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Questionnaire: Have You Got What it Takes to Be a Mentor?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 23 Jun 2021 | comments*Discuss
Mentor Skills Attitude Personality Young

Being a mentor is a position of great responsibility. Your role is to be a person to look up to, a person that motivates young people and a person that is able to encourage those children and young people that may not have any one else that is fighting their corner.

Consequently, being a mentor is not a position to be taken lightly. Before you apply for such a position, it is terribly important that you appreciate whether or not you are suited to the role as if you are not, you can end up making a potentially difficult situation worse. A child or young person that works with a mentor does not deserve to have an ineffectual or uncommitted mentor.

Look at the following three questions and pick which option best suits how you feel, then look at the answers to see if you’ve got what it takes to be a mentor.

Have You Got the Right Skills to be a Mentor?

  1. I have worked in a number of different jobs over the years – retail, middle management, hospitality – and I’m moving to a new city and saw a mentoring job I thought I’d apply for as another strong to my bow.
  2. I’ve worked as a learning support assistant for a number of years and have grown increasingly frustrated at how limited my role is in terms of helping young people outside of school.
  3. I have spent my entire career working with children and young people – volunteer work and paid work – and I also run my own business.

Have You Got the Right Character to be a Mentor?

  1. I am pretty patient and I’m always happy to show people how to do things my way.
  2. I’m quite out-going and really good at talking to different people appropriately.
  3. I’m a good listener, relaxed and totally non-judgemental.

Have You Got the Right Attitude to be a Mentor?

  1. I think young people need telling how things used to be – I was never bothered about texting and laptops when I was growing up.
  2. I am diligent and prepared, so I think that these will be helpful for young people that perhaps need a bit of direction.
  3. I just really want to make sure that every child has the opportunities and encouragement that will help them flourish into the adults they deserve to be.

What Do Your Answers Say About You?

If you answered mainly 1), it’s very unlikely that you are suited to being a mentor, both because the role is not right for your personality and because you will not be an effective mentor for the young people that need help and guidance. How about using your skills and experience in a different way – perhaps a small business advisor role is more suited to you.

If you answered mainly 2), you are not ideally suited to being a mentor and, as it is a very responsible, privileged role, you really need to work on a couple of aspects before you go applying for a mentor role. It would be a good idea for you to understand a bit more about yourself – what you have to offer young people and how you can encourage them to reach their potential. It’s not about getting your kicks by telling young people that are less advantaged than you how great you are.

If you answered mainly 3), you really are well suited to being a mentor. You appreciate that it is not a role for power-hungry types – it’s about giving back something in a way that doesn’t require gratitude. You’ll make a great mentor – go for it!

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Hi, I worked as a manager at the Boots Co for 30 years. In Aldershot, Nottingham and London. When the warehouse closed in the late 1990s I saw an advert for a teaching assistant in the local paper. I looked after a quadriplegic lad at Primary School for 4 years then moved across to the Infant School for several years. I was school governor for three years.I am the custodian of the National Archive of Anglican Chants. More info about meanglican-chant-archive.org I am married to major (retired) QRANC Midwiffery Tessa Kirk . I have two boys in their 30s.I would like to do more reading with children again. The lockdown has made me keen to get moving again for one day a week. Preferably in the Aldershot area. I am a freelance organist .Thanks for reading this article. I was given your link by another agency. Peter
The Chant Man - 23-Jun-21 @ 3:35 PM
roo - 27-Apr-18 @ 6:32 PM
Hi, Thankyou for the tips on what makes a good Learning Support Assistant. This is very helpful.
Blondie - 13-Jun-15 @ 11:46 AM
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