Mentoring applies to so many different aspects of people's lives as well as many different professions. Last week we shared a story about the important role mentoring played in an actor's life. This week we found an inspiring story and the important message a writer has to share about mentoring.
Ken Gire's blog, The Importance of a Mentor, hit so many key points that we try to share with our Management Mentors' audience. Gire details his dream of becoming a writer, but recognized the lack of a mentor early in his career. Now a successful writer, Gire is looking to mentor other writers who are beginning their journey. These are Gire's thoughtful suggestions as to what to look for in a mentor:
Truth. Without honesty about your craft you will literally never move your writing to the next level.
Encouragement. While nearly every writer needs to improve in specific ways, gifted and growing writers have areas they’re already doing well in.
Tools and Resources. A coach/mentor doesn’t do the practicing and learning for you. You still have to put in the work. But a good mentor will point you in the right direction.
- Hope and Reality. You need to know if you’ve “got it.” A good mentor will either bathe you with hope of the goal yet fulfilled (publishing well), or he will splash you with the reality that you’ll always have a day job.
Management Mentors agrees whole-heartedly with Gire, and would also add:
- Facilitate, not clone. Your mentor already exists. This world doesn't want an exact copy of him/her. We want you! Look for a mentor whose goal is to facilitate you in achieving your goals, not clone him/herself.
- Listen. A great mentor will assess your strengths and your areas for development by making the effort to listen to you while blocking out the "noise."
- Commitment. The ideal mentor will show up! Finding the right mentor for you may be the first half of your battle, but getting your dream mentor to make the commitment and make time for YOU is equally as important.
Have you had any experience going out and looking for a mentor? Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.
For the Mentor:
1. Facilitate not clone.
2. Uniqueness is important.
3. Consistency is critical
4. Faking it is not making it. Provide honest feedback.
5. Empower rather than solve.
6. You are not responsible- you have shared responsibility.
7. Appreciate what you’re giving.
8. It’s not coaching; it’s mentoring.
9. Honor your limits and boundaries.
10. Listening is hard but advice is easy. We could all use more listeners in the world.
For the Mentoree:
1. It’s your job, not your mentor’s job.
2. Think commitment, not lip service.
3. Show up for the relationship.
4. Give back and get more.
5. Keep expectations realistic.
6. It’s risky, but it’s healthy.
7. Be yourself; we already have everybody else.
8. Don’t be afraid of your mentor’s silence.
9. Pay it forward.
In my training, we discuss roles of mentors and mentorees. Below are some of the things that mentors do when working with their partner:
- Guide a mentoree in the specific topic/task/issue at hand. This guiding can take several aspects. A mentor can provide a roadmap if the issue is unfamiliar to the mentoree. Or perhaps the mentor can simply provide a listening ear if the mentoree has experience in the area and is only in need of validating what he/she is proposing to do.
- Assess a mentoree's strengths and areas for development. This can be done by working with the mentoree but, with permission from the mentoree, and without violating program guidelines. The mentor may also speak with a mentoree's colleagues to gain their perspective as well.
- Link the mentoree to important resources. This can involve books and professional associations. This may also include opening the mentor's networking connections and sharing those with the mentoree, as appropriate.
- Facilitate a mentoree's increased self-confidence. This is done by providing feedback on the areas of growth the mentoree is gaining through the mentoring relationship. In some respects this is probably the most significant impact that a mentor can have. Growth is not only limited to gaining expertise, but also growing as an individual and becoming whoever the mentoree seeks to be.
If you have any questions about a corporate mentoring program, you may contact us by clicking here.
As companies become increasingly more international, this has an impact on recruiting and retaining qualified staff. We know that mentoring has a significant impact in engendering company loyalty but what about the challenge of mentoring pairs matched across the globe? Out of all the recent technological tools (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) the one that is the most significant for mentoring is the tiny webcam. This little tool that often costs less than $35 and is easily installed on one's computer, the webcam overcomes the challenges of long distance mentoring. Being able to see my partner dramatically improves the communication and the mentoring experience. Some of my clients have installed webcams in an office area and allow mentoring participants to sign up for time so they can conduct their meetings. So, if you're in a long distance mentoring relationship, add a webcam and find out how valuable this little tool can be in enhancing your mentoring experience.
In training we teach mentors that mentoring is about establishing a trustful relationship. It's nice to see a mentor articulate this achievement. Here is a comment made by one of our client's mentor at a financial institution who really captures what mentoring is about:
"I felt I was really contributing to my mentoree's development. I saw mentoree take advice and have success. It was rewarding to see this and additionally, the level of conversation is different with a mentor than with staff. The mentoree really can ask questions without performance anxiety. I was excited to be able to see my advice working and rewarded by the fact that my mentoree wants to continue after the program is over."
This mentor understood that the relationship was very different from a managerial one and that this relationship allowed the mentoree to grow and succeed. When a mentoree wishes to continue the relationship after the formal program, there can be no greater compliment for that mentor.
In my experience, about 80% of pairs continue some type of contact after the formal program is over. This is a reflection on how well the pairs were able to establish a developmental, mentoring relationship. What are the results in your program? Are you getting this kind of feedback? If not, what is missing in making your program more successful?