Mentoring can be an exhilarating experience. When you are assigned a mentee, it’s tempting to not only pass the torch of knowledge, but to try and make an exact copy of yourself. This is the wrong way to go about it. A healthy mentor-mentee relationship leaves room on both ends so even as a mentor you are learning throughout the process.
Mentor-mentee relationships can be mutually beneficial. As a mentor, you may know the job and work inside out but, however mentees often bring fresh viewpoints to the table. When mentoring is done right everyone wins, including you the mentor.
Here are 5 tips to get the most out of the mentor-mentee relationship.
One - Get to know your mentee personally.
Work, analytics, productivity, deadlines and projects seem to move through the workplace so fast that it’s easy to forget that organizations consist of people. People have dreams, failures, families, strengths and weaknesses.
The first step in successful mentoring is to establish a personal connection with your mentee. Too many mentors fall into the trap of diving straight into the job. Start with asking personal questions and getting to know your mentee. They are much more likely to listen if you have a connection.
Two - Steer mentees toward meaningful job experiences.
Sixty percent of employee development stems from on-the-job experience. It’s one thing to read a book or attend a class...it’s a whole different ball of wax to get one’s hands dirty and do the work.
Think back on your own career. What are the projects and experiences where you learned the most? Jot them down and steer your mentee towards similar job experiences. Was their conference that was especially helpful? A particular department of work that boosted your career? Getting your mentee into meaningful job experiences will develop them faster than any lecture you might give them.
Three - Ensure total confidentiality
Make it clear from the start that mentees can confide in you with confidence. Mentees have bosses and supervisors. Oftentimes, they can’t go to these people for advice or help as it wouldn’t be appropriate.
Mentor-mentee relationships solve this problem. Mentees are given an outlet and sounding board when they are assigned to a mentor. It’s important that when a mentor acts as a sounding board that what gets said stays in confidence. Effort which establishes this form of communication is well spent as the more open and comfortable a mentee feels talking to you, the better the relationship is going to be for all parties.
Four - Take mentees to meetings.
When any of us first start out working for an organization, we often see “secret meetings” going on behind closed doors. Top executives and supervisors have private meetings and the rest of the workforce goes on about it’s day.
A mentee can learn wonders by simply being allowed to shadow you in a meeting. They get to see how these meetings are run, learn what the organization’s executives are trying to do and also gain a better insight into their company’s inner-workings.
Letting a mentee shadow you into a meeting might not seem like a big deal, but for the mentee it expands his horizons.
Five - Be open minded.
Don’t approach the mentor-mentee relationship with preconceived notions. Being willing to learn and listen. Ask your mentee how he works best and how he would like to be taught. The answers might surprise you.
Be open to trying different learning processes and adapting to your mentees needs. Mentees, by definition, know less than their mentors. That doesn’t mean they aren’t living, breathing people with no creativity.
Opening the door for mentees to share advice and also control the relationship allows for you the mentor to also develop and grow.
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.