The Best Mentors Do These Six Things
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Whether you are part of a formal mentoring program or have an informal mentoring relationship that has formed organically, here’s how to level up your mentoring.
6 things the best mentors do:
Take time to think about your past mentoring relationships and the qualities you want to demonstrate to your mentee. Determine your own motivation for mentoring and how you’d like to grow as a leader through this relationship.
#2. Create structure.
Spend some time early in the relationship discussing what good mentoring looks like, how you will determine success, and what ground rules you are going to set to make sure you stay on track.
#3. Invest in the relationship and the learning.
Great mentors know that good conversations require investing in both the relationship and the learning. Take time at the beginning of the relationship to get to know each other. At each meeting, spend a set amount of time catching up before you dive into working on goals.
#4. Share openly.
Mentees frequently tell us that knowing their mentor experiences their own challenges made all the difference in encouraging them to share openly. Mentors, you can set the tone by sharing first.
#5. Follow up.
Maintain momentum and ensure continuity between meetings by following up on the items discussed at prior meetings. This is much easier to do if you take a few notes on your mentee’s takeaways and commitments at each meeting and review them before you meet again.
#6. Seek and provide feedback (in that order).
Every few months, ask your mentee how the mentoring relationship is going. Encourage them to share what you can do better as a mentor (and really listen). Then, share your thoughts on the same.
What do you do to make the most of your mentoring relationships?
What have you seen the best mentors do?
Lisa Z. Fain is the co-author of The Mentor’s Guide, 3rd Edition and Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring. A global speaker, Lisa is also the CEO of Center for Mentoring Excellence and an expert in creating inclusive cultures through mentoring.