Over the last three decades I have spent a significant amount of time in mentoring initiatives - being a mentor myself, and also helping organizations establish their own mentoring programs and cultures. One of the reasons I am so passionate about this topic is in part due to the sustainability factor it creates. Also, a large part of my former world of work involved formal mentoring given that I would only be in a post for 3-36 months before being rotated on to a new leadership position. Part of my success was highly contingent on supporting others to gain their own new skills and insights!
Three things to keep in mind when mentoring is:
What is it that my protege/mentee wants to learn about? Mentors are there to serve the protege, through their stories, insights and sharing. It's easy for mentors to get caught up in "walking down memory lane" and getting the protege to set the focus based on their own goals and needs can be important to frame and focus the conversations. One activity to undertake early on in your conversations is to have the protege highlight 3-5 core goal areas they want to focus on. These can provide themes for your regular conversations.
Mentoring is about sharing past experience and learning - what's worked and what hasn't. It's always important to reinforce that mentoring conversations include one perspective (the mentors) and experience base in a specific role, organization or industry. Providing the range around what's worked, and what hasn't, is also an important way to reflect the varied world of leadership and work today. Finally, provide a context to the conversations. With changes occurring in the business context so quickly today, what worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow.
Mentors and proteges should both benefit. When mentoring pairings are well done, and the program is supported, both mentors and proteges should feel that they are both getting something out of the mentoring partnership and conversations. If the mentor has not yet considered their goals and what they want to get out of mentoring, this may be a good opportunity to do so.
I have many more posts dedicated to the topic of mentoring, given my own focus professionally on this topic. Take a look at some of the other Teams365 posts on the topic of mentoring here. I'll be sharing a past post on mentoring in its' entirety on Friday, for our FlashbackFriday post.
Have a great Wednesday,
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