A supervisor mentors an Airman on job tasks

What does mentoring mean to you?

By Senior Airman Michelle Patten
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

On Nov. 30, we asked our Facebook followers to fill in the blank on this question: You know you’ve been mentored when ________________.

Their responses ranged from shoutouts to their favorite mentors to Airmen describing the success they experienced from effective mentoring. Take a look at some of the answeres we received about Air Force mentoring, and see what you can learn to become a better leader and mentor.

Becoming the mentor

  • Pam Roberts: “When a new Airman comes to you and says they were told you would be a great mentor.”
  • George N Chris Monks: “When you become the mentor.”
  • Jose Medrano: “When the mentor is being mentored by the mentoree.”
  • Terry Austin: “When you appreciate it so much you want to help someone else!”
  • Kenesha Archer: “When you find yourself smiling and telling your troops some of the same things you were told.”
  • Scott Pangburn: “You ask yourself, ‘What would Sgt xxxx do?'”
  • Scott Fredrick: “When you have learned enough from someone else to be able to teach a different person!”
  • Seth DeBartolo: “You catch yourself using the same phrases as your mentor.”

Mentoring is every day

  • Calie George Degard: “Mentoring comes with everyday experience with your supervisor.”
  • Jesse N Renee White: “When I interact with anyone I am being mentored. Mentoring happens everyday/all day. It is not a magical thing when you realize you learn from everyone and are being mentored by your daily interactions with them. It seems most folks now feel they are not being mentored unless we call it that. So we have to create things like Speed Mentoring, Professional Development Seminars, and Lunch & Learns. All are not bad things, but they are the icing on the ‘Mentoring Cake.'”

Shoutouts to great mentors

  • Brian Mcandrew: “You’re an E-4, and running your own engine crew (which is done by E-5’s), able to become red x certified, and also be in charge of inspecting and repairing both APUs!! Thank you MSgt. DeeJay Farmer and TSgt. Joel Eyester!!!!”
  • Michael Munoz Mejia: “When someone like Austrie Martinez came in and taught me what it is like to be a leader.”
  • Bob Jorgenson: “TSgt Chuck Booth is/was your law enforcement flight chief. A hard-nosed, great teacher who was all about tough love, but always had your back. I’d follow him into battle anytime, anywhere! Thank you Sergeant Booth!”

Humor

  • Greg Dobbins: “Your blank stare turns into a confident look.”
  • Shawn Fore: “When you suddenly notice your pet peeves were your old boss’s… lol!”
  • Cody Allen Jorsch: “When I’m allowed to be in a resting position.”
  • Jason Leap: “When you start dressing alike.”

Leadership styles

  • Clint Alan Charles: “When your supervisor lets you know you did good, and also lets you know you messed up.”
  • John Windham: “He or she teaches you how to get along with your peers so that they like seeing you walk in the door.”
  • Gretchen Parsons: “I know I’ve been mentored when someone takes time out of their busy schedule and gives me guidance on how I can improve myself.”
  • Johnnetta Fielder-Pitts: “When you make a mistake, and someone takes you and shows you how it should have been done.”
  • Destiny Reynolds: “It’s okay to point out mistakes and give criticism, but good leaders and mentors don’t bring people down in the process. Doing so will only discourage some people.”
  • Austin Siegel: “When the person mentoring you is actually someone you aspire to be or is motivational.”
  • Tommy Meagher V: “When you’re sitting in an office, break room, or living room talking with a superior. Not in an auditorium surrounded by cameras and a bunch of other airmen.”

Results

  • John McDonough: “You pass the written test to get promoted!!!!!!!”
  • Harlet M. Parthenopaeus: “You feel worth the fight again.”
  • Hannah Ku: “You no longer see a ‘problem’ but a ‘situation’ instead.”
  • Joe Fitzgerald: “The actions you are motivated to take are not those of the rank you hold, but actions you would expect from a superior you would want to work for.”
  • Jonathan Daniels: “You want to stay in the Air Force for reasons other than money.”
  • Sarah Lipich: “Your superiors make you want to re-enlist instead of get out at the first mention of ‘early release’. Retention is such an issue in the Air Force… I think the NCOs need more mentoring on how to retain young Airmen.”
  • Ben Reynolds: “When you take accountability for your actions, good and bad, and realize there is more than just you in your unit, wing, the Air Force and life.”

Want to step up your mentoring game? The Air Force has a new resource page that gives Airmen additional references on mentoring and becoming more proactive in their career development: http://1.usa.gov/1pnPnH0.

(Editor’s note: Some posts have been edited for clarity and grammar.)