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A call for mentors

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. David Yarborough
  • 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant
Let's face it. Most of us wouldn't be in the position that we currently are if it weren't for someone encouraging, setting an example, and taking us under their wing. At some point in our careers, a sergeant, Airman, officer or civilian was that vital links that made the wheel turn.

That vital link that I'm referring to is a mentor. Mentors have always been essential to the growth and development of every Airman.

After reading this article, you will know a meaning of mentoring, the qualities of a good mentor, and the end result of effective mentoring. Hopefully, you will say to yourself, "This sergeant really helped me during that period of my life." Or, "I would've never made technical sergeant if it weren't for Chief." Those thoughts may go through your mind, but still, mentoring is more than that.

Mentoring refers to a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person helps a less experienced person, referred to as a protégé.

Please don't get mentoring mixed up with coaching or instructing. Coaching deals with helping you build skills in a particular sports or discipline. Instructing deals with passing one's knowledge to another. Although they are similar in some way, mentoring is different in several ways. A mentor on the other hand would concentrate on issues pertaining to career and life.

True mentoring goes beyond the workplace, school, etc. It's not just helping a person become a better worker, student and athlete. It is helping someone become a better person. An effective mentor is a special person who truly cares about his or her mentee.
Good mentors process many qualities, but I will highlight three of them.

The first one is enthusiasm. It must be in your heart to do it. There must be some value in it for you as well as the individual you are mentoring or it will become a chore.
Another quality is experience. You have already achieved or succeeded in a particular area and now you want to help your mentee file their squares to reach their goals in work and life in general .

Patience is the key, because you can't help somebody become another you. You can only help them become a better them. It sounds weird, but it's true.

Finally, you must be committed to your mentee as well as yourself. It will often take time, a zillion questions, and some Tylenol to help your mentee grow into their total life. Being committed is especially important while deployed because of the fast paced environment. There are many other qualities of a good mentor, but enthusiasm, experience, and commitment are a great start.

The result of good mentoring cannot only be measured in numbers and statistics in the workplace. You will have individuals who feel cared about beyond the front gate of a military installation. A mentee will have the confidence in knowing somebody is truly looking out for them. Relationships are developed through proper mentoring and as a result the workplace is less stressful. Others will want to be involved because of the positive example that was set. The positive results of good mentoring are endless.
In this article, I gave you the definition of mentoring, qualities of a good mentor and end results of good mentoring.

The United States Air Force is in need of good mentors who will develop the total Airman. As a first sergeant, my primary job is to take care of the Airmen. If you really think about it, that's everybody's job.

WANTED: Mentors