What is Mentoring?
- Transferring relevant experience to help the mentee succeed.
- Working in an informal environment to develop skills and acquire knowledge.
- Finding ways to challenge and grow beyond current responsibilities.
- Helping to adapt to challenges, opportunities and to change.
- Developing a relationship focused on personal and professional growth.
- Fostering understanding of organizational dynamics and culture.
Mentoring is not:
- Managing job related responsibilities.
- Evaluating performance.
- A substitute for the development process between supervisors and subordinates
- On-the-job training to remedy substandard performance.
- Formal coaching engagement.
- The mentor is not in the mentee’s direct chain of command.
- Look for opportunities for face to face. When this is not feasible meet on the phone. Ideally, the mentor and the mentee meet face to face once a month.
- A typical monthly meeting can be 60-90 minutes.
- Additional phone dialogue between meetings can address specific questions and advice.
- The mentee is responsible for setting up meetings.
- Regular, periodic and predictable meetings create commitment, rhythm and momentum.
- Mentoring issues should be kept confidential.
- Discuss and agree on boundaries.
- The best mentoring relationships promote frank and honest exchange.
- Develop your practices and agreements as you go along.
Mentoring can be a powerful and rewarding experience for both the mentee and the mentor. Here are some further best practices to help you make the most of your mentoring relationships.
Best Practices for Mentors:
- Take a genuine interest in your mentee’s progress and development.
- Establish two-way open communication.
- Utilize active listening (L4) skills.
- Make yourself available for questions.
- Build confidence and trust.
- Be honest and transparent.
- Share personal experience and knowledge. Provide examples of personal successes, setbacks & challenges.
- Introduce your mentee to clients / management / peer network.
- Be open to hearing a different perspective from your mentee.
- Demonstrate and model how you do things.
Best Practices for Mentee:
- Take initiative to make the most out of the relationships.
- Be curious.
- Come prepared with area of focus and questions you want to work on.
- Use active listening (L4) skills.
- Be open and receptive to feedback.
- Contact your mentor when you have a question.
- Offer feedback about what’s helpful for you.
- Think of ways to apply what you learn on a daily basis.
- Cultivate the relationships based on interest, trust and confidence.
- Communicate with your supervisor.
What to do when we do get together?
- Get acquainted. Build the relationships first.
- Discuss your current role and responsibilities, past positions and key experiences.
- Tell a short version of your career story-line.
- Find personal information that you are willing to share (hobbies etc.).
- Share your strengths, aspirations & development needs.
- Build schedule. Set the next three meeting. Consider logistics.
- Ask each other what will make this a rewarding experience.
- Negotiate expectations and agreements.
- Make the meeting focus relevant to support your development needs and plans.
- As you progress, expand the range of activities. Include shadowing, attending a business meeting, advice on a project/assignment and more.
© Aviv Shahar