Mentor, a word that has been used to personify HELP, SUPPORT, GUIDANCE and SUCCESS! It has now become watered down, and used a “buzz word” to signify a sloppy leader, selfish instructor or inexperienced guide. Whether you are a Mentor or Mentee, following certain guidelines will make the mentor-mentee relationship a successful one.
Taking on a role as mentor means helping a mentee progress with their personal or professional goals. A mentor is a coach for the person they are mentoring, usually in reference to a profession or education. A mentor is often senior to the mentee, with more years of work and life experiences that the mentor can pass on in the form of advice and as a role model.
1/Setting the Mentee’s Expectations
It is important to have a candid conversation upfront with the mentee about the role the mentor will take in the mentee’s life. This includes asking the mentee what they want and expect from the mentoring relationship. This will allow the mentor to judge if there is a good fit for the relationship (for example, whether the mentee is realistic in their expectations of the mentor) and set boundaries, if necessary, with the mentee about the relationship. The mentor also needs to be clear about the potential time that he or she is able to commit to the mentee so that the mentee is not disappointed down the road.
2/Setting a Professional Example
The mentor and mentee relationship often exists in a professional setting, where the mentee is looking for guidance and advice on developing a career path. In this case, it is important to project a professional image to the mentee so that the mentee has someone they can look up to. Examples include maintaining a professional rapport with the mentee, setting an example in your own career, relaying professional accomplishments to the mentee as well as inquiring about the mentee’s career goals and what is happening in his or her job. Even in the case where the mentor-mentee relationship is not professional, and the mentor is acting as a personal coach, this tip still applies so the mentor can set a positive example for the mentee regarding his or her future career path.
3/Acting as a Counselor
In the mentee-mentor relationship, it is important to be a coach on an emotional level as well as a professional level. While professional advice is important, there will be times that the mentee has personal problems that he or she feels they can’t discuss with their peers and want to guidance of someone they look up to, such as a mentor. Listen carefully to the mentee, provide a sympathetic ear and give constructive advice where you can. If the problems of a mentee become too serious to handle, professional assistance may be required.
4/Maintaing a Positive Attitude
The mentor should portray a positive attitude at all times with the mentee. The mentor should not use the mentee as his or her own shoulder to cry on as the mentor is supposed to be the role model and support person for the mentee. Passing on a positive attitude to the mentee should also translate into positivity from the mentee.
To build a trusting relationship, what the mentee tells the mentor should be kept in strict confidence in most situations. This will result in the mentee feeling that he or she can open up to the mentor and share any problems and issues freely, which will lead to a closer mentor-mentee relationship.
The mentor can also be a valuable teacher to the mentee, whether it is from an education or career standpoint. Give the mentee advice on how to accomplish tasks, when asked or prompted, and guide the mentee to resources such as specific websites or books to help them study or complete work tasks.
7/Reaching Out to the Mentee
Although it should be the mentee’s responsibility to reach out to the mentor to check in on occasion, the mentee should not always have a reach out to the mentor when they want advice or even just talk. The mentor should put aside time to contact the mentee, perhaps take the person out for a meal or a drink, to show care fo the mentee’s well-being and interest in the mentee’s professional progression. Introduce the mentee to select friends or colleagues to expand the relationship and potentially help the mentee in their career path. This behavior also shows the mentee that it is good pratice to be proactive in relationships.
I thought this was real GOOD information to share in helping us manage our working relationships. As a result of the digital age and social media networks, we find ourselves “connected” but poorly engaged. Our connections and networks are linked directly to our successes. #indieID weekly advice blog is a FREE service, but I am also available for events and 1-on-1 consulting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-49HOLLA. Like me. Follow me. Book me.
Information pooled in this post is by Juli Thompson, eHow Contributor.