Mentorship is an incredibly valuable experience not only to the mentee, who gets someone with wisdom and experience to help them grow in their career, but also for the mentor. As a mentor, not only will you be able to impart some of the important lessons you’ve learned over time, but you also get the satisfaction of watching someone you believe in reach their full potential.
Mentoring can be an extremely rewarding experience, but also a stressful one if you don’t set up your mentor-mentee relationship for success. Mentoring is not just about giving a list of instructions on how to do business, sending the mentee on their way and waiting for the magic to happen. It’s a relationship you have to nurture if you want to see the results you’re hoping for.
To become a great mentor, you’ve got to prepare for it. Here are five tips for new mentors to help their mentees succeed.
Before starting the mentor-mentee relationship, you need to sit down and discuss the expectations of the relationship. For instance, let's say your mentee wants a job within your company and expects to get hired. If your company isn’t hiring this year, you need to let them know that from the beginning.
Set expectations of when, and how often, you’re going to meet or talk on the phone with your mentee. You might not want your mentee calling you late at night, or your mentee might not be available to meet on weekends. By setting expectations for the relationship, you’ll avoid any awkward problems or miscommunications in the future.
Spend time listening.
Yes, you are the mentor so you’ll be doing a lot of talking. After all, you have so much to teach your mentee, but don’t forget that you need to do a lot of listening, too. By listening to your mentee, you’ll be able to find out what they want, their weaknesses and strengths and how they handle certain situations.
If you spend time listening, you’ll really be able to get to know your mentee on a personal level and therefore be able to give them advice that works for them.
Sign them up for classes and courses.
You may have a lot of wisdom and experience, but don’t limit your mentee’s learning to only what you can teach. Signing your mentee up for a class or online course is great for them. If there’s a skill you think your mentee should learn, consider signing them up for a course. You might not have time to teach them or maybe it’s an area that you don’t have a ton of experience in, and the class will supplement your knowledge. They’ll appreciate you signing them up for useful courses that beef up their skillset.
Enrolling them in courses allows your mentee to get even more out the mentorship, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money either. There’s an abundance of free courses on the internet that will help your mentee gain valuable expertise for their career.
Be honest about your mistakes.
Hiding your mistakes is a disservice to your mentee. Just like you’ve learned from your mistakes, your mentee can also learn from your mistakes. Being honest about the mistakes you’ve made in your career can help a mentee learn problem-solving skills. By sharing your mistakes, they’ll have a wealth of advice from you to enable them to easily handle similar problems in their future.
Being open about mistakes you’ve made also helps create a more trusting relationship. If you’re open with your mentee, they’ll be more at ease with sharing their own mistakes as well.
Celebrate their achievements.
When your mentee completes a task ahead of a deadline or does an exceptional job on a project, let them know how well they did. When you celebrate their achievements, you’ll not only make them feel good in the moment but you’ll help grow their confidence.
One of the biggest elements of having a successful career is confidence. Complimenting, encouraging and celebrating a job well done will set your mentee up for a bright future in the workforce.
Treat being a mentor like an important job, one that you would plan and prepare for. One of the greatest gifts you can give is sharing your knowledge on how you earned your position in your industry, how to overcome obstacles and how to work hard to achieve success in business. Not only will you inspire your mentee, but you’ll set them up for a bright future of their own, and that’s priceless.