Regardless of deployment type, there are some common roles mentors play:
- Wizard - They help us see possibilities, solutions, and the potential for magic.
- Mine Sweeper - They guide us through treacherous landscapes, identifying pathways, pointing out threats.
- Diagnostician - They help us assess our strengths, our weaknesses, and our blindspots.
- Coach - They prescribe situations and learning opportunities that sharpen us, that improve our skills, that make us stronger.
- Cheerleader - They enthusiastically support us, and work to build similar support among others.
- Parent - They love us (despite our flaws) and defend us (despite our mistakes) and hold us accountable (despite the associated pain for both of us).
The cumulative effect is that we receive the right amounts of pressure and support to make us better, stronger, smarter, and wiser.
The obligation, of course, is that we pay it forward.