One of the challenges of being a mentor is achieving that delicate balance between truly listening to your mentee (and supporting their agenda), while at the same time inspiring and encouraging them to think and plan long-term.
Err on the side of caution and taking cues from your mentee; after all, you never want to come off as “nagging” your mentee, and it’s important to prioritize the relationship. Making big changes - like going back to school - as an adult - can be emotionally and logistically complicated. When and if your mentee does decide to make a change, it’s important that you have built a strong relationship so that your mentee feels comfortable reaching out to you for support.
Nevertheless, you may be the only person in your mentee’s life who will encourage them to go back to school or pursue a career that truly interests them, so it’s important to bring up the topic at least a few times a year. You can broach the subject in a number of ways:
How is your job going?
What’s your boss like?
Are you interested in taking a class in_______?
Do you want to go to [volunteering or cultural event] with me?
Do you want to come to work with me?
You’re really good at __________. Can you see yourself working in _______ ?
Are you interested in meeting people who work in ___ [your mentee’s area of interest]?
I saw an ad for college the other day. Are you at all interested in taking a class?
iMentor sent me a text about college application deadlines coming up. Do you want me to try to find out more?
iMentor sent me a text about certificate programs. Are you interested in checking any out with me?
Do you see yourself at this job long-term? Do you want to talk about careers that might be interesting for you in the long-term?