any funds or personal resources to your mentee.
Will I have to travel?
Each mentor/mentee relationship is unique. You can meet with your mentee in whatever manner suits the both of you best. You can meet in person at a coffee shop, library, or other neutral location, online via email or Skype, or over texts or phone calls.
What if we don't hit it off?
It’s not easy to trust a stranger, especially if you’ve been dismissed and belittled by adults in the past. Your mentee is trying something new and scary, and that can make stress run even higher. It may take a while to build trust. Don’t get impatient, have a meeting or two where you have the option to get to know one another before you get into sensitive information, and give them room to talk when they’re ready. They may not always show it, but your mentee definitely wants your help.
What if a serious problem comes up?
As a mentor, you are not expected to be a parent, counselor, or baby sitter. If any mentee displays personal, respect, or discipline problems that you are not comfortable dealing with, contact our volunteer coordinator Sami Postma at (360) 678-6889 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there any training involved?
The Student Entrepreneur Challenge involves a mandatory mentor training. For ongoing mentor relationships, we do not have a formal training program, but the EDC staff is always on hand to provide resources, information, and assistance as requested.
What if my question isn't answered here?
For more information, contact Sami at (360) 678-6889 or email@example.com.