Being a mentor to a professional colleague has some real benefits for someone young or just starting in the field or even someone new to your company. But there are also benefits for your company and for you as the mentor. These benefits are all good reasons for you to work on improving your skills as a mentor. Here are five ways you can improve your mentorship skills.
How to Become a Better Mentor
1. Start by carefully selecting your mentee.
A mentor can provide support for a work colleague in several ways. Traditional mentoring places you as a senior or more experienced executive giving advice and support to a colleague. But all kinds of mentoring relationships benefit you and your mentee. For example, if you’re a female senior software developer, it’s a great idea to support other women in a field that is still dominated by men. Or, you could share insights regularly with someone who is in a similar role to yours in a more of a mutual sharing arrangement. No matter the environment or goal, make certain you’re selecting a mentee that is worth your time. Select a mentee that will find your support helpful or one that can provide you equal support for your career.
2. Remain engaged in the mentor/mentee relationship.
We know everyone gets very busy, but it’s important to fulfill your commitment to your mentee over time, even when life gets in your way. Consider saving time by meeting in a video conference when you want to skip the commute time to meet in person. Make sure every meeting that you do have is helpful to your mentee. This will get hard at times, but it’s worth it.
3. Remain accountable to each other.
Having a two-way dialogue is an important way for you both to stay accountable to one another. Check in with your mentee to be sure that you are providing them with the kind of insight they need. But it’s also important for your mentee to know what they want and ask for it. Some good questions for you to discuss together include:
- What are your goals for our meeting together?
- What knowledge can I try and share with you that would help in your career?
- Is there anything that you’re struggling with that I could help with?
4. Create a career roadmap.
Consider working with your mentee to create a professional development plan. This will help your mentee outline their job priorities to help guild your efforts to help them. The roadmap should look ahead to the future and chart a measurable course for getting there.
5. Always look for ways to improve.
Long-term mentor/mentee relationships can grow stale, so it’s important to figure out new ways to help. Are there colleagues you want to introduce your mentee to? Are there networking events you can attend together? Consider this a continuous improvement process not only for the mentee in their career but for you as a mentor.
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