With National Mentoring Day 2022 on the horizon, we want to celebrate mentoring and all the people that make it such an effective tool for learning and personal development.
But how do mentors and mentees ensure that they get the most out of mentoring and make sure they hit their goals?
Let’s explore the ways in which you can create a good mentoring relationship…
The desire to grow
Mentoring is a powerful part of personal development. You might find yourself stuck in a rut, not sure where you want to take your career, or maybe you have a clear goal but you don’t know how to get there.
Mentoring is the opportunity to learn from a more experienced individual and gives you new insights into personal development. It’s not just about wanting to grow, it’s about taking action. By actively seeking information about mentoring you’ve already taken the first step in taking personal responsibility in your personal development!
Before your first mentoring session, think about your goals and previous experiences. What do you want to achieve from your mentoring relationship? What are your goals for the future? Show that you’re curious and willing to learn.
And if you’re a mentor, science shows that we feel better about ourselves and more energetic when we help people, and when we feel good, good feelings spread.
The desire to inspire others
A mentor is a trusted individual who through years of experience has gained access to knowledge and experiences that the mentee doesn’t. And with that, a unique point of view. Whether its confidence in meetings, organisation skills, or growth within a company, you’ve reached a goal the mentee wants to achieve.
One great way to do this is to learn about the mentee and see if you can relate to their experiences, through this connection you can inspire. Evidence shows that those who are inspired are more receptive to new experiences and become more motivated.
Through mentoring you’ll teach by example and develop empathy and understanding for different points of view. Help the mentee craft a clearer path towards personal development.
Get to know each other
You might feel that you have a limited amount of time and will want to get straight to business, but learning about each other is an important part of developing a strong mentoring relationship.
While it’s important to have an effective matching system, mentoring is about the people involved, so will still require active relationship nurturing. A great way to do this is through finding common experiences, aspirations and interests. This makes it easier to understand the other person and where the mentees issues lie, but also how to best help the mentee from your own experience. It also creates moments for the mentee and mentor to joke and bond.
Some people have found mentoring as a great way to connect with other employees, especially due to remote work, so be open to being honest and sharing opinions. It’s through these open discussions that you best learn about another person. Through constant communication, mentoring acts as a way to improve your communication skills.
Active listening is an important part of mentoring and communication in general.
Active listening is when you listen to understand before responding, as opposed to listening just to respond. If you have something that you really, really want to say feel free to jot it down and bring up the point a little after.
Verbally reflect on what the other person has said not only to show that you’re listening, but as a way to reinforce what you’ve picked up from the conversation. And if you need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s important you both understand each other especially when it comes to goal setting to ensure that the target and path is clear.
Note for mentees: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and contribute your own thoughts. Everyone has their own experiences and holds unique points of view. Your mentor can’t cover everything so questions are the best way to get an answer. Having a back and forth feeds into creativity and inspires new ways of thinking and reflection.
Time investment and commitment
An important aspect of developing a strong mentoring relationship is by understanding that you’re both busy people, so try to schedule ahead. Iron out which times work for you and be honest. Maybe you’re not a morning person, or maybe you get tired late into the afternoon. Consider how often you’ll meet and what you’ll discuss during the next session.
Some people want more contact than others, but it’s important that both the mentor and mentee put time aside to ensure regular meetings, and try to give as much notice as possible for cancelations.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate success. Positive feedback is useful for both the mentor and mentee and reinforces what was learnt.
Through celebrating success, the mentee becomes more engaged and finds their self esteem boosted. In turn, they find more meaning in their job and become more motivated to continue on the path of self improvement.
Mentoring is about learning, development and future growth so make sure to celebrate the small and big milestones.
Effective communication is a key aspect of developing a successful mentoring relationship. Some things might be obvious, but when you’re worried about career goals or current deadlines, it’s easy to forget.
It’s good to be able to discuss this with someone you relate to and someone who understands you. By putting in the time and effort to learn about the other person and by going into mentoring with goals and drive, you’ll create a strong mentoring relationship.