Are You Ready? Read the Complete Guide on How to be a Mentor
Are you currently looking into becoming a mentor? Or are you already one and want to know how to become the best mentor to your mentee?
If so, this has been written for you. Take time to read this article to process how you can approach the mentoring experience like a professional.
You don’t simply want to know how to be a mentor. You want to know how to be an expert mentor that provides the best life example to someone else.
If you need a reminder on what is mentoring…
A mentoring relationship can benefit any person. The best mentors help mentees achieve their goals and provide invaluable support, whether the goal is academic, life, or career-based.
Mentors know when to support, motivate, and give guidance—because that’s what mentoring is all about. A good one may amplify a mentee’s vision, elevate their skills and self-confidence, and help them to achieve their goals at a much faster rate.
What makes a successful mentor?
Mentors who are successful get this way by understanding what their mentees need out of the relationship.
Without first acknowledging the mentee and what they want to learn or work on, the partnership will not be helpful.
There are several aspects to being the best. These include readiness, skills/qualities, and the mentee’s perception.
Are you ready?
Here are questions to ask yourself to see if you’re ready to take on the role:
- Are you able to create time in your life for the mentoring relationship?
- Are you willing and prepared to sacrifice things in your life?
- What qualities will make you a good mentor?
- Are you able to prioritize your life so that your mentee gets what they need?
- What important skills can you bring to the table?
- If the roles were reversed, what would you want to get out of mentorship?
- If things become challenging, will you make an effort to try to get through it?
If there are a few questions in which you were unsure, take some time to reflect and discover if mentoring is truly for you.
After reading them, you instead feel really confident, you may be ready to share yourself with a mentee.
It’s all about skills and experience
If you do not believe you have a certain skillset or any life experience to share with someone else, mentoring may not be a good fit.
A good mentor will not want to keep their life advice and information all to themselves.
A wonderful mentor will willingly share what they know in order to help their mentee be successful.
People who search for a mentor need to be able to find one who will be completely committed.
Examples of skills that mentors can offer to teach their mentees are:
- Work and job-related skills such as problem-solving, presentation, or technical skills
- Study or time-management skills such as getting tasks done before a due date
- Education/academic-related skills such as writing a research paper
- Specific life skills such as cooking, applying for jobs, getting around a city
- Relationship skills such as communication or working through conflict
- General people skills such as social skills or working with different personalities
Qualities to have that will make you the best mentor to a mentee:
- Genuine desire to help, guide, and impart knowledge
- Willingness to share their knowledge, skills, expertise, and life experiences
- A good role model
- Positive attitude
- Is able to listen
- Takes a personal interest in you and in mentoring in general
- Experience in the field or industry you are interested in
- Vast experience and knowledge and still continue to learn
- Provide constructive feedback
- Respected by colleagues and others in the same industry and in the community
- Respects and values the opinion of others
- Has great empathy for others
Before beginning a mentoring program as a mentor, it would be wise to ask yourself if these are skills and qualities that you think you have.
Some of these come more naturally to people. Some can be increased with practice. Others might be more difficult depending on the person.
What do the professionals have to say about mentoring?
We all know who Oprah Winfrey is. She has made her way through life successfully and credits mentorship. Oprah also admits that one role she plays in her own life is being a mentor to other people, especially women.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor is someone who allows you to know that no matter how dark the night, in the morning joy will come. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.”
“I think mentors are important and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship. Nobody makes it alone. Nobody has made it alone. And we are all mentors to people even when we don’t know it.”
In an article entitled, “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received From My Mentor” from Startup Nation, 11 entrepreneurs share the number one best piece of advice their mentors gave to them.
Make sure to click on the article’s link to read what they have to say. These statements prove that mentoring is invaluable to each mentee.
They each were able to learn life advice and get ahead due to their work relationship.
Tips and advice from those who mentor
Professionals who have mentored before and understand the “mentor meaning” willingly provide tips and advice to those wanting to become one.
The following tips come from an article in Science Mag. Professionals share their top ten tips on how to be the best at a mentoring relationship.
- Enjoy the mentoring ride.
- Share your network.
- Provide feedback that can be heard.
- Seed your mentee’s growth.
- Take an interest in your mentee.
- Tune up your listening skills.
- Live your professional standards.
- Begin with the right project.
- Start out right with goal setting.
- Assess your mentoring skills.
What does a mentoring program look like?
You finally get to where you want to be and secure a mentee. What are some things you can expect from the mentoring program? How will your mentoring sessions look like with your mentee? And how long should this mentoring program with your mentee last?
Each mentoring program may be different from each other. The specifics of each program can depend on the following:
- Where the program is taking place (at work within a company, at school, etc.).
- What the focus will be on (business skills, people skills, academic skills, etc.).
- When and where you and your mentee will meet (on the job, in the community, at their home, etc.).
- Who will be involved (if there will be any other people involved like co-workers, partners, etc.).
Several specific examples of programs are included in an article by Mentor Loop called Examples of the Best Company Mentoring Programs.
The following is a snippet from the article and explains the company Intel’s approach to their mentoring program.
Intel takes a slightly different approach to many other Fortune 500 companies. Rather than focus on hierarchy (connecting junior employees with senior employees), Intel focuses on specific knowledge transfer and domain skills that are in demand right now.
This philosophy is grounded by the fact that everyone has something to learn – and everyone has something to teach. Intel’s mentoring program is less formal and more embedded in the culture, resulting in more organic connections.
The strength of Intel’s mentoring program lies in its impetus; rather than a coordinator managing and overseeing the program like a hawk, employees take much of the process into their hands and take charge of their own learning. This results in more engagement with the program, as well as a deeper sense of autonomy and mastery for the employees, which serve an innovative company like Intel very well.
As you can see, Intel has created their own individual way of approaching each mentoring partnership. It is guided and specific and yields results.
Each company, school, etc. is going to have a program that consists of unique parts. This is because each company, school, etc. runs differently from each other. They also have their own unique needs within their system.
The mentoring session explained
Once you and your mentee have established some of the fine details such as above, you can have your first session. As a mentor, you will need to utilize your communication and problem-solving skills.
In a way, mentoring can be similar to counseling. A mentee needs to be heard. Take time to listen closely to what they ask for. Make sure you find a way to show your mentee that you validate and respect them.
During the first session, you may simply be establishing rapport. This is quite important.
Always ask questions to get to know them. It doesn’t all have to be about business. Find something that you both have in common and use that to grow the relationship.
Gain an understanding to what their goals are and how they see themselves achieving those. This is where you come in. You may need some time to think, yet soon you will need to create a plan of action with your mentee.
It is important to note that you alone should not be creating the plan of action. All people involved in the relationship need to take ownership of the plan. The mentee needs to be fully committed and engaged in the program for it to work.
Mentoring sessions can be formal or informal depending on what you two agree on.
Time is ticking…
You might feel pressured to help your mentee achieve their goals ASAP. But do not fret.
A mentoring relationship can last as long as you two feel is necessary. With that being said, many mentoring programs help set up the partnership and the two individuals decide the next steps.
This includes the frequency of sessions and for how long the program will last between them. It could last a month…or years.
Everyone is different with their needs.
“Some relationships last for many years, perhaps a lifetime. However, most people outgrow their mentor and this is generally a good thing for both people − because when you know, you just know.” —Chris Travis, Business Growth Hub Mentor Relationship Manager
If you are currently seeking out a mentee and are interested in beginning a mentoring partnership, definitely take the tips and advice from above into consideration.
The main focus and purpose of mentoring is to help your mentee succeed. Wayahead provides a platform for mentees and mentors to meet and establish a good partnership. You can skip all the how to’s, the when and the what.
Download our app and sign up for our mentor-mentee program. We will do everything for you. All you have to do is sign up and tell us what you are looking for.
Save time and start your mentoring program now! For inquiries and questions, call us at (757) 204 1058 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.