Too often mentoring relationships devalue into cheerleading. A mentor gets assigned a mentee and encourages the junior employee to keep working because brighter pastures are just over the horizon.
While encouragement is essential to any successful mentor-mentee relationship, it’s just scratching the surface of the results and deeper accomplishments than can be obtained.
Mentor Resources has been overseeing mentoring programs for years in every industry imaginable. We’ve seen mentoring fail and we’ve seen it succeed. Through our years of experience we have gleaned 3 Keys for Successful Mentorship.
One - Willingness to Share.
At the core of a strong mentor relationship is the candor that clarifies what the mentee is seeking to achieve, what they know they need to develop further, AND what the mentor has experienced, successfully and not so successfully. Honest dialog develops over time, which is why most mentor programs need the full year. Monthly or bi-weekly meetings slowly allow the two individuals to let go of the masks typically used in business. This experience is more challenging for some than others. But if the mentor-mentee pair agree at the beginning to be intentional about their honest story sharing, we have noted that trust is built more quickly.
Two - Desire to Learn
Successful mentor partnerships focus as much on the journey as the outcome or goal. For mentees, rather than approaching the conversation with a "tell me what to do" mindset, approach the mentor with the question "what insights do you have about this topic that I can learn from and apply in my own way?" This approach speaks to curiosity and self-reflection. At this point, it is less about an action plan and more about opening to a new lens. For the mentor, sharing one's story can be a learning experience. Acknowledging those learnings along the way gives permission to the mentee to do the same. We cannot overemphasize the importance of such a growth mindset (more on that in a future blog).
Three - Working the Idea
Then it all comes down to practice and working the idea. Between sessions, the most productive and engaged mentors and mentees (yes, both) take a relevant idea, convert it into some action they can practice for the next few weeks, and observe what they notice. This makes the conversation real, not just an interesting exchange. Practice something that matters — active listening, researching a new skill certification, writing a vision statement, completing a self-assessment, interviewing another colleague — all in the spirit of seeking to learn and open yourself to what is possible.
In the end, the mentor and mentee share a deeper understanding about themselves, the path forward for both, and the impact they can have on their teams, the organization, and their community.
Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.
Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.