5 Ways to Help Your Mentee
When I think about my career path, mentors were one of the most instrumental parts of my career.
Think back to your childhood. Did you have a mentor growing up? Maybe it was a parent who taught you everything they knew, or a teacher who was always patient with you.
People become mentors for many reasons. Mentoring grows your leadership and invests in the next generation for a better future. More than anything, it simply feels good to help others.
No matter who you are, you can be a great mentor. If you have any kind of life experience, skill, or career under your belt, you can teach others and help them to succeed in that area.
Here are five ways to set your mentee up for success.
1. Get to know your mentee.
Your mentee is a real person who’s coming to you to solve a problem. The best way to help her is to take a genuine interest in her life.
Before you begin mentoring, it’s worth taking some time to get to know her so you know exactly what she needs. Find out who she is, where she is in life, what she’d like to learn or improve, and what her timeline is.
As a mentor, it’s easy to imagine that your mentee is just like you, but your experiences, values, and goals may be very different.
And since mentoring can be a long-term relationship, it’s great to get started on the right foot by getting to know each other.
2. Set goals together.
As you get to know your mentee, you’ll find out his goals and expectations. You’ll know if you can deliver what he’s looking for in the time provided.
Share with him how you can help and how long you expect it to take. If you don’t have all the skills and experience he expects, that’s OK. Just communicate proactively so he can adjust his expectations.
Set shared goals and create a roadmap to get there. Agree on a schedule for your meetings or check-ins, whether they’re face to face or over the phone.
This way, you’ll both have the same expectations of what you’ll give and receive from the relationship.
And of course, you can adjust these terms whenever you need to. The key is clear and proactive communication.
3. Give, give, give.
As a mentor, you’ll learn so much from leading and teaching your mentee. But it’s your primary responsibility to give away your knowledge, experience, and advice.
You may feel that you’re giving too much away, but as long as you’re not sharing confidential information, it’s never too much.
When you give without expecting anything in return, you’ll have more energy to share generously with your mentee. Plus, you’ll experience the personal satisfaction of helping others.
Whatever you do, think of how you can benefit your mentee. Whether it’s your advice, experience, knowledge, or connections, what can you share with her that will help her to succeed?
4. Listen first.
It’s always profitable to listen before you speak.
You may think you know what your mentee needs, but until you fully listen to his thoughts, you don’t know what advice is really best for him.
Before assuming you understand everything, ask a few more questions. A good rule of thumb to get to the heart of the problem is to ask “why” three or more times. You’ll be surprised how deeply you can get into another person’s thoughts and feelings.
And sometimes, it’s better to let the mentee do most of the talking.
Often we don’t listen to other people who give us good advice, but we listen to our own good ideas. If you can ask questions to help your mentee brainstorm an idea or make a decision by himself, it’s more likely to stick.
5. Lead by example (practice what you preach).
Finally, it’s important to remember that mentoring is not just a matter of words. Your actions are just as important as what you say.
If your actions don’t match your words, your mentee may be confused and wonder if the advice you’re giving her is really trustworthy.
But if your actions back up your words, you’ll add that much more authority to your advice.
And sometimes, your actions will teach your mentee more than anything you can share in words. That’s why it’s beneficial to make sure your actions line up with your words.
Now it’s your turn: What are you good at, or what experiences can you share with someone around you? What’s your next step in becoming a great mentor?
For more information please visit our website: www.MerrillGardens.com
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