Mentors and Coaches: How to Be A Great Mentor
Though out your career you may be asked to become someone's mentor. Mentoring is a rewarding activity for both you and the mentee - it is a great way to give back while sharing your experiences and wisdom. And it's very flattering to be asked and can appeal to our ego. Too often people agree, feeling very honoured by the request, before giving the role much thought. There is a significant investment of time and effort required to be a good mentor. If you do agree to become someone's mentor you must realize that you have the ability to make a dramatic positive or negative impact on that person?these guidelines will help to ensure you fulfill your role well.
Make a deal. Set up an agreement from the very first meeting that outlines your expectations of each other and how you will work together. Agree on what is acceptable to discuss and what is not, agree on appropriate behaviours, boundaries and confidentiality. Let them know when it is ok to contact you and when it is not and how they should contact you -is phoning ok or do you prefer email? Can they contact you during business hours only or after hours too? Agree on a length of time for the mentoring relationship - perhaps six to 12-months at the beginning. And, make a commitment to always be completely honest and expect them to do the same. Mentoring is not about making friends; it is about sharing your wisdom and experience.
Focus. If you commit to spending time with them, don't be distracted by your surroundings or mobile phone. Give your mentee your undivided attention when meeting with them.
Set homework. Set tasks or actions for your mentee to complete between meetings. Give them activities, challenges and questions to think about and complete between your mentoring sessions.
Provide examples. Your mentee will get most out of the relationship by learning from your experiences - commit to share both your good and bad experiences. Share your templates, tools and processes with them too and help them to develop their own.
Point them in the right direction. Recommend resources, books, websites or networks that your mentee might benefit from. This will help guide them in how to spend their time and money.
Make introductions. Introduce your mentee to others in your network or business - fast track their career with introductions to influential and valuable people you believe they can learn from or be exposed to for future opportunities.
Promote your mentee. Don't forget if you are in a situation where it is appropriate for you to recommend your mentee's talents or services to do so and help their career to flourish.
Keep it to yourself. Your mentee may discuss issues, challenges and concerns with you. It is important that they feel they can do this in an atmosphere of confidentiality - keep all discussions between yourself and your mentee private.
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