Transformational Mentorship: Discovering What Makes Life Work
It is common to hear an older person say, “If only I knew then what I know now.” This understanding of advancing wisdom can help to induce a societal sense of unified accomplishment and belonging, if shared graciously with others. This objective, known as “transformation mentoring,” is required to provide youth, young leaders and sustainers with a matrix of balanced development. Everyone stumbles, which is why it is important to get up, knock off the dust, learn something from the fall, drive on and share productive experiences. This process of interconnectedness holds no secrets, but it does require wise approaches to comprehension and the ability to make fruitful choices.
No matter what areas of life one seeks to advance and be of value in, all are rooted in the baseline purpose of this article. It is relatively easy to achieve personal greatness and to be remarkable in the workforce. However, it is imperative to have balance. This is the ongoing challenge. By orienting one’s focus in five key areas – individual performance, family oneness, continuous education, organizational impact and community contribution – a person can ensure long-term sustainment and balance in holistic completeness.
The beauty of transformational mentoring lies in its “call to action:” 1.) to introduce early, 2.) to reinforce often and 3.) to nurture quantifiable maturity. By doing so, society can reduce many ills that plague youth and family, restrict organizational prosperity and disrupt the collective community effort of empowerment. Transformational mentors “show the way” while allowing the mentee to observe their strengths and strive for life-long improvements. Transformational mentors groom others in the essential skills of training, leading, sustaining and then, eventually, mentoring others.
This article explores lessens imparted by mothers and other family members, strangers, Boy Scout leaders and the brave men of the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets). The latter includes peers, trainers, leaders and mentors alike. It includes those who travel far; sip with the Kings, Crown Princes and Amir’s; settle in the poorest of areas to organize and rebuild, and require little but give a lot. These exceptional people have taught the value of operational skills. And their display of professionalism and devotion to duty has played a vital role in producing the umbrella of noted experience below.
A Common Set of Core Beliefs
Transformational mentors turn the pages with a common belief that they must make a difference in the lives of young people each day. This not only includes leading and mentoring through oral presentation but also by showing how mentors play an instrumental role in the lives of others. This is accomplished by being relationship oriented, which is possible through an understanding of the specific goals or competencies required for creating meaningful relationships.
When applied through a developing process, this relationship focus filters into areas like self-confidence and self-perception, family closeness, social stability, work-life balance and character enhancement, as well as desire to give back. Transformational mentors tend to understand something the mentee may not comprehend at a particular moment in time. However, as sure as the sun rises and sets, the mentee will graduate into becoming a leader and mentor. This is why it is crucial to dissect, understand and share the experience.
The time-tested components of transformational mentorship are centered on a culture of training (in some form), advising and achieving in a way that promotes the conception of sacrifice so others can inhale the securities of completeness. However, in order to be future-focused and a guide, below are three key goals to support such improvements:
- Build knowledge, life skills and unquestionable abilities through assiduous education and training. This can be accomplished through an established organization or independent studies, asynchronous or synchronous;
- Sustain through relentless submission to learning and seeking opportunities verses waiting for a break. This includes applying skills through constructive activities and willingness to aid others.
- Enhance performance through fearless application of overcoming obstacles and putting a greater cause above self-gratification in all affairs.
Each person should explore a cost-to-benefit factor for greater understanding because this can fuel the fire when voices whisper acceptance of the current status quo, encourage mischief or belie defeat. With that in mind, transformational mentors work to infuse others with the motivation and skill-set to fulfill an existing dream or to begin one. They prepare the way by teaching critical thinking and movement through preparation, incubation, illumination and implementation. Transformational mentors believe good is encompassed within each person, and they work to ensure it manifests into prominence.
Examining transformational mentors is similar to examining great trainers, coaches, activists, healers and leaders, then looking at how knowledge is imparted for meaningful deeds. One characteristic of such people is their ability to be future-focused in which an established purpose is understood with clear goals and expected outcomes. Within this process, transformational mentors guide others to achieve greatness and, in doing so, they build individual operational skills along the way. Another quality is their level of commitment. These great influencers actively connect with mentees and have established times to mentor. Their commitment to grooming others is part of their personal strategy for success. Despite changing conditions, commitment is at the center of action, and trust forms the basis for a clearly bounded close, but not coercive, relationship.
Expectations compliment the agenda and allow participants to set the bar, raise the bar and be positive in all dealings. This process reinforces ideas of measurable progress and goal attainment, and can be monitored and accomplished through structured assessments. Character development deepens and discipline becomes evident. The process begins with a desire to arrive at a point different from what the current path projects. The sun is in motion, and the trail is clear as the transformational mentor stays awake, sharpens his skills and takes care of his/her precious load.
A Commitment to Becoming Whole
Such a process demands that individuals go beyond the textbook and computer to explore the limits of their operational capabilities and to uncover their passion. This environment is based on providing instruction rooted in relevant research, preparation and practical experience. But, this must be applicable to daily life.
In order “to become,” one must be in the business of doing. With this thought in mind, transformational mentors must identify what they must be doing if they and their mentees are going “to become.”
Now, more than ever, action is necessary to foster a deeper connection to young minds and the operational environments they are associated with. This action must set direction through empowerment while working side-by-side to guide. It must address young people’s concerns and facilitate their motion, and it must foresee a future of prosperity together. Transformation must be about the business of fulfilling this identified need from the bottom up, beginning at the individual level.
Participants must be passionate about awakening young students and aspiring leaders to their often-overlooked purpose and embracing the power of positive relationships. This must be accomplished through constructive exposure to noble principles as this enables growth. Below is a further list of “musts” in order for transformation to be realized:
- Be an idealist who tells the stories that need telling in order to plan, guide and motivate others to change things that need changing. Sitting at tables and designing plans sets the tone for a clear vision.
- Be mindful to include under-resourced individuals (especially students, teachers and trainers) as well as reaching out to and engaging parents in a reassuring way that their children will succeed. Being all-inclusive at operational levels equates to formulating and accepting a cohesive effort.
- Be the ones to patrol the halls of darkness and uplift people from negative places in their lives so they can see the positive attributes of their potential, thus allowing them to become more than what they currently see in themselves. Pursing this mission equates to exhibiting compassion.
- Be a voice of clarity in this new, multi-cultural, multi-generational business arena that transforms how society views traditions, social contact, philosophies of team building and earnings. By definition this promotes diversity.
- Be a business professional gifted in the art of communication and armed with ancient working tools that, when applied allegorically, help others to maximize the abundance of potential encircling their lives. In short, this exemplifies character building.
- Be committed to providing meaningful tools to create a community culture that is supportive, welcoming and encompassing of ideas. By joining hands and reinforcing caring hearts, this facilitates a shared profit.
- Be not only the heart but also the backbone of the home, schools, community and business world. All must give extra without the expectation of reward or recognition for self. By default, this demonstrates leadership and mentorship.
When the day is done, those who buy into this way of life must be able to manage stress, mitigate risk and gain strength to produce even more tomorrow, for the world is restless and demands much. If we are “to become,” we must “be.”
A Community of Interconnectedness
In order to be successful, transformational mentors must stay connected to a source of refueling. They must further their education on a moral level and challenge themselves in ways that touch, heal and inspire those they meet (directly and indirectly). Those on this path know their perpetual journey will be met with incredible vicissitudes because, at times, life can be a lonely road to walk.
Therefore, each person must have his/her own mentor to help during the high and low points, and to inspire and strengthen. As this two-way relationship unfolds, neither will dismiss the doubts but will, instead, help each other grapple with them while demanding accountability when the road twists and turns, and seems to veer off the righteous path.
Navigating through life can be challenging at times. It can be difficult to know the way forward or to understand the work-politics or unpublished way to advance. This is why finding a transformational mentor is so essential. Seek out someone who has been there. Connect with someone who can give honest feedback, impart warnings about what not to do, provide valuable connections and give advice about how best to move ahead. Perhaps most importantly, a transformational mentor relationship is one of trust and friendship despite good or bad times. Remember that a person’s education is not complete until he or she dies. Therefore, seek a transformational mentor who can help increase knowledge and capabilities throughout life. Likewise, be an active transformational mentor for others so we can focus on the plan, move with a sense of urgency and deliver with passion.