Three Easy Mentoring Tips

In spite of their tight bandwidth, many leaders actively seek to carve out time for giving back. Leaders with amazing skills, long experience, and a unique view of the world, want to help others in their profession, working toward a greater good for all. One of the best ways to do this is through mentoring others. Mentoring can be an incredibly rewarding, rich experience for both parties.

Mentoring is about helping others achieve their potential, goals, and dreams. It’s also about imparting vital knowledge that can help others for generations to come. The best mentors take this opportunity as seriously as they take their own careers.

If you’re mentoring someone right now, or are considering it in the future, here’s how you can make the most impact. These are three tips for truly successful mentoring:

1) Be selective about whom you mentor.

You want this experience to be rewarding for both of you. Keep your eyes peeled for someone who can prosper from your guidance. This could be a co-worker, a direct report, or someone beyond your organization. If you know someone is struggling professionally, or who has potential to do greater things with his or her career, reach out and offer coaching. Ask them if they are committed to improving, and ask yourself if you’re committed to give them a hand.

2) Be disciplined about mentoring.

Mentorship is a partnership, a collaborative process to advance mutual interests. You want to feel like you’re making a difference; the individual you mentor wants to reach a goal, too. Come to meetings with a productive, committed, and eager attitude. Do some research. Prepare some stories that might help the person learn from your experiences. Don’t just show up. Be responsible, prepared, organized, and goal-oriented. Tell the person you’re helping to bring questions, articles they’ve read, or other materials they want to learn more about.

3) Listen and ask the right questions.

An old proverb says, “If you give a man a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed them for a lifetime.” Your role in mentoring is to coach and guide your student so they can make decisions themselves, based on their understanding of business principles, your experiences, and a sense of good judgement that you help them instill. You don’t want to do their job; it’s not your responsibility to nag them about every aspect of their daily work life. If you’re listening to their problems and asking great questions, you’ll be a more effective coach. If the person you’re coaching is struggling with their boss, share your past experiences by explaining how you worked toward a solution when you had a similar issue. People enjoy learning (and learn better!) through stories and examples. Give them the benefit of your experience, and help them extrapolate their own road to success. as opposed to simply being told what to do or how to do it.

When have you benefited from a mentor? How did that impact you?


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