It’s hard to argue that mentors are leaders. People choose mentors because they see leadership qualities of the mentors. Usually, mentors have accomplished something substantial, which is how they can label themselves with that title. If you are experienced at something that others desire to learn about, you can qualify as a mentor.
Anyone can label themselves as a mentor. However, without the proper credentials to back it up, those people won’t get far. They will be pretenders. This is important when you decide to mentor other people. They are going to want to know what makes you qualified. Be prepared to show them those qualifications.
Some people may recognize your qualifications naturally by working with you. These people will likely approach you and ask if you will take them under your wing. This could be a formal relationship or quite casual. It depends on the agreement you have with these people.
Usually, when it’s a formal relationship, that is when mentors typically charge money for their service. It’s not required. But, it does back it with a certain amount of credibility. Again, as long as you can also back up your qualifications, you should have no trouble convincing people to fork over some bills for your services.
When people pay you to mentor them, they will hold you accountable for your work. This makes sense. Think about how you would feel if you were paying someone for this type of service. Your reputation and the future of getting jobs through word-of-mouth depend on this going smoothly. It’s wise to get the full agreement of what you will provide on paper. This way, there is no discrepancies later.
Make sure you spell out the responsibilities of the people you are mentoring. Otherwise, they may simply blame you for any failures they experience. Keep them accountable throughout the process, and monitor their progress. Warn them when they risk not completing what they agreed. If they continue to be lax about their responsibilities, let them know that you are terminating the agreement. Make sure you include this provision in the original agreement.
If your mentoring situation is casual, you still can require people you are helping out to be accountable. Otherwise, they won’t take it seriously, and you will waste much of your time. This is time you could be spending helping people who will take your mentoring seriously.