Most of us find it very difficult to evolve and improve ourselves, and this is mainly because we need someone to look at us with fresh, yet sharp, eyes. When we look around, we find a huge number of so-called life coaches and mentors in different disciplines such as NLP, auto-hypnosis, and an abundance of other programs. Unfortunately, while some of these mentors or gurus may be authentic, the vast majority are in it for the money. In this article, we will discuss the various criteria that a mentor should possess before apprenticing yourself to him/her. Finding a true mentor is rare, but once the seeker of wisdom is ready, the universe will place the right mentor (or sometimes mentors) on his path.
NOTE: This article deals more with choosing a more holistic mentor, and this is not to be confused with choosing a professional consultant.
#1: A mentor does not charge fees for his counsel but accepts gifts
As a general rule of thumb, when a guru or a mentor puts a price tag on his coaching, then it’s mainly a scam. True wisdom is freely given because the mentor knows that by sharing his wisdom, he will only be gaining more of it. I have seen mentors and gurus charging hundreds and even thousands of dollars for single sessions with them. In spirituality, this goes completely against every principle. On the other hand, it is the duty of the disciple to show gratitude to his mentor who will gracefully accept any kinds of gifts, be it financial or otherwise, as long as it is given with LOVE (see this article for more details). However, true mentors know that not all disciples can afford gifts, yet this is no reason to refuse their discipleship. While the universe will find appropriate ways to reward the mentor for his work, the mentor doesn’t really care about this. Enjoying the evolution of the disciple is tremendously rewarding for the mentor beyond any gift.
#2: A mentor builds trust with his disciples before anything else
A mentor knows that the road to wisdom and personal evolution is not easy, and many disciples can’t handle all the hardships which need to be endured on the way. Accordingly, the mentor knows that he may have to sometimes force his disciple to do things which are outside his nature, and maybe even difficult, in order to overcome certain fears, faults or shortcomings. If trust is not there, the student can easily give up and leave to go find another mentor. However, if there is enough trust and love between the mentor and the disciple, the latter will know that the former wouldn’t ask him to do something haphazard and that there is a very important lesson to be learned from the assigned task. This is why most mentors would require a promise of almost absolute obedience from their disciples as a test of faith.
#3: A mentor can discuss almost anything
While a mentor may have certain areas of expertise, he should have enough general knowledge about almost anything. When he doesn’t, he can admit it while making sure to research it later, for it may be an important anchor into the disciple’s spirit. Moreover, a mentor who has learned just one method and uses it with every disciple is not truly a mentor, but more of a teacher. Such a coach will not be able to work or succeed with all his students, but only with the limited number on whom the methodology can be applied. Such a person may be better employed as a professional consultant for he is only able to tackle his areas of expertise and not much more. On the other hand, a true mentor takes in the disciple globally, assesses his personality, strengths, weaknesses, fears, and faults and then devises an adaptable personalized plan for each disciple accordingly.
#4: A mentor sees a lesson in every experience
There is no need to create hypothetical situations or virtual scenarios to teach disciples needed lessons. The true mentor knows that life itself will provide the necessary opportunities to send a message to the disciple in the most efficient manner. Therefore, a mentor only prepares a general plan of work with his disciples and modifies it based on what is currently happening in the disciple’s life. Sometimes the mentor may use problems from his own life in order to send a message across. The mentor does not see the disciple as a client, but as an extension of himself through which the will of the universe is being executed. While a paid coach will not teach everything so that the student keeps coming back for more, a true mentor gives everything he has and more, wanting his disciple to become better than he is. In doing so, the mentor and the disciple evolve together and become even better conduits of the will of the universe.
#5: A mentor may refuse disciples indirectly
While a life coach or any type of consultant or trainer takes in almost all students since they are paying clients, a mentor only takes those whom he deems ready. When a disciple is not ready, the mentor will not tell him to go away per se; instead, he would set him on a seemingly impossible yet useful task. If the disciple accomplishes it, he becomes ready to be adopted by the mentor. On the other hand, if the disciple fails or abandons the given task, he will remove himself from the mentor’s tutelage and then either abandon the idea of finding a mentor altogether or goes looking for another mentor.
#6: A mentor finds and creates opportunities for his disciples
When a mentor accepts his disciple, he will employ all his network for the success, benefit and betterment of his disciple. While a coach simply points the direction, the mentor takes his disciple by the hand and provides him with the best opportunities at his disposal in order to make him better than he ever was.
#7: A mentor can be anyone
While coaches work on becoming famous and successful, a mentor is content with himself. He may or may not be famous, but in either case, it makes no difference when he chooses his disciples. Many mentors work from behind the scenes and are not authorities in any fields in particular; however, they all have one thing in common: practical wisdom. They may have the knowledge of various methods that can be used in different fields, but they rely more on intuition and a true connection with their disciples in order to help them perfect themselves as much as possible. Despite all their wisdom, mentors do not need to have perfect lives in the eyes of the world, yet their lives are perfect in their own eyes, for they provide ample opportunities to evolve, learn and teach. A mentor may be homeless, have trouble with his family, or be facing any other problems, yet that does not decrease his wisdom nor his power at all. In fact, it is through their utter humanity that true mentors can actually impart wisdom upon their disciples. While a coach shares his knowledge from his high horse, a real mentor does it through a genuine sharing of experience with his disciples.
Finally, anyone, from the most illiterate farmer to the most highly educated doctor, can be a true mentor provided he has practical wisdom shared through humility, can exercise empathy by being intimately connected with his disciples, and offers his counsel freely with LOVE while receiving their gratitude with similar LOVE.