2 Tools for Your Role as a Mentor

March 06, 2019

As a mentor, you act as a friend, role model, and guide to your mentee. They are looking to better themselves through the relationship, and you should too. Why? Because as a mentor, you can receive just as many benefits as the mentee. The benefits of being a mentor include improving communication skills, expanding your network, and an opportunity for self-reflection. To receive these benefits, you can’t just be a mentor, you must be a successful mentor. This means understanding the necessary tools to help you be successful.

Remember that mentoring will challenge you at times, especially when you’re unsure of what to do to help your mentee. Here are two tools for you to use that can help start your mentee off in the right direction.

Setting SMART Goals

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The acronym SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound,” which are the criteria your mentee should follow when writing their goals. SMART goals are a tool often taught in classes at high schools and universities, but they are valuable in every organization because of their simplicity and effectiveness. To minimize frustration and easily track progress, have your mentee write their goals following the SMART criteria.

  • Regular Goal: I will be successful.
  • SMART Goal: I will achieve all of my daily tasks on time or early.

This goal is SMART. It identifies specific tasks on a daily basis and it’s measurable by whether or not they got done on time. Use a SMART goal with your mentee when they are setting goals throughout your mentoring relationship. This tool allows them to see specific aspects of their aspirations, which helps them to achieve their goals in a more direct manner.

Performing a SWOT Analysis

Going through a SWOT analysis with your mentee at the beginning of your relationship will identify the strong and weak points that you will improve together. The acronym stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.” When using this tool, you will first help your mentee identify their personal strengths and weaknesses in their role, then you will help them realize their opportunities for advancement in their lives as well as the threats to those opportunities.

  • Strengths: These should be strengths your mentee has that others in similar situations do not. For example, if they’re strong with calculations but work in accounting, it may be a necessity, not a strength.
  • Weaknesses: Consider their negative work habits, knowledge or skill deficiencies, and lack of confidence in certain areas. Always remind your mentee that weaknesses are opportunities for growth.
  • Opportunities: Where can your mentee learn new skills? Where are their potential promotions? What opportunities organically come from their strengths? What can come from eliminating their weaknesses?
  • Threats: Is their mindset hindering them? What skills do they lack that could hold them back? Are there other individuals competing for the same position?

Once you go through a SWOT analysis with your mentee, they can use this tool outside of the mentoring relationship.

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