McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do

We talked a couple weeks ago that one of the main attributes of being a mentor is simply showing up, being available to someone who has questions and needs guidance.

The second great attribute is to give that guidance in any amount. Many of us get intimidated by the idea that in order to be a good teacher, we need to give all of ourselves. While some of us have a bottomless reservoir of outreach, most of us simply don’t have the time, energy, or enthusiasm to answer every question that comes around or to be available around the clock.

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Powderhook, the mobile app that promises to connect mentors with what we’re calling “mentees,” or beginning hunters. That connection happens in custom “camps,” which are basically virtual classrooms, places where that education exchange can happen.

A number of these camps have multiple mentees all seeking advice and direction from a single mentor. When I first heard about this disproportionate balance, I fretted just a little. How could a single mentor adequately serve all the people thirsty for their perspective? I was stuck on a notion of mentoring that told me that it’s a one-on-one relationship.

But the deeper I dive into Powderhook and its potential as that classroom, the more I understand that a single mentor can serve any number of mentees, simply by being available to answer a single question, or offer a single insight. Mentoring doesn’t have to be onerous, exhausting, or draining. In fact, it can be the opposite, as long as you show up, and are available to answer just a question or two.

I just got feedback from a mentee who is curious about bowhunting. They’re in the initial stages of what can be a steep climb to acquire the correct gear, and there are so many choices that they reached out to me for advice. It’s an easy gift to give, my perspectives on the right type of bow, broadhead, and release for the hunting they’ll be doing. And it turns out that the question one mentee had was shared by the other members of the camp, so my answers had a compounding effect.

Instead of feeling depleted by giving myself, I feel energized. And now I can’t wait to hear the follow-up questions. Doing this a couple times quickly compounds into a half-dozen, then a score. This is how we build new hunters and outdoorsfolks, by being available, answering questions, giving our perspectives. And it’s a method that can quickly grow the ranks of knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and engaged hunters.

– Andrew McKean

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One thought on “McKean Minute: When Mentoring, Any Amount Will Do”

  1. AM,

    Great post. I just read this…after almost not reading it because of my current stress levels with work/life, etc. I’m glad I did. It’s given me a renewed spirit for sharing my knowledge, limited as it may be, with those who have less. I didn’t have a father that hunted nor did I come from a hunting background. I didn’t even find a good mentor. I just fumbled around for several years and called it hunting. Knowing that I can help others makes it much more rewarding to share what I can with them so that their initial experiences can be better than mine.

    Thank you.

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