How to Make Mentoring Work for You – A Mentor’s Perspective

Posted by Martine Sanscartier & filed under Leadership Development.

As a follow-up to our previous blog on Mentoring, this blog will focus on the mentoring relationship from a mentor’s perspective. As previously defined, mentoring consist of a pair of individuals working together in order to achieve specific objectives for skills growth and development. It is meant to be a balanced partnership requiring equal commitment and investment from both parties – mentor and protégé. To add to that, we have found that the most successful mentoring relationships have a high level of trust and open dialogue, in which both parties share their learning experience.

So if you are preparing yourself to step into a mentor’s role, here are a few suggestions from Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith’s book “Managers as Mentors”, to help you get the most out of your mentoring relationship. They recommend that you establish a partnership where the primary focus is on helping your protégé learn and discover. It is not about being an expert or an authority figure. Your protégé will learn much more from your thought-provoking questions than from your well-thought out answers. Keep in mind that mentoring is not limited to conversations during your sessions. It is also about how you support your protégé and help them transfer their learning back to the workplace. And last but not least, when the mentoring goals have been reached, you will have to be willing to let the relationship end and let your protégé move on to the next phase in their career.

Before you start your journey, here are additional tips you might find useful:

  1. Be clear as to your roles and responsibilities
  2. Be fully invested in your protégé’s ultimate success
  3. Take responsibility for the “health” of the relationship, and do not hesitate to share your concerns if it is not going as well as you had hoped
  4. Establish clear boundaries regarding confidentially
  5. Help co-develop the mentoring plan, and challenge your protégé to have stretch goals and relevant objectives
  6. Provide candid and sincere feedback, and make sure the feedback’s main focus is on the future versus what has already taken place

Have fun and let us know how it goes!

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