Someone Needs You
One of the greatest ways to make an impact professionally is as a mentor. If you haven’t claimed this role for yourself yet, I’d encourage you to try to do so this year. There’s as much reward for you as there is for the person you mentor. To be successful, here are a few recommendations:
- Meet frequently, even if informally, to provide suggestions for small adjustments as you go. Not only is it easier to learn this way, you will come across as less imposing and, I’ll say it, less of a know-it-all.
- Ask questions—that’s you who needs to ask questions, not them. Not only is this the best way to begin understanding what your mentee already knows, it will help establish a dialogue instead of a speech.
- Share freely – and explain simply.
- Don’t direct. Share your experience, but allow the other person to apply that insight to their own situation and personality. They don’t have to do exactly as you do or did.
- Know that some of the best lessons come from your failures, not your successes.
- Be proactive – your mentee may not want to impose or may not know what they should do next.
- It often comes down to who you know. Don’t forget to introduce them to your network and relationships as appropriate.
- Respect the confidentiality of your relationship. What you think of this individual is not for water cooler comment.
- Relax, every meeting doesn’t have to contain a lesson. Don’t be afraid to simply shoot the breeze.
- You gained your know-how over the years. This is an advantage your mentee doesn’t have. Never forget from whence you came.
- Be a great listener and don’t fail to provide positive reinforcement.
You’ll know you’ve become a valued mentor once your mentee is coming to you with questions instead of waiting for your lead. Being a mentor really can be a great gig. Give it a try. And don’t be surprised if you end up learning a thing or two yourself!