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- Understand what your protégé is looking for in a mentor
- Ensure that the needs of your protégé are met.
- Be available to your protégé, but not too available.
- Listen more than you talk
- Share your strengths and weaknesses
- Be yourself and be flexible
- Help them find their own solutions
- Encourage them to take risks and to learn from their mistakes
- Celebrate their successes - big and small
- Be patient - the relationship takes time to develop
Reading time: ~4 minutes
Mentoring relationships comprise a learning relationship between mentors and protégés. In many ways, both mentors and protégés can benefit from mentoring relationships. Mentors have the opportunity to help shape the future workforce, as well as pass on their knowledge and expertise gained from years in the industry. In addition, they are often credited with gaining an increased sense of purpose and meaning in their own lives.
Moreover, protégés can advance their careers, gain knowledge of industry practices, gain guidance on important work-related decisions, and serve as a sounding board for ideas.
Here are some tips for you to be the best mentor.
This is the most important step to take at the start of the relationship. It is critical to understand the expectations that your protégés have of their mentors.
Understand what they hope to learn from you–and they may not be the same things as you expect, or want, to provide. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and frustration further down the line and ensure they receive the guidance and support they are looking for.
Do not assume what your protégés’ career goals are or what they think is important. It is up to you to learn about them and their interests, strengths, weaknesses, etc.; this will allow you to provide better guidance.
Just as you would with any other personal relationship, be sure to establish comfort and trust. Your protégé will need to feel comfortable talking with you about their work life, achievements, struggles, interests, etc. This will allow for an open dialogue in which either of you can benefit from the advice or suggestions provided by the other.
It is important to find a balance between giving your protégé space and time alone to do their job and giving them the support they need when they reach out for it. You will need to identify which of these two modes of communication—in person or virtual—your protégé prefers, and adjust your response accordingly.
This can be a difficult thing to do, as you will need to keep track of the needs of multiple people at once; however, it is important that you make time for them in your schedule.
You should not mentor those with who you work directly.
Listening is one of the most important skills a mentor can have. It allows them to understand where their mentee is coming from and what their concerns are. It also helps to create new perspectives on how to reach the best solution for both parties. Do not assume what your protégé is thinking or feeling. You need to make an effort to understand their point of view, perspective, challenges, concerns and needs. Your perspective matters less than theirs at this stage in the mentoring relationship. There is plenty of time for them to learn about you and what you value in the future.
Be open about your experiences and personal qualities, while also understanding that this is not a time for boasting or false modesty. You do not need to feel obliged to tell your protégés everything about yourself at once, but be ready to answer questions when asked.
It is important to be genuine with your mentees and share what you feel comfortable sharing, knowing that it is not always necessary to divulge everything about yourself. Remember, this is a learning relationship and there will be opportunities to learn more about each other as time progresses.
With the advent of social media and the sharing economy, the idea of mentorship has been disrupted. Mentors are no longer needed to offer resources or wisdom to help clients reach their goals. But mentors offer so much more than that. They share a genuine interest in others, they generate motivation by caring about and listening to their mentees, and they encourage them to take risks with which mentor and mentee can grow together. Do not solve your mentee’s problems. Allow them to develop and use their own problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.
It is okay for them to fail, and they will most certainly make mistakes. Your job is to encourage them, remind them of your faith in them, and stand with them when they need it most. This will help build up their confidence in themselves and their work.
You should celebrate your mentee’s big successes, but never underestimate the power of taking a few minutes to appreciate and praise them for their smaller achievements, too. Celebrating students’ success is an important part of the mentoring process. Mentor should be excited for their students’ successes, not just the end result. At the same time, it is important to recognize the hard work that goes into achieving these goals and how much their mentor has helped them along the way.
Remember that it takes time to develop an effective mentoring relationship; this is not something that will happen overnight. Be patient with your mentee and monitor their progress over time. Some people mistakenly assume that mentoring is easy. It takes a lot of not only energy but also time. People assume it’s easy to help or advise, which is not true. It takes hours of advising and soliciting input on a regular basis as well as simply hanging out with the person being mentored and investing in them emotionally and verbally.
Mentoring is not a simple task; however, it can be highly rewarding and beneficial to everyone involved. Remember that this relationship will require your time and attention and you should expect nothing in return for a long period. As with any good relationship, reciprocity will grow over time as the mentee becomes more independent and less reliant on your instruction and guidance.
Thanks for reading!
Thank you for reading!