As humans, we are constantly evolving, growing and learning. When it comes to your career, this is even more pronounced. This is where mentorship comes in. Not only should everyone have a professional mentor, at some point in your career, you should think about taking a mentee under your wings as well. Studies have proven the success of a mentorship relationship time and time again. As a mentor, how can you be sure to get off to the right start? The following tips will guide you as you begin the process of mentoring.
What Should the Relationship Look Like?
Forbes explains that the key to success is simply defining the relationship from the beginning. Make it an open dialogue. Ask your mentee what they are looking for out of this relationship. Both parties must be willing to compromise, and listen closely to make sure there is agreement. Be sure to clarify your expectations (specifically around things like confidentiality). This is a relationship that is formed specifically for the purpose of providing growth. Therefore, communication between both parties is essential. Keep in mind that this is a growing and changing relationship. There does not need to be a strict contract between mentor and mentee. If at any time the relationship isn’t working for either party, reconvene. Remember, this is supposed to be a positive experience!
How Should Feedback look?
The Leadership Academy explains that a mentor will be much more effective if he knows whether his mentoring is effective for his mentee. If a mentor doesn’t listen enough or consistently gets off topic, the mentee needs to speak up. Don’t waste your time or your mentor’s if things aren’t going how you would like. If things are going well, let your mentor know what is working.
How Should Expertise be Shared?
A good mentor knows and understands that their mentee has expertise in areas that the mentor does not. A mentee should not shy away from this fact in an effort to protect their mentor’s feelings. Inc.com explains that if you’re a Millennial mentee partnered with a baby boomer mentor, you might be able to provide insight into up-and-coming tech trends that could prove valuable to her. It’s that give and take (more emphasis on the give) that will make the relationship between the two of you stand out.
In a successful mentor/mentee relationship, knowledge is shared between both parties. Both members grow through the experience. In order to create the best possible relationship, be sure to maintain communication and constantly reevaluate the relationship so that both members are finding value!