An Ideal mentor- Criteria and Caution

It is essential now a day to have a resourceful person as our mentor to guide us on the right track.  Modern day’s challenges are different than in the past and increasing day by day reducing parent’s interaction with children creating a vacuum that is a perfect breeding ground for deviations, failures, depression, confusions and lifelong disasters in a few cases. Add to that changes are very rapid in every walk of life.

To fill this vacuum many initiatives are in place. Motivational speakers, Counselors, Tutors, Life coach, Career guidance to name a few. They are doing a good job. It is an absolute necessity of modern times to have a mentor. Most of the successful persons across different field have counselors and psychologists at various stages. For e.g. Sports Psychologists. They help sustain pressure and demanding situations. Having said this there are many as in other trades to misguide and make wrong use of the situation.

When we are spending money on this, the primary aim should be to get the desired benefits out of such initiatives. Hence the primary goal should be selecting the right person as our mentor. There are many with colorful blogs, testimonials and claims. Basically they are good presenters but lack in basic qualities. Hence ideally, our mentor should be that person who is there where we want to be or where our mentor says we should belong to. Otherwise the claims are false. A swimming coach can’t coach sprint athletes. A tennis coach can’t be a cricket coach. It is as simple as that.

Hence verifying the claims and selecting the right resourceful person should be the first step. We should use little analytical thinking, don’t select and spend blindly. Analyzing a claim/statement helps a lot in life. Scams are rampant because we don’t analyze when someone says something whether it is right or wrong, true or false. If we want to climb Mount Everest and someone comes forward saying he will lead us reach the summit we should ‘cross check’ whether that person ever scaled Mount Everest. .If not he is not the person we are looking for our purpose.

What is the job of a mentor in real terms? He will be the one who monitor the ‘net practice’, observe the every single minute error, comes up with rectification steps, set the basics right  and prepare the trainee to excel in the field. For that to happen he must have an in depth understanding in the domain. Quality of the mentor is a crucial ingredient in getting the desired outcome.

To understand how a person with psychological background analyzes a situation, let me explain through a scene from my NLP seminar.  .Just to check on my students and their progress I asked a question related to the current covid 19 outbreak. The question was what killed so many people across Globe. Fresher’s answered me it is Covid 19 virus where as those trained before came up with different answers. One among them was outstanding in his analysis .He said it is “the speed mankind achieved over the years killed us rather the virus alone”! He could analyze very logically considering the rate of spread and what happened after county wise, location wise quarantine. Such logical thinkers will become successful in life .Such analyzing ability comes from psychological training and reading.

In this article I would like to discuss only ordinary and individual level approach to importance of psychological training and available options, which is NLP, Psychology and counseling. In short and simple language, psychology says we are the product of our heredity and environment. Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) counters this claim saying once we understand the drawbacks of our heredity and environment; it is “our responsibility to fix the shortcomings”. We can’t be the prisoner of something saying it is not in our control.NLP talks about initiatives and taking action and come out with rectifying actions and techniques. It is a short subject compared to psychology. Those who can’t study psychology can go with NLP which is equally beneficial and a short form of psychology itself. Since it is short makes it interesting to study. It increases analytical and problem solving abilities to a great extent which is a primary requirement at professional front.

Before finalizing on the mentor we need to understand the purpose and area of desired changes we want for our self. Once this is done we should decide who will become our mentor, whether a counselor, a life coach (NLP / psychological trainer, motivational speaker.

 The important points to be noted when we select a coach/mentor are

  1. .Academic qualifications of the mentor
  2. Professional success; a person with different job experience reaching the top of the ladder grown from bottom rather from a monotonous work environment.
  3.  Habits / hobbies of the mentor, like traveling reading writing creativity etc.
  4. Age and exposure to life events, hardships encountered.
  5. Professional multicultural exposure is a huge plus point.
  6.  A rational thinker, a good observer, religiously unbiased and a genuine leader.

There are many individuals now claiming to be in the business. A few are very young and have ‘educational qualifications’ to talk but without any working and life experience. Good public presenters but lack in other important qualities. A few of them have blogs mentioning the testimonials. Most of the testimonials are not the true representation of the ability of the person. In a few cases the people on the testimonial list don’t even aware of it or may not exist at all. Generally no one cross verify before selecting a mentor. As we aware like any other field educational field also contaminated.

Titles give us capacity and very basic knowledge. What give us command/authority are one’s own success and experience as well as maturity gained through hardships facing life events. For Eg; – Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar will be in a better position to explain struggles made in film industry to reach the top from absolute ground zero, not Abhishek Bachchan or other star kids. One needs to earn the right to be a leader/mentor. As we all know that a pilot who had not gone past the troubled skies will be less competent as a pilot, even though he is a licensed pilot. Safety of his passenger’s will be at risk during critical moments. Similarly a mentor who hasn’t faced/tested in the troubled waters will be less impactful on sharing the views. Similarly a person who is doing a monotonous job for years without facing the change or someone who is entering the trade directly from the university will not be effective in explaining bracing the changes in professional/personal life.

Most people think that educational titles succeed in life. Institutional learning to succeed we need better cognitive skills .Then only we can succeed in critical decision making moments. it is these skills that makes the difference between an average, good and outstanding employee which is a ongoing selection criteria for any job since there are countless candidates If your analytical and problem solving abilities are not checked by your employer during the interview then you are not at the right place.

Innovation and creativity is key to success. How to modify programmes away from text books and make those works under real life situation is also a skill needed for a mentor to guide the aspirants properly keeping the basic concept intact. It is an art .We all know what we study in school and practice at work environment is not in congruent. Schooling is to provide us rational ability rather grades. Sadly this is forgotten and hence we are paying dearly in life. Degrees/schooling doesn’t test and uncover our potential rather test their agenda of scoring. Go to college, finish degree and get a job mantra is not going to work anymore. It is already outdated. That’s why there is huge unemployment.

NLP/psychology/counseling helps to understand and solve critical, pressurizing situations from different angle altogether. Our success rests on the quality of mentor we select.

Most of us fail to connect to the basic education, needs at employment, right thoughts, our potential and drawback at right age and time. When we realize it is late and suffering will become a part of our life by then. Only when the college ends we see the struggle and realize what we missed when studying. It is because we fail to notice others graph of ascend or descend and learn from it in time. Few months of unemployment and empty pocket leads to depression. Guidance from a resourceful person can override all these shortcomings effectively if we reach him on time. Behind every reason, why there is no job, loss of job, no salary, no increments, fear to change the job and preferring to lead a monotonous life lies only one answer, our inability to take action. What we do with our inability and when decides our success and failure. A confident person who has prepared well does not complaint about anything because he knows what he has. Nothing can stop him easily. He will succeed in creating a path for himself.

The delayed decisions today are a reason for worry tomorrow not the situations. Don’t look for easy life when young. Develop the capacity to take decision ahead of time for a better tomorrow. Spend a little money to get rid off your drawbacks. Keep learning and concentrate on self improvement in the initial years along with graduation so that when you finish and come out you are confident and prepared. Understand that in  the 8 hours job we do at least half of the time we spend over connecting people, maintaining relationships ,talking to superiors , presenting to clients etc that test our cognitive abilities, skills to impact someone  rather technical skills alone. 

Those who study cognitive skills will be better prepared over others in any life situation. Always remember mental strength and fitness is vital parameter for our success.

To get selected and perform we have to get the chance first. That rests on us how well we are prepared to face testing times .To survive and succeed, we need to keep evolving. Be prepared for a better tomorrow.

By Vincent D’sa. Pangala Parish,Shankerpura.

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