Mentoring in a Minute
Tips to enrich any mentoring relationship!
Mentors - encourage your Mentee(s) to attend appropriate social functions to expand their professional network.
This is also a great activity to do together so, Mentees, invite your Mentor to go with you!
Mentors - assess gaps in Mentees professional development knowledge and look for training opportunities to address the issue.
Mentees - if you find a learning opportunity, discuss it with your Mentor, as they may know of one more appropriate for your current career needs and time constraints.
Take time to celebrate what you have learned during your time together, no matter how small it seems. Even "difficult" mentoring relationships can yield positive learning experiences.
No single Mentor can thoroughly address all the needs of a Mentee. Don't be hesitant in recommending or looking for additional Mentors to cover those learning objectives not being fulfilled.
Establish preferred methods of communication at outset of relationship (email, phone, face-to-face, Skype, etc). Be specific but flexible. If a 20 minute phone chat works for the Mentee, then don't feel obliged to always wait for face to face time.
The healthiest mentoring relationships are based on congruent goals and values, a shared level of commitment, open communication and meaningful conversation. Developing a structure within your relationship early on will assist you in reaching these milestones.
Mentees -don't be afraid to ask for what you want! The most effective mentoring relationships occur when you are proactive and provide the momentum for the work you're doing with your mentor. Just remember to be considerate of your mentor's time.
Mentors - be available, physically & mentally, for your mentee. If time demands get to be too much, have a constructive conversation to revisit agreed upon meeting parameters.
Trust must exist within mentoring relationships. Both participants must engage in ethical behavior and retain confidences. Be sure to establish boundaries at the beginning of your relationship - what should be considered to be confidential and what, if anything, can be shared?
Mentoring is a thinking exercise for both mentor and mentee. It gives the mentor the opportunity to reflect on previous choices and outcomes and to share this information with the mentee. The mentee can then take this information to consider future actions and decisions, allowing them to make mindful, creative choices about how best to achieve their goals.
While there are similarities and overlap between mentoring and coaching, they serve different purposes in career development. Coaching can exist within a mentoring relationship and consists of focused teaching and feedback to achieve a specific goal. Mentoring is a holistic endeavor, designed to develop the mentee as a whole person through guidance, coaching and development.
Respectful, timely and reciprocal feedback exchanged between the mentor and mentee is essential in achieving a successful relationship. Maintaining this two-way exchange grows trust and allows both participants the opportunity to grow.
When was the last time you checked in with your mentoring partner? If it's been longer than six weeks, take five minutes to send an email to let them know you are thinking of them and are amenable to scheduling a time to catch up!
Ending a mentoring relationship doesn't have to be a bad experience if both parties remain respectful and realize that all relationships change. It is also extremely helpful if the mentoring partners agree at the outset of the relationship what will signal the end of the relationship (i.e. goals achieved, specific time frame).
Most people realize that goals should be specific, measurable, realistic and action-oriented. However, equally important is the understanding that the goals should be the mentee's, not the mentor's. Mentors can help refine them and guide the goal setting process, but the mentee should be the driver.
Mentors - When a mentee opens themselves up to learn, they are taking a risk. When preparing to provide feedback, be sure to listen without judgment, offer advice instead of imposing it and give facts, not opinions, so that informed decisions can be made.