Many of our ilk become inspired to give back to other men, to help alleviate the suffering that we ourselves, after much challenge and fight, have broken through. This is a natural urge, and we could say it’s the beginning of our living legacy.
One of our members, whom I’ve come to know well, recently asked me for recommendations for mentoring. How can he be a great mentor and pass his experience on — especially as his relationship is on fire, and everything all now makes sense?!
Here is my (public) response:
First, realise that mentoring and coaching are two related but different things. Each coaching modality brings its own particular principles and techniques, and you apply these in conversation with your client, whatever this client brings to the session. Mentoring doesn’t require specific principles or training: instead it is helping someone traverse terrain that you know first-hand. A leg-up, so to speak, from elder, boss or brother.
I wouldn’t advise you to reach out for coaching training unless you find a trainer you love, and are committed to that path. Coaching training is an endless rabbit-hole of models and approaches. I still take an apprenticeship each year or so to further my learning — which always gives me a hell of a lot to chew on a process — and I took my first training in 2008.
Mentoring, on the other hand, is far more accessible and can be learnt on the job. Yet it still depends on your way of being. Without a certain authority over, groundedness in, and experience of the terrain you’re there to discuss, the naturally-occurring hierarchy of mentor-to-student won’t arise in the space between you. That’s right: a true mentor relationship is a naturally-arising phenomena. People will take your guidance to heart the more you embody the spirit they seek for themselves.
Before you start mentoring, though, it’s important to ask: have you gone deep enough so you can be that presence for others? Or is there more you need to taste for yourself before you can turn back to the shire and proclaim your message for all to hear?
My recommendation to all Amorati who wish to offer themselves as a mentor is that they go back through the Essentials programme, being of service, of practice, and inquire into our timeless themes from a rather different perspective…
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> Are you designing your life in such a way that shapes you as a more inspirational mentor-figure?
> What beliefs and perspectives arise in you that has you keep your mentoring shy or suppressed? Where do you hold back?
> What does it mean to show up like a champion to the men you’re talking with? Are you willing to say what seems scary, or taboo, to say, for the sake of their learning?
> How deeply curious can you be about your student’s worlds? How far into their most intrinsic motivations — their fears, lost dreams, or existential angst — can you get?
> Can you properly dance in the moment with a student? i.e., if a student answers your question in a way you didn’t expect him to, can you adjust your conversation to meet the new moment… or are you stuck trying to get your old point across?!
> Do you make invitations into action or reflection with your mentoring? Or do you sometimes coerce, persuade or shame your students into “pushing forward” or “busting through”?
> Do you model unattachment to your student’s outcome for them, by being unattached to whether they get the transformation they say they desire? Or is your sense of self-worth tied up in them getting the result they say they want? In other words, can you maintain ease and delight better than they can, and teach them how to laugh at their tricky situations through your own light touch?
> How deeply can you celebrate your students? Can you see them in ways that no-one tends to acknowledge, and evoke their gifts by lavishing praise?
> Do you bring aliveness in the stories and teachings you share… can you tell a story in a way that has a student to feel what it is you want to transmit, rather than fill his head with information?
> Are you wise to the sub-communication in your students? Meaning, can you spot when they say they will do something, but really they won’t? Can you see the emotions they’re trying to hide from the world, and notice them with knowing-acceptance?
> Are you willing to lay down an appropriate challenge to someone when required, and hold them accountable to following through? Can you cut cleanly with your sword of truth, with words that will be in service of their growth? Just like with women, your masculine edge requires deep respect and attunement, otherwise it can feel violent.
> How authentic are you about your own path and current challenges? Can you invite a student into a deeper conversation through your own vulnerability and self-revealing?
> How deeply does your passion transmit while teaching and mentoring? Can your passion fill up a room — without getting messy or taking over?!
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In terms of “snakes in the grass” (aspects of our shadow and ulterior motives that are sometimes in play), ask yourself regularly: am I following these mentoring principles authentically… or am I doing them so I can just be the mentor. Some people get a kick out of the status, which is very different to guiding others from the heart. Then there are those who spontaneously start mentoring, not because they know where they’re going with what they’re saying, but because they can’t take the silence and need to fill that delicious space of anticipation… usually with clutter.
There you have it. Some guidelines to be a great mentor for the Essentials class, and to just be a valuable friend and member of this school.
If you’d like to receive mentoring from me directly, and submerge yourself into the 13 Principles of the Mastery course, then send in an application and we’ll consider you for the next round, which starts this month. In fact, if you’d like one day to be a mentor for the Essentials course, I urge you to step up to Mastery so you can build the nuance, intuition and edge that you’ll need for the job.
But beware. Mastery is far more than just doing Essentials again. Find out more here.
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