Not everybody can be a mentor. It’s a role that comes with enormous responsibility, often alongside many others.
Still, you can thrive in your role with the correct mindset and approach. It’s worth remembering that mentors can get just as much out of the experience as the mentee, so pursuing these goals will undoubtedly be a rewarding effort for you.
Each mentoring experience can be unique too. Aspirational professionals have different goals they need to meet and various strengths and weaknesses. No two days should be the same for you here, and even experienced mentors can be tested and challenged in different ways.
Therefore, you should keep trying to develop your skillset as a mentor. Here are some tips to help you improve your approach to mentoring.
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Think About Character
Mentoring is a lot easier when you and your mentee have compatible attitudes. It should never feel like heavy lifting, but rather that you’re working in complete cohesion with one another.
Regardless of the mentoring scheme or program you’re both involved in, a few general rules exist that the mentee should follow absolutely. For example, they should have clear goals about what they want to achieve from your mentoring relationship. The mentee must also be considerate of your time, have ideal characteristics of their mentor in mind, and take responsibility for their own development.
Put simply, you shouldn’t expect to bend over backward for your mentee. Access to your expertise and guidance should be a humbling privilege for them and one that they strive to make the best of every day, respectfully and enthusiastically.
Refrain from devoting your time to a lost cause. If you believe that the dynamic between you and your mentee isn’t sustainable, the partnership should end. Try not to give up on mentoring should these circumstances arise, and instead look for a mentee with similar values to you.
Have an Open Mind
Many mentors can have a rigid approach to their efforts. It can limit the potential of both themselves and their mentees.
Try to understand that mentoring opportunities can come from anywhere, even in the most unlikely of times and places. Everyone has something they can teach and more that they can learn. Once you have that perspective, it can be a humbling experience and help you appreciate what you’re aiming to achieve all the more.
You may also learn much about yourself and others when mentoring. Try not to view the process as imparting your wisdom and promptly leaving the situation. Be open to nurturing a back and forth dialogue between you and your mentee, and really get to know them throughout your time together.
Learning about your mentee is important. Once you pick up on the subtleties and nuances in their behavior, you can tailor your mentoring tactics to meet their needs more acutely. You’ll both get more out of the experience this way. Try to keep an open mind throughout the proceedings, be a great listener, and adapt and evolve as necessary.
Adopt Noble Goals
The availability of mentoring opportunities varies by many different demographics. Some people lack access to these resources, while others have an abundance of them.
Your approach to mentoring could be improved by helping underrepresented figures in the workplace. For instance, it has been cited that a lack of relatable mentors has been a barrier for female entrepreneurship in sectors like IT and transport. If it is within your power to tip the scales, it’s a good idea to do so.
Nurturing talent is always a privilege. However, with the added benefit of driving societal change and creating equality, you could be invigorated to a whole new degree in your mentoring work. There’s a real sense of pride to be found here, both in yourself and in the promising talent that you support.
Your motivation levels can also be improved when you have bigger aspirations in mind. After all, if you have a busy career, there may be days when mentoring is the last thing you wish to do. If you can remind yourself of the importance of the opportunities you’re providing, though, then it may give you an extra push to make the most of the situation for the mentee.
Use a Dedicated Mentoring Software
Mentoring can get messy fast if your approach is disorganized. Fortunately, specially designed digital tools can streamline much of the chaos that can come your way.
Companies like PushFar help progressive organizations run impactful mentoring programs through their training and technological offerings. You can request a demo to improve how you match, manage, and report on mentoring. Everyone from students to retired professionals can utilize these resources, so your capabilities as a mentor can be fine-tuned here, no matter what stage you’re at in your career.
Setup your mentoring platforms with all the tools that you require. Configure them with the themes and branding you desire. The admin panel can also help you establish matching rules, ensuring that you only find the types of mentees you wish for. You can also track goals and feedback through the platform. Be much more thorough in your approach with this support.
These types of services can bring peace of mind too. Being a mentor can become overwhelming at certain junctures, so having a platform that supports your efforts and development is an enormous advantage. Use these resources, and be confident that you’re doing everything you can to help the mentees under your guidance.
Develop Time Management Skills
Mentoring in a professional setting is often only one part of your role. Still, you should try not to think of it is as something ‘extra’, or like you’re periodically doing someone a favor. Instead, it should be a passion to which you dedicate a healthy amount of time.
That said, good intentions will only get you so far. Your efforts should be structured by strong time management techniques, enabling you to optimize each mentoring session you offer. The level of your commitment should shine through here.
Every meeting or task that you perform should have established time parameters. Set alarms on your devices and scribble reminders into calendars. You could also forecast the time it takes for your mentee to finish certain tasks you’ve set them, allowing you to anticipate when your input may be required again.
You should also take care to set reasonable expectations and inform your mentee of them. That way, you won’t be tempted to push yourself too hard and put your career or personal well-being under strain. Set some comfortable parameters you can operate within, and your efforts in mentoring will be much more sustainable.
Don’t Cancel Your Obligations
Mentors need to be seen as reliable figures. If you have started a habit of canceling meetings or abruptly ending your dialogues, trust in your abilities can be shaken.
Hopefully, the points raised so far should make these circumstances much less likely to occur. Still, there may be days where you’re tempted to do a little less or cut a few corners. Put simply, you must refrain from doing this. Consistency is key in a mentoring dynamic, and you should lead the proceedings by example. If you’re not fully committed, then why should your mentee be too?
Everyone has days where their performance drops. Try to be a good mentor in those times anyway. If the mentee can see that you’re human, it may teach them a valuable lesson about persevering in tougher times as well.