Mentoring another person requires work, especially when you elevate the practice of mentoring to what I call the Greater Than Yourself (GTY) approach. According to a Deloitte survey 60 percent of millennials said they desire a mentor. No matter where a person is on their career path, as a mentor you need to have the intent to see them rise to levels that surpass your own.
So, when I encourage leaders to take on a protege and commit to helping that person transcend them in skill, influence, and ability, they eventually put their cards on the table with an obvious question: What's it gonna cost me?
They understand that GTY mentoring involves sacrificing time and energy as investment in the success of another person. And they are willing to make that sacrifice. But all great leaders want to count the costs before they make a full-fledged commitment. They naturally want to approach the relationship with clear expectations.
This is important not only for the mentor but for the protege, and I refer to that person as the GTY Project. If the GTY Project knows what to expect from the mentor, he or she will feel honored by that commitment, feel a sense of responsibility to invest fully in the relationship and hold the mentor accountable to the commitments.
I recommend that mentors commit to at least four things when they take on a GTY project:
1. Commit to the time.
Decide what percentage of time you can give each week to meeting with and counseling your GTY project. It's the same principle as tithing, but with your calendar vs your bank account.
2. Commit to the goal.
Promise your GTY project that you will make a difference in his or her life by promoting his or her welfare, fortune, success, and capacity for achievement.
3. Commit to the dream.
Let your GTY project know that you want to discover his or her hopes and dreams and that you are as committed to making those a reality as you are to seeing your own dreams fulfilled.
4. Commit your resources.
Your GTY project should expect you to deliver your knowledge, connections, experiences, insights, counsel, encouragement, and tough-love feedback--pretty much anything you possess that will help the other person exceed you in greatness.
Not only do I recommend that you as a mentor make these commitments, but I challenge you to put them in writing and sign it along with your protege. It's not legally binding, but it stresses that you're both taking this relationship seriously.
Every mentoring relationship is different when it gets to the specifics, because, of course, people are different. By starting with these four commitments, you can build a plan that's specific to any relationship and that has afoundation for its greatest success.