FIVE STEPS ON HOW TO BE A GOOD MENTOR
Tuesday 11 August 2020
Follow these five steps to leave a lasting impact on someone’s life
Mentorship is a reciprocal and collaborative relationship between two or more professionals. Although most mentorship bonds are created in the workplace, mentors exist in every stitch and fabric of society, including friends and family life. People who serve as mentors report improved job performance, greater job satisfaction, faster career progression and exponential personal growth.
1 Be present, be open
To begin with, it is vital to create a judgement-free zone. Your goal as a mentor is to give people the forum they need to be comfortable to express themselves with full transparency. Create an atmosphere of trust with your mentee, knowing that whatever they share will be safe and secure with you. Embracing vulnerability creates a strong foundation where they will feel happy confiding in you. This then arms you with more and more information about them to be able to guide and assist them in the ways you think best suited to their needs.
Active listening is a valuable communication tool, allowing you to connect with others and build better relationships. Listen carefully and take notes during a mentorship session. Remember, this is not an opportunity for you to unload your beliefs or show off your own brilliance to someone else. Be sure you fully understand your mentee’s point of view and all the variables before offering your opinion or advice.
Everyone loves to be cheered on, but sometimes the best advice is the hardest one to digest. The best approach is to offer sincere feedback through constructive criticism. As mentors, we must be comfortable with honest engagement, even if that means delivering critique. Remember not to assume anything about your mentee, and if something is unclear, ask for clarification and listen before responding.
Good mentors do not solve the mentee’s problems for them. Rather, they navigate and guide them to the next step, removing roadblocks in the process. Offer to open doors by connecting your mentee with the right people in your network. Keep in mind that no two career or life paths are the same and ultimately, our mentees have the prerogative to choose their own professional or personal journey.
You can push someone to reach their full potential. Lead by example and be a positive role model. Know that your mentee will often mimic your behaviour and adapt your approach to their own styles. Whether it’s a motivational talk, or an encouraging text, or an inspiring article you found useful – the small, positive gestures go a long way.
Mentorship is a chance to challenge our communication and leadership skills, discover new perspectives, and confront old belief systems and biases. But most importantly, we impart our experience and understanding of the world to future leaders, finding fulfilment in investing in the next generation. We challenge you today to take the opportunity and spread your knowledge with others.