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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Buckley

A Day In The Life Of A Youth Mentor.


Intro

You might think mentoring is only about guiding students in their day-to-day lives.


But to us, mentoring is about how you help to shape the future of a young person in need of help.


It’s about:

  • breaking barriers

  • instilling confidence

  • going beyond their norm


In this blog, we’re going to dive into what a typical day of mentoring looks like. We'll also share some insights on how you should go about empowering your mentees.


The journey begins

A typical day of mentoring looks like this:

  • A series of 45-minute to 60-minute sessions

  • Help your young person uncover their fears and problems

  • Identify their hopes, dreams and aspirations in life

Depending on the organisation timeframes may differ, but the premise remains the same.


Each session caters to a specific individual. Always start by setting clear objectives for what you want the session to achieve.


Imagine cooking food without a recipe. If you don’t know what you’re doing then disaster is sure to strike.


You need to ensure you are taking a meticulous approach so you can get the best out of your mentees.


Mentoring to us is about outcomes.


How do you transform a struggling child, into a child who is optimistic about their future?


Two ears, one mouth

Listening is an art.


Matter of fact, is an underrated skill, that mentors forget to utilise.


A lot of you may go into sessions to impose your will on students.


But don't forget that the whole premise of mentoring is to listen, understand and then take action.


It’s not about you. It’s about them.


Listening helps to ease the nerves of young people and builds trust in the process.


How are you going to get to the root cause of a young person's problem if you don’t take the time to listen?


You might think you know what’s best for young people, but oftentimes they know what's best for themselves.


All they need is a helping hand.


At the end of the day, it’s their future, not yours.


All you’re doing is helping them figure out how best to bring their future to fruition.


Guided Reflection

Not a lot of people take the time to understand their thoughts.


The amount of things you’re bombarded with daily is ridiculous.


So you don't get much chance to sit with your thoughts.


Imagine being a young person faced with the pressures of social media and life.


It can get tough.


Encourage young people to:

  • explore how they feel,

  • share their experiences

  • uncover the behaviours holding them back.

Once you do this you can identify the best course of action to take.


Self-reflection might sound arbitrary, but it’s far from it.


In reality, it's the first step to solving a problem.


If you don’t take the time to reflect and understand your thoughts how can you even begin to solve them?


Teaching your mentee to reflect on their life plays a big part in your role as a mentor.


It could be a make or break in the things you’re trying to achieve.


Make sure you prioritise it.


Bullseye

What’s the point in goals if you don’t know if you’ve hit them?


Too many people shoot but don’t score.


In our opinion, it’s wasted energy.


A sense of tangible progress gives young people a sense of accomplishment.


It allows them to look back and see the progress they’ve made which instills this sense of inner belief.


Setting goals is great.


Start by figuring out what success looks like. Move on to creating a plan of action to execute every day. Finish off by explaining to your mentee how you're going to measure their progress.


Achieving goals isn't a straightforward task.


But progress counts no matter how small.


It's the small gains that build confidence and transform lives.


Putting in the reps

You’ve heard the phrase practice makes perfect.


Well, it doesn't. Practice makes permanent.


Learning what to do is great. But learning how to do it is even better.


There’s no point in theory if young people don’t test what they’ve learned in the real world.


End each session with homework or action plans. This way mentees will be able to put what they've learnt into practice and give you their feedback.


The process builds continuity in what you’re doing. It also builds a sense of personal development and confidence within your mentee.


There’s no better way to learn.


This way they’re able to gain real-time feedback and see that the things you teach them can help them to become the person they dream of.


It takes a village to raise a child

Humans are complex characters.


There’s a reason family and friends are so important when it comes to raising children.


It’s impossible to raise them on your own. It’s why as an adult you lean on those you trust to help instill strong moral principles into your kids.


And there’s no difference when it comes to mentoring.


Outside of sessions teachers and staff play a pivotal role in the development of children which is why you need to involve them in everything you do.


You could conduct morning sitdowns with teaching staff where your aim should be to gain necessary insight and feedback into young people's progression in lessons.


Morning catchups set the tone for the day.


It allows you to collaborate with staff and learn from one another in case you need to adjust the way you approach certain mentees.


Your primary goal is improving and progressing the young people you mentor.


Teachers are your eyes and ears.


There’s only so much you can uncover during our sessions, but with the help of staff, you can get a big-picture view of the situation.


And from this, you can brainstorm how best to move forward.


You're not the hero, they are

Throughout the entire mentoring process the aim is to transform young people into self-sufficient, capable human beings.


The world can be a daunting place.


You know firsthand the challenges young people are going to face and it’s your job to help them build the character to overcome them.


You want to provide them with the tools and resources they’re going to need to overcome the things life throws at them.


Once a student begins to make steps toward independence your focus should shift from being problem solvers to guides.


You want students to become autonomous.


You want them to have the confidence to face problems head-on.


At this point, you know the work you’ve been doing in sessions is paying off.


The moment toddlers learn how to use their limbs they become an unstoppable force.


The same goes for your young people.


The moment they grasp the lessons they’ve been taught and begin to apply them to their everyday lives is the moment we loosen the reigns.


We don’t want them to rely on us.


We want them to learn and apply.


This is the only way they’ll be able to bring their dreams to fruition.


Conclusion

No two days are ever the same.


They’re full of new challenges and new obstacles you need to overcome.


Well, the same goes for mentoring. A typical day of mentoring is a dynamic purpose-driven journey of discovery.


Every session you conduct is an opportunity to help students realise their true potential and overcome the odds that are stacked against them.


Each day presents them with a chance to grow whether that be in their personal or academic lives.


It’s going to take more than a 1-hour session to get students on the right path, but it's where the journey begins.


Outside of sessions is where the real work starts.


So even though your sessions give them the tools they need, the real work is done once they leave and venture into the world.


But by taking this approach, you can be confident in knowing that you are helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow.






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