How to Become a Great Professional Mentor
Great mentors are hard to come by. But do you know where they are the easiest to find? In great companies!
The impact of talented professional mentors is undeniable. Mentors boost the confidence of new employees and promote excellence in the workplace. They use self-reflection, training, and practice to improve interpersonal skills over time and refine their leadership abilities. And while it may be true that some people are natural helpers, one thing is for sure: most professional mentors are taught, not born!
If you’re experienced in your career, and you’d like to use that experience to help others fulfill their potential, this article is for you. Here’s how to be a professional mentor, and what to expect in the process.
1. Establish expectations and goals
In any professional mentor role, it is important that you clearly define your relationship. Some of the most common expectations between mentor and mentee include punctuality, preparedness, and intentional goal setting.
After the introduction to your mentee, get to know one another through some friendly (but structured) conversation. Focus on setting attainable goals together. Then, form a schedule to stay organized, on track, and move towards achieving those goals.
2. Establish accountability and respect
Respect and accountability are important on the path towards strong mentorship. Make sure you follow through and lead by example. By giving respect you will earn it back! Provide resources, make introductions, and offer feedback. Mutual respect is established by showing commitment, accountability, and respect for one another’s time.
3. Listen actively
Before offering your opinion or advice, make sure to actually hear what your mentee has to say! As an experienced employee, it can be tempting to tell them how it is but only by being a good listener will you establish effective goals, understand needs, and provide useful career goal insights. Listening will help you understand how to best support your mentee. Be sure to take notes, ask questions, and tell stories that establish connections.
4. Offer feedback
As human beings, we have a tendency to overlook our own mistakes. At times like these, being a good mentor means being honest and providing critical feedback. Give examples of challenges and opportunities you have encountered during your career, describe how you responded, and be honest about any changes you would make if you had to do it again. While it is important to inspire, cheer, and motivate, don’t forget to provide honest criticism and opportunities for improvement. Click here for more information about how to offer constructive criticism.
5. Empower mentees to make their own decisions
Mentees should feel empowered to make their own decisions, even if it’s possible those decisions might not turn out to be correct. Provided they aren’t doing something catastrophic or blatantly wrong, your job as a professional mentor is not to babysit – it’s to provide feedback when appropriate. Your choice won’t always be the same as your mentee’s. That’s okay! By empowering your mentees to make their own decisions, they will choose the right course of action for them, take responsibility for their decision, and learn from it.
Conclusion: How to Become a Great Professional Mentor (5 Tips)
Understanding how to become a professional mentor can be both rewarding and challenging. Mentoring requires time and commitment, but it can be rewarding for all parties involved. As a mentor, you are also playing an important role in your own professional development and the workplace culture of your company. Click on this link for more information about how to keep the right talent and establish a healthy company culture.
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