How to Be a Good Mentor
It’s a common misconception that mentoring programs are focused solely on the mentee.
It is true that the mentee is essential in driving the mentoring relationship. However, the mentor leads the mentee down the path to success. Without that guidance no goals can be met. That makes the mentor a vital component in whether or not the relationship is successful.
The mentor takes on a significant amount of responsibility. That means they need to put in just as much work as the mentee to ensure that they both succeed. We recommend training your mentors to help them be successful. During training, here are some tips to help mentors be successful in their role.
7 Tips for Being a Good Mentor
- Set Initial Expectations with the Mentee
Setting expectations is one of the most crucial steps for anyone in a mentoring relationship. The mentor and mentee must clearly outline their expectations for each other and the relationship. They must also agree on these expectations. This will help avoid role confusion and give the mentorship great potential for success.
A good mentor must take initiative to ensure the expectations are set at the beginning of the relationship. This can be achieved through creating a mentoring agreement. This agreement can be monitored and managed by participants and admins through mentoring software.
- Take a Genuine Interest in the Mentee.
While it’s important to understand a mentee’s role and career goals, it’s hard to form a successful relationship with someone that you don’t actually know. That is why mentors should
spend time at the beginning of the relationship getting know more about their mentee.
Learning more about the mentee decrease the challenge of making assumptions throughout the relationship. Instead, the mentors and mentees can ask detailed questions and better understand the answers. This will promote effective communication between the mentor and mentee.
- Guide the Mentee’s Development.
It’s important that to understand how to point the mentee in the right direction and when to wait before giving advice. The mentee needs to take responsibility for their own learning. They also need to be autonomous when it comes to doing their part in the relationship. The mentor is there as a guide, but mentee must do the work themselves.
A good practice for this is to ask guiding questions to the mentee to help them discover the answer. Suggestions can be made, but it's important to avoid telling the mentee exactly what to do. Knowledge sharing from previous experience can help achieve this.
- Share Previous Mistakes
It's important for people to learn from their own mistakes. However, mentors are in the unique position to share previous experiences with their mentee. This includes their own mistakes.
There is a good chance that the mentee will face the same challenges that the mentor has already overcome. By knowing about the mentor's experience, the mentee will have invaluable knowledge to take on the challenge before a mistake is made.
- Celebrate Their Milestones
Along with setting expectations, the mentee should also set quantifiable goals. These goals will make it possible to track their improvement as a mentoring program participant. A good mentor takes the time to track the mentee’s progress and adjusts goals as need be. A great way to do this is through mentoring software.
Celebrating the progress is just as important as tracking it. The milestones should be celebrated. When a mentor takes the initiative to celebrate a mentee's milestones, they are able to strengthen the overall relationship.
- Give More Than the Mentee Asks For
Effective mentoring in the workplace takes effort from both parties, so it’s important to lead by example. A good mentor gives everything they ask the mentee to give, and then some.
Mentors should dedicate time, effort, and thought to the mentoring program. This will allow them to effectively communicate with the mentee and push them to also give 100%. This is arguably the most important tip as it shows the mentee that they are the only one invested in the relationship.
- Solve for the Long-Term
A formal mentoring relationship may last for less than a year, but what the mentee learns will be with them throughout their entire career. Mentors should always keep this in mind. Both parties should have their thoughts on the long-term and the goals should reflect that.
Also, a good mentor should make themselves available past the mentorship. Keep the relationship even when the program is over, and don’t hesitate to help out the former mentee.