What Mentors can Learn from Mothers

May 8, 2014

Mother's Day, which occurs this Sunday, helps remind us of the amazing bond between mother and child. Like mothering, mentorship also relies on a relatioship between two individuals in order to be successful. In the spirit of the holiday, here are a number of characteristics of mothering that can be applied to the mentoring. 

1  A mother supports her children's dreams. 

Similiar to how a mother supports a child, a mentor should support his or her protégé's goals and dreams. At the start of every mentoring relationship, it is essential that the mentoring pair discuss what they hope to accomplish through mentoring. Once these aims are agreed upon orally or in writing, it should be the mentor's goal to do as much as possible to ensure that the mentee has a good chance of accomplishing these aspirations. Like a mother, the mentor needs to help and assist the protégé, nudging them towards eventual success. 


2 A mother will help her child learn from mistakes. 

It is almost inevitable that a protégé hits a roadblock from time to time. Maybe they fail to meet a deadline, or complete a task incorrectly. Like a mother, a mentor should treat the mistakes of the protégé not as failings but as learning opportunities. A good mentor can turn a mistake into a discussion on why the failure occured, and then how to not make the same error again. 


3 Mother's still care about their children long after they have left the nest.

There comes a moment for every mother when it is time for her children to become adults. Similiarly, after a period of time, a protégé must depart from the mentoring relationship. However, just like a mother, mentors don't have to become uninvolved with a protégé simply because the mentoring relationship has run its course. Mentor's can continue providing advice, keeping in contact, and even assisting their protégé with networking. Even though the official mentoring relationship may have come to an end, the personal relationship can continue long after.