THE THIN LINE BETWEEN A MENTOR AND A TORMENTOR

An old John Grisham novel talks of a legendary coach in a small university on his deathbed.A large numbers of the players whom he has coached over the years have assembled in the town.Among them,there is a famous player who had walked out on the coach after a spat and never contacted the coach thereafter.He is there,remembering the times when he felt. that his coach was a tormentor rather than a mentor!

For a good mentor,it is a thin line.Often a good coach would appear as a tormentor to sombody.What can prevent that from happening?

1] Empathy:This is perhaps the most important trait in a great mentor.This leads to the trust in him/her.That ,though,does take time to build.

2]Be there for him/her: A good mentor is obliged to push people to their limits.Assurances that failure will also be shared and is often temporary would go a great way into preventing feeling of alienation.

3] Do not force the person to fulfil your unfulfilled dreams.Enable him/her to pursue his /her dreams.

4] Occasional successes should be inbuilt.Coaches are the first one to be blamed in this era wherein there is a mismatch between calibre and ambition among the young generation.They know how to aspire but are not ready for perspiring. A hard task master is better tolerated if periodically some rewards are visible.

5] Last but not least,the good coach/mentor should know his/her game.If the doctor inspires confidence,the patient is more willing to take the bitter medicine. An incompentent mentor is more likely to vent his/her frustration born out of inadequacies in the form of unreasonable outbursts.That is tormenting,not mentoring!