Professor Fondse and moi at my graduation.
Professor Fondse and moi at my graduation.


It’s the people you meet in life that change you and mentors can have a tremendous impact in your life. I asked one of my mentors at Calvin College, Professor Fondse to give me some hot tips to become an outstanding mentor. Here are some:
– listen carefully
– set aside immediate responses and allow the person on the other side of the table to be as forthcoming as is appropriate
– validate the issue being expressed
– ask probing questions
– when you recognise doubt or anxiety or insecurity, allow that to be expressed
– affirm the journey that the student is on
– allow ambiguity
– be available

My favourite tip is “allow ambiguity” because it’s not always the answers we seek when we speak our hearts to someone. Sometimes we just want to talk to someone. Nothing more. Sometimes we want to be lost so that we can be found later. So maybe just listening and allowing ambiguity, making room for discovery and surprise lets the speaker to discover something wonderful on the way.