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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Buckley

Guiding the talent of the future: How to mentor a young person.


Mentoring is the most transformative relationship you can use to engage young people.

Think about it.

Your parents were your first mentors.

They were the ones who would guide you, protect you, and equip you with the tools you need to navigate life.

It’s no different when it comes to mentoring students.

Provide them with guidance, support and opportunities and watch their life change.

A mentor should never try to impose their will. Instead, their aim should be to impart useful and actionable knowledge.

The aim is to inspire, encourage and empower the younger generation. You want them to look within so they foster the power to transcend boundaries and break norms.

Understanding The Role

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the role a mentor plays in a young person’s life.

A good mentor must first start by building a strong relationship with their mentee.

They should aim to create an environment where young people are comfortable sharing their thoughts.

Without a safe environment, students won’t open up. They’ll feel too afraid to discuss the problems, obstacles and challenges they face in their lives.

Once you create an environment that builds trust you then move on to setting goals and objectives. It’s your job to help these young people reach their full potential.

You want to establish goals that challenge your young person to become the best they can be.

You want to make them hard to reach but still attainable.

Your role as a mentor is to be a guide and a role model to the young people you come into contact with.

So you have to:

  • Lead by example,

  • Display positive behaviour

  • Share experiences to inspire them

Kids are like sponges.

You want to feed them with information they can use in everyday life.

The aim is to expand their perspective of what they deem possible.

This way they can turn their dreams into reality.

Strategy Building

No matter what goals you want to achieve in life, you need a way of achieving them.

You need to identify a route to get from point A to point B.

Do you know what you call this? Strategy.

You might only hear the word strategy used in business or sports.

But strategy is also useful when it comes to mentoring young people.

Objectives and goal setting are the first step in the creation of a strategy.

You need to be able to outline what a young person seeks to accomplish and the steps they need to take.

No plan is ever smooth sailing. So you need to prepare yourself for setbacks.

You need to be able to create a place where young people can express themselves without any form of backlash.

No matter whether you’re an adult or a child, when you embark on a journey you will need all the support you can get.

Failure is inevitable.

But it’s how you get your young person back on track that matters.

After a while, you might need to adjust your strategy.

Take time to review and assess it at various intervals and make the necessary changes along the way.

Like Mike Tyson said; ‘Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.’

Navigating Challenges

No matter what you do you’re going to face challenges.

And with any challenge, you’re going to need patience and resilience to help you through.

But the most difficult thing a mentor will face is building trust with young people.

They’re not going to trust you straight away.

It takes time, patience and dedication. You have to be true in both your words and actions otherwise things could fall apart.

Children who engage with mentors have been through a lot in life, and they won’t give up their trust with ease.

Another challenge you might face is diversity.

Young people come from different backgrounds so you have to be able to adapt to every one of them.

We live in a society rich with diverse cultures and perspectives.

It’s these differences that influence how young people view the world.

It’s your job as a mentor to educate yourself on the different cultures that exist.

And with different cultures come different challenges.

If you want to create an environment where children can thrive, then these are the things you need to learn to navigate.

The Key To An Effective Session

Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. For some communication is easy, while others thrive in areas with a more creative touch.

However, mentors need to be strong in a few areas.

The premise of mentoring is built on the creation of a path. A route to follow to get from one place to another.

And organisation is the secret sauce in paving the way.

Good sessions are created in advance.

They focus on one clear agenda so it doesn’t get overwhelming or too difficult.

Another pivotal aspect of mentoring is the ability to give constructive feedback.

Nobody likes to hear they're wrong.

But, constructive feedback is the key to progression and growth.

But be warned, criticism without actionable feedback will fall on deaf ears.

The final thing you need to do as a mentor is introduce young people to new world views and perspectives.

Not a lot of people question the beliefs they have and are unwilling to change them.

But for a young person to grow out of their old habits and adopt new ones they need to see the world in a new light.

Expand their horizons.

Test their beliefs.

Expose them to novel worldviews.

Your job isn’t to eradicate their negative beliefs but to get them thinking about why they believe them in the first place.

If you want to break past stereotypes and help young people thrive, this is what you need to do.

Tools and Resources

Knowledge is power.

The more you know the more you grow.

And the more you learn the more you earn.

Education is a key factor in a young person's growth.

Mentors should expose their young person to as many educational resources as possible. These can range from books, and articles to online resources.

You need your mentee to start acting like the person they want to become, not the person they are at this moment.

Networking is another tool you can use to expand a young person's perspective. You need to help them see life from a different angle, and networking is a great way to do this.

It opens up a whole range of opportunities. It allows young people to see and speak to people in the careers they want to pursue.

Hearing and listening to professionals will play a massive part in a young person's life.

Once young people can see that their goal is attainable, it will manifest as belief in their mind.

You know how the old saying goes, if you can dream it you can achieve it.


Mentoring young people is a privilege.

It’s both a rewarding and impactful experience, but you can’t take it for granted.

Mentors need to be a positive influence in a young person's life.

It’s their job to guide them toward a brighter future.

We urge people to embrace their role.

Approach it with dedication, compassion and a genuine desire to see young people do well in life.

Your role as a mentor might help shape the next generation of leaders.

But without the proper approach, your efforts could fall on deaf ears.

Whatever you do, follow the correct practices.

But above all, never forget you have somebody else life in your hands.

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