Inasmuch as mentees benefit from mentor-mentee relationship, mentors also reap great value. Just as mentees have responsibilities, mentors have accountabilities too. Basically, it’s a two way street. Mentors may come from a giving perspective in most cases, as mentees would come from a receiving perspective as designed. Nonetheless, good mentors are those that give by leading mentees and subsequently receive by listening and finding creative ways to guide mentees as they navigate through the woods. In a typical corporate mentor-mentee relationship, mentors and mentees agree on schedules for meetings, and it is the mentor’s responsibility to ensure that meetings are held and new meeting schedules are confirmed.
“Mentors should mould mentees to be attractive and not to take advantage of their weaknesses.“
Mentors should use the ‘How’ to start good mentor-mentee conversations. Simon Sinek (2009) advises that ‘start with why’ so to inspire teams to take action to provide solutions. This approach works very well in coaching. In mentoring, however, mentors should start with ‘How’. How are you today? How is it going? How is work? How is your new role? How is everyone in your team? How are you getting on, lately? How is the family? Etc. Good questions generate good discussions. The whole idea is to take the lead in conversations and not to take over discussions during meetings. A good mentoring session will see the mentor speak for 20% as he listens 80% to enable the mentee express himself or herself to the latter.
This is actually a skill required of mentors. Learning not to talk, when it’s not necessary, is a crucial skill required of a mentor. Good mentors should inspire mentees by way of speaking, solving problems, getting things done and to sum it up, leading teams to obtain results. Mentors should connect mentees to good sources that would ignite their passion and broaden their standpoints not only about work but also around life and values. Good mentors would have to introduce mentees to seminars, conferences, associations and opportunities that may enlarge mentee’s network and grow their portfolios. The terms and conditions of a mentor-mentee relationship must be clear and understood by the mentor and plainly explained to the mentee.
Mentors should mould mentees to be attractive and not to take advantage of their weaknesses. It’s in order to hold discussions on personal grooming, self-talk and self-image. Mentors should be open-minded and forward-looking during discussions with mentees, any day. In a face-to-face mentor-mentee meetings for example, mentors must establish the seriousness of meetings by directing conversations towards productivity. Mentors should be the greatest cheer leaders and should be seen urging mentees on. Mentees should see through the lenses of mentors. Mentors should provide rich insights to enable mentees see the bigger picture, every time. Mentors should have discussions around the many concepts of life to enable mentees enjoy their little steps as they move forward.
Mentors should use metaphors, experiences, anecdotes, analogies to draw mentees closer to realities. There are subconscious benefits for the mentor in mentor-mentee relationships though. Mentors improve their coaching skills if they intensify mentor-mentee meetings. Mentors become better leaders, better listeners and they also equip themselves with new skills in listening and understanding the thinking patterns of diverse teams. Each mentoring step builds new leaders. Mentoring really makes a difference. I mentor many, and I’m being mentored too. Mentor, if you’ve been mentored. It’s a beautiful path to grow your leadership skills. Next episode will open up striking intuitions on coaching and mentoring.
This is Leadership!