Mentoring

We all have had mentors in our lives who have made a significant difference by being there for us and by helping us see aspects of ourselves (good and not so good) that help us grow.  Even more important is how the deep belief of a mentor can help a mentee envision new possibilities.  With advisement around the corner, it is good to reflect on mentoring. 

There are life-changing moments in a mentoring relationship that are best measured over time; the power of the relationship and words are not always appreciated fully in the moment.  Many of us can look back with appreciation at how lessons learned in a mentoring relationship have deepened over time.  The mentoring relationship is an investment in the other person by the mentor without complete understanding at that point in time about how the investment will pay off for the mentee.  I have had mentees in the past who were like investing in Microsoft or Apple in the early years.  They have gone on to do amazing things and it was a privilege to be part of their growth.  I like to believe I am making that unknowingly wise investment with each of my mentees.  No investment is too small because you can’t predict the future!

The 10 tips found below are from Sophie McCarthy (2012), Executive Director of McCarthy Mentoring.  They serve as nice reminders/guides for the time we will be spending with advisees/mentees over the next few weeks. 

Top 10 Tips for Successful Mentors

1. Advisor – A valuable mentor creates a learning environment and helps build a culture of trust by encouraging, advising and guiding the mentee.

2. Commitment – Mentors should be available and committed to the success of the relationship.

3. Attributes – A good mentor is a strategist, trusted advisor, role model, leader, nurturer, teacher, supporter and challenger.

4. Style – The best mentor has many different working styles and will adopt a style that suits both the situation and the mentee.

5. Listen – Being an active listener, truly hearing and understanding what the mentee is saying is one of the most important aspects of good mentoring.

6. Objectives – A clear purpose and understanding of the goals, expectations and obligations should be established at the start.

7.  Wisdom – Mentors need to have ‘walked some decent miles’ – although not necessarily in the same industry. 

8.  Guide, don’t drive – Let the mentee be the driver of the relationship. The mentee sets the pace and the goals and the mentor provides the trusting learning environment.

 9.  Trust – When a mentee truly believes that you can hold in confidence what they tell you, trust will grow exponentially.

10.  Equality – The partnership should be one of mutual respect and equality. In a successful relationship both the mentor and mentee is stimulated, engaged, learning and inspired.

Please take a few extra minutes to mindfully deepen your advising/mentoring relationships.  The future of your mentees is found in the power of the current moment.  

References

McCarthy, S. (2012). Retrieved March 24, 2013 from: http://advance.org/articles/tips-for-mentors/

Image (2012). Retrieved March 24, 2013 from: http://www.koreanactuary.org/post/2012/05/24/Request-for-Mentoring-Partner.aspx