The question we should all be asking as mentors is, how do we build these kind of qualities into our students? This week, we’ll continue to answer that question by taking a closer look at the second quality-“confidence.”

This month, we introduced five key character qualities that we can look to build into our students in 2020. These qualities are known as “The Five C’s of Youth Development,” and include: competence, confidence, connection, character, and compassion.

Remember, confidence means “having a strong internal sense of self-worth, identity, and belief in the future.” This character quality is important for students because it helps unlock their potential to make a difference in the world. Confidence impacts a students’ ability to set goals, because they believe in their ability to achieve them.

As a junior with a host of challenging life circumstances, Astasha, decided to give the mentoring program a try. She had good reasons to not trust adults, but connected with her mentor, Karen, right away. They bonded quickly over a shared passion for singing, and Astasha looked forward to their meetings each week. At the end of her junior year, Astasha was emancipated, and struggled throughout that year with balancing independent living, work, and finishing school credits. Throughout the turmoil, Karen consistently reached out to check on Astasha and provide much needed support. “Karen has always been there to check on me—how are you doing? Do you need anything? She keeps my confidence up and helps me laugh and keep going.” Last year Karen proudly attended graduation to celebrate with Astasha. Astasha sums it up this way: “Karen is my rock. There is no one else. I’m not letting her go.”the story of Astasha

As mentors, we can build confidence into our students in a couple of ways:

We can encourage our students to dream about their future and to plan for it by setting personal goals. It’s possible that your student hasn’t even really thought about their future. As mentors, we can ask good questions to help them start dreaming and planning for life after high school. Questions like:

“What if you could have your dream job…what would it be?”
“What if you had a full scholarship to college…what would you study?”
“What if you could live anywhere in the world…where would you live?”

Asking questions like these can help students see what skills, abilities, and training might be needed so that they can begin to set personal goals and plan for their future.

We can help our students learn how to turn their dreams into goals. Having the ability to set short and long-term goals is a valuable life skill. As you continue to learn more about your student’s interests, you can help them set short-term goals that will help them see the kind of intermediate success needed to reach their long-term goals. Through this process, your role as a mentor is to provide support and encouragement for them as they experience successes and failures along the way.

However you end up helping your student build confidence, make sure that you allow them to take the lead in setting goals. And, then be the one who provides the encouragement, guidance, and feedback they need as they work toward achieving them.

Check back next week as we take a closer look at how to build the quality of connection in the students we mentor!

–Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach