How to produce the best result as a mentor….

If you got help when you were starting out, how about making the right moves to inspire and guide those coming after?

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If one of your new year’s resolutions is to help boost careers and inspire a forward-looking mentoring session for young professionals, you’ve come to the right place.

Who is a mentor?

Mentors are individuals who help coach less experienced professionals, offering guidance when it comes to the skills required to do the job, as well as the more intangible aspects of navigating the professional world. Mentors provide an extremely important transfer of knowledge within your organization so that the next generation doesn’t spend valuable time repeating some of the mistakes made by others. By being a mentor, you provide a sounding board for rising stars to learn from prior direction and experience so that they can make better decisions in similar scenarios.

Just like you’re looking for a mentee who is ready to be mentored and deliver, you as a mentor should work towards becoming the one that makes mentorship worth it.

Here are a few tips to consider;

Communicate and listen:

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Your mentee should ultimately oversee their own career path. You help them achieve whatever it is they want to achieve. Don’t inject too much of your own desires or opinions into their plan. Ask them about their aspirations as well as their expectations of you. For example, are they looking for support, guidance, or insight?

Offer constructive criticism:

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While you don’t want to judge or offend your mentee, you shouldn’t filter your feedback to avoid hurting them, either. There is a way to deliver criticism without breaking their confidence. Sharing your experience is a great way to send a message without criticizing them directly. For example, tell them about a mistake you made and how you learned from it. If the mentee is savvy, they will see the comparison and the subtle message: “Don’t do what I did, and here’s why.” The point is to educate, not tear down the person.

Practice empathy:

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It’s important to relate to your mentees and understand their perspectives and feelings. If they’re having a bad day, you should pick up on their energy and work to help them through it. You might think empathy cannot be taught, but with practice, you can achieve higher levels. This requires effort: listening more; being curious about others; appreciating those who are different from you; illuminating any innate judgments; and educating yourself to break false stigmas and ignorant notions.

Let your mentee make decisions:

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Because you now “know better,” it might be tempting to take the wheel while your mentee rides a shotgun. This is not how your relationship should operate. Your job as the mentor is to help a mentee learn their role, not do it for them.

One of the most important skills the mentee needs to develop, with your guidance, is the ability to think on the spot with competing demands and high pressure.

Overall, the time invested in mentoring a younger professional will pay dividends in many ways.

Do you have any questions or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.

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