Finding the Right Button
Everyone has a button that turns them on. The challenge is finding that button because the person may not even recognize this in themselves. You can’t really guide/motivate someone until you find their button.
One way to begin discovering the button is to describe your own pathway through college. This description should be one that focuses on who you are/what you value/what you want to accomplish. You should also focus on the moments of truth. How did you get over your self-doubts? When did you feel like you had a career focus you could be excited about? If you still have doubts, share those. How did you learn from negative experiences? How have they made you stronger? What you are doing here is to make yourself human in their eyes.
Next, have them start telling you their story. Listen for real doubts/concerns versus issues that are simply a reflection of a lack of discipline/focus/caring. At some point, ask them: “What makes you proud about yourself?” If they have no answer, ask: “How do you want to be defined by others?”
Summarize what they are telling you by saying: “Let me see if I understand. You are telling me that…” If there is agreement on this, then say: “Now how can I help you become that person?” You need to define very specific actions where you can help your advisee. Document this in the Senior Mentor/Advisee Contract (attached).
When the conversation is through, send a personal note to your advisee reinforcing your interest in helping him/her. You will want to review this note often as you engage with your advisee.
Senior Mentor/Advisee Contract
I would like to be known as a person who:
My senior mentor has agreed to help me become that person by the following specific actions: