As a child or early in your career, you likely had a mentor who showed you the ropes. If you’re like me, you now want to take all the knowledge you have and use it to help others be their best.
Being a mentor isn’t a task to take lightly. Your advice and influence could make a difference in another person’s life, and you want to have the best impact possible. Here are a few tips for being the kind of mentor your mentees need.
Establish Ground Rules
Your mentee might not know anything about the mentoring process, so you should begin by explaining your role and expectations. Then, find out their priorities so you can set goals for your mentee and the relationship as a whole. You should also set a contact schedule to be clear about boundaries and make the relationship convenient for everyone involved.
Approach Every Relationship Differently
If you’re a mentor to more than one mentee, don’t assume that one works for one will work for the other. You should know the individual goals of each mentee, and how you can help them reach those goals. You should be sure that your “manager” style is the one that your mentee best responds to.
Ask, Don’t Assume
Instead of making assumptions about a situation your mentee is in, make sure you ask enough questions to fully understand the situation. Once you have background on whatever problem they’re facing, you’ll be better prepared to give helpful feedback relevant to the situation. Sometimes genuinely listening and caring is more important than anything else. It’s also important to note that you’ll often want to gently lead them to a decision instead of telling them exactly what to do.
Lead by Example
Whether you realize it or not, you might have a silent audience looking up to you right now. They will analyze what you do and use that information to forge their own path. The biggest part of being a mentor is being aware of your own behavior. You might even hold yourself and your actions to a higher standard knowing your ethics, standards and methods are always under a watchful eye. With that being said, you should also be honest about mistakes you’ve made yourself.
If someone in your life could use your guidance, reach out to see if they’d be interested in a mentorship. It could benefit you as much as it does them.