How to Be an Effective Mentor (And Enjoy the Process)

by Dr. Rick Goodman on July 30, 2018

Many professionals reach a point in their career where they want to give back—to impart some of their learned experience to the folks who are just starting out.

The formal name for this, of course, is mentoring—and it can be highly beneficial to mentor and mentee alike.

But there are right ways and wrong ways to pursue your role as a mentor. Today, I’d like to share just a few quick ways to make sure you’re effective. And, that you have fun!

Becoming a Successful Mentor

A few tips:

  1. Remember: your mentee is not you. It’s easy to assume that younger employees have the same challenges and the same goals as you—but that’s not always correct. And if you work with that assumption, you’re not tailoring your mentoring to help the mentee. Always ask questions to clarify: What is your mentee struggling with? What are your mentee’s goals?
  2. Set goals. The best goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive—the SMART method! Make sure you and your mentee set clear goals, as opposed to just meandering through the process.
  3. Be consistent. Mentorship doesn’t work well when you do it casually or sporadically. With your mentee, come up with a regular schedule of meetings—and stick by that! Also don’t hesitate to follow-up or check in between meetings, an important way to keep your mentee focused and accountable.
  4. Avoid being a dictator. Mentorship is not the same thing as lecturing! There’s room for you to share your experience, but also remember to ask questions and facilitate some back-and-forth. The mentee should always play a big role in setting the agenda.
  5. Offer honest feedback, even when it’s painful. Once you’ve established some trust, it may be necessary to provide your mentee with some tough love every now and again. Remember, shielding them from their own weaknesses is really not doing them any favors. Be willing to point out the areas where they really need to improve.

With those tips, you’re ready to start mentoring someone effectively—and hopefully enjoying the fruits of the process, too!

Mentorship is something I’ve always been passionate about, and in fact, I’d love to coach you through some specific mentoring practices. Give me a call or visit me on the Web, and let’s talk mentorship today! Contact me today at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098.

Dr. Rick GoodmanHow to Be an Effective Mentor (And Enjoy the Process)

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