Love and Fear: Struggles Involved in Mentorship Mentor's job is to help the mentee unleash hidden potential which in turn benefits others

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A mentor's role is extremely rewarding as we can influence the lives of the mentees who in turn influence the lives of others. Mentors have extraordinary influence over mentees so it is important that this is not abused. That foundation of this relationship is by building deep interest, knowledge and care which is like love. And often this turns to fear because of control over the relationship.

Unleash the Latent Potential

Mentor's job is to help the mentee unleash hidden potential which in turn benefits others. Often the fear keeps the mentee from expressing their fullest potential and this is where the mentor unleashes that potential with love.

In some cases, fear gets results however in the long run it does not. As people get demoralised and that leads to poor outcome, therefore it is important to balance love and fear. As one is free flow and the other is restricted, in an event of an overdose of either it can lead to fatalities.

It must be stressed that love here is neither romantic nor affection it is an emotion which entangles into hope, curiosity, trust, delight and possibly anger to release the unknown potential of the mentee. By doing this, mentors create a stage where the mentee shall blossom to their fullest potential.

Pressure Breaking Point

Some mentors believe when the mentee is under pressure they will outperform, this is a myth. This is like the water pressure in a pipe as the pressure increases the output increases to a certain point and then the pipe itself bursts likewise the mentor needs to understand this practical example before applying pressure.

It is often believed that only mentees that are unhappy, worried or dissatisfied need to be motivated and the happy, not worried and satisfied mentees are neglected by the mentor to motivate them. Many mentees fall into this state therefore it is necessary for mentor to constantly motivate the mentees irrespective of their state of mind, position and the category they fall under.

Mentors should always make the mentees feel fearless in their decisions even when the mentors are not in agreement as this improves mentee's decision-making skills. This is where mentor must not bring his fear into the picture as this can be detrimental to the mentee. This can only be achieved if the mentor as the same agenda as the mentee.

Often mentors have no emotion and speak to mentees based on data and this can be most ineffective. As both mentors and mentees are humans and they have feelings associated and hence it not appropriate to be emotionless which will create fear in the relationship. Mentors need to break these barriers to be effective to the mentoring process.

Drive TO Derive The Solution

When a mentor finds something extraordinary and the mentee does not follow, it often can be frustrating and lead to anger. This anger is a subject of fear, fear of the mentee rejecting the mentor however if the mentor finds ways to change this fear to love the mentee would find ways to understand. It must be noted that learning takes place within one self and mentors cannot change this and must not fear this.

How can a mentor do this? The way the mentor presents information and suggestion is the way to go, the mentor needs to understand that each mentee is different and hence mentors cannot apply text book methods. It is possible that mentors are not able to help mentees arrive at a solution at times, it is important for mentors to understand that mentors are not solution providers, mentors only guide and help mentees to make decisions.

Mentors should not fear and impose the must or should be assumptions that are preconceived in the mentor's mind to make mentoring work. Mentors need to free themselves from these assumptions to give the mentee a free flow of thought and allow them to make decisions.

On the flip side there are mentees who expect mentors to tell them what is must or should be and this is NOT mentoring. This might make the mentor feel great but that is not what a mentor should be striving for(to feel good) as this does not benefit neither the mentor nor the mentee. The objective of mentoring is to help the mentee think, synthesis and apply to maximise the mentee potential.

When both mentors and mentees step away from must or should be this way both get back to being more independent and creative which will produce better outcomes from mentoring.

Changing and adapting can be painful but if taken in the right mind it can be fun and productive for both the mentor and mentee. The pain is a result of fear and this can be reduced with humour injected in the mentoring process.

Negative feedback helps provide useful information however done too often can create anxiety which can lead to fear and bring about negative outcome.

Mentors should create an atmosphere of joy for the mentees to be able to learn and apply to enhance their ideas. By doing this the mentor removes the fear and replaces it with love which will help the mentees go forward.

Mentors need to help mentees deal with the discomfort and adjust to live in the world of uncertainties. It is essential that mentors encourage and make mentees feel they are doing well but mentors must ensure that mentee are grounded to ensure there is no false expectations.

In conclusion the mentor should show love to remove fear.

Muthu Singaram and Prathistha Jain

CEO, IIT Madras HTIC Incubator and Director at Vibazone Private Limited

Muthu Singaram is the CEO of IIT Madras HTIC Incubator. And, Prathistha Jain is the Director at Vibazone Pvt. Ltd. 

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