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For instance, mentoring students at risk of exclusion, teenagers exposed to sexual exploitation or kids who may be involved in knife crime.

This week I’ve been helping my son navigate an experience of negative friendships, bullying and a toxic environment at school, and whether that means he should leave the school. Far from the usual mentoring rhetoric along the lines of ‘you can succeed and grow in new areas’, my main job has been to insist and reassure him that what he’s going through is not OK. Mentoring relationships that support young people through tough stuff is arguably more important than the more glamourous mentoring that helps talented young people develop and achieve more.

Which young people in your life need mentoring through harder situations or challenges? Are they getting what they need from you? Are there other significant adults with relevant experience who could get alongside them?

The focus of this month’s column is the resource below, but if nothing else please hear this reminder to create a safe space for your mentees. Provide a non-threatening environment for them to explore the walls, the hard situations and the challenging realities they are dealing with, and to navigate through their hurts, shortcomings, fears and confusion. First and foremost, come back at them with unconditional love.


Use this tool when there is a big life goal to be tackled, as it will allow you to break it down into three manageable areas: things you need to STOP doing, things you need to START doing and things you just need to CONTINUE doing in order to achieve your goal.












For each square, take stock of the resources it will require (for example money, time, people, favours, emotional resilience… a hammer!) and put time constraints on in terms of when it needs actioning. You may even need another column to create specific sub-aims for each action.

Top tip: try to stick to one action per row if possible (just three altogether). The more actions there are, the less likely your mentee is to commit and stick to them.