News Search

179th AW Recognizes National Mentoring Month

  • Published
  • By Story by Airman 1st Class Alexis Wade
  • 179th AW

National Mentoring Month, observed annually in January, focuses on the role’s mentors play in shaping young people’s lives and helping them to achieve their full potential. In the military, mentors play a critical role in the success of the Air Force’s mission, unit cohesion and enhancing personal and professional development.

As humans, in order to thrive in any environment we are put in, it is vital to make those around us feel that they matter. We cannot continue to successfully complete any mission in life if the individuals involved feel as if they are dispensable and not an essential part of the team. Through mentorship, morale and the relationships among service members will flourish, enabling us to be there, ready and prepared for whatever lies ahead.

A mentor is by definition and experienced person who oversees and assists the personal, professional, and career development of another less experienced person. They do this by helping mentees understand the value of continuous self-development. In addition, mentors help mentees clarify personal, professional and career goals.

When thinking about mentoring those around you, it can get overwhelming to try to want to be the perfect example, but perfection is not what is needed. We are all humans, and humans make mistakes. Those that are looking up to you are looking to you for advice because you once were in their shoes, they need honest answers and advice to help them grow, personally and professionally. Those looking for mentors in the military can often find a mentor in their career field that has been in longer and has more experience in the military than they do. Mentors also can be those that you aspire to be like and achieve what they have worked hard to achieve, whether it be in your career field or not.

When forming a mentoring relationship, there are five essential things to focus on for a successful relationship, the first being respect. Respecting each other’s is extremely important in order to help both sides feel safe to express themselves. If the relationship has respect, trust often follows which is the second essential aspect of mentoring. Thirdly, having both sides be committed to partnership building. This can be achieved by maintaining strong communication, frequent discussions of goals, and fixing obvious problems. The fourth essential aspect is realistic expectations and self-perception. A mentor should encourage the mentee to do this by having honest discussions regarding the mentee’s social traits, talents, abilities and roles. The fifth and final key to a strong relationship is time. Simply giving your mentee your time and attention to simply check in on whatever they may be going through or working on speaks volumes to your mentee.

Throughout National Mentoring Month, use this fresh start to the year to make new connections and form new relationships to better not only your life but the lives of those around you, too! For more information regarding mentorship check out