Every job on the planet from being a cashier at McDonald’s to serving as a mercenary in the military requires a measure of training. Anyone can push a button on a cash register, but unless you know which one to push and in what order to do it in, you’re liable to get the customer’s order wrong.
You also need to be good enough at it to perform the task quickly, thus fast food. Likewise, anyone can pull a trigger on a gun, but if you don’t know how to find your target, work with other team members, and follow orders precisely, you could unintentionally end the lives of people on your team or your own.
Experts, or mentors, are indispensable. They are the pattern from which an apprentice is tasked to follow. The finished product is usually as good as the mentor, sometimes better. Here are some things you, as the mentor, can do to make sure your knowledge is not only passed down, but understood.
You Must Care About the Relationship
As with any relationship, there has to be a level of interest and care in the success of the bond. If a mother doesn’t love her child, she will be much less inclined to take care of the child’s needs and refuse to train him/her to be able to survive on their own.
She will also be much less likely to build a friendship with the child. Her son’s or daughter’s happiness will take a back seat to her own. The relation between a mentor and an apprentice is much the same. No matter what the job is, you must genuinely care about the process and ultimately about the apprentice, as well.
A mentor that genuinely cares will listen until the pupil feels they are understood. They will remain open-minded. Some of the best ideas in the world have their beginnings in an untrained mind. They will also be patient.
Even the most talented apprentice will make some very poor decisions along the way. They need a mentor that understands the need for room to mess up and that will help them correct the mistake, patiently.
Play Both Roles
Do you still remember how green you were in the beginning? Good. Don’t forget it. Your apprentice partially depends on you empathizing with them throughout this process. Also, one of the things you should have learned as a mentee is that you will never know everything.
It is your responsibility to keep learning everything you can. Your apprentice, many times, will be a great source of learning for you if you are humble enough to receive the lesson. In turn, you will be teaching your mentee that the learning process is perpetual.
Remaining modest enough to receive information and lessons in wisdom from any source will keep your apprentice continually evolving throughout his/her career and life.
Test Your Mentee’s Understanding
As your bond grows and the journey progresses through the path of the career you and your apprentice are involved with, there will be successes and failures on both parts. You will need to keep track and make adjustments along the way in order to make sure that the unique personality and learning curve of your mentee accommodates the influx of information you input.
As a mentor/mentee relationship does not end, this should be an ongoing process. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Are they taking in everything you are teaching and modeling? Do they understand what they are processing? Can they duplicate your success with said knowledge?
The mentor/apprentice relationship is vital to the success of any business. Take the time and pride in the process and you are bound to not only build a solid company, but solid friendships, as well.
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