Business Mentoring Matters
If your company does not have a formal mentoring program, this does not mean you can’t find a suitable business mentor within or outside your company. Finding a business mentor is an important strategic decision; therefore you want to take the time needed to explore the right mentor for you.
Are you taking part in a mentoring program? Are you a a mentoree? Before you read our list of requirements for an effective mentoree, think about this for a minute:
On Friday, we posted a blog about mindful listening for mentors. We received some great feedback from you, and so decided to share tips for mindful listening for mentorees. Listening in a mentoring relationship is one of the key components to make that relationship a success.
Here are some tips for listening in a mentoring relationship for the mentoree:
Listen to your present: Take a deep breath and while exhaling become aware of what is uppermost in your mind (your last phone call, that deadline you have to meet, etc.) and decide to put this aside until after the session is over so as not to be distracted in your work with your mentor today.
A number of organizations use group mentoring as a model to share information and foster professional development. The structure of this model can vary widely... from meeting once a quarter to meeting once a month. What is often forgotten in setting up group mentoring is the need to establish group norms at the first meeting so that participants will understand how to engage. In our workbook: Group Mentoring: Manual for Mentors*, we have a list of group norms that are suggested. Below are some of those norms you may want to use if managing a group:
- Be the driver in the relationship. Your mentor is there to assist you, not do it for you.
- Be prepared for each session. Use an agenda if it's helpful.
- Always have a topic for discussion or a question ready that will stimulate a conversation.
- Know the boundaries around contact: how often you can meet, what phone calls you can make beyond your regular meetings, emails, etc. If you don't do this at the beginning, you may end up underutilizing or overutilizing your mentor.
- Be honest with your mentor and with yourself. Mentoring is the perfect relationship in which to share your shortcomings and concerns in a supportive environment so take advantage of it.
- Be open to your mentor's perceptions, opinions and feedback. You need not accept everything that is shared, but at least be willing to listen to it.
- Share with your mentor how s/he is helpful. This will give the mentor a sense of what they can do for you and they will be encouraged to do more.
- Say thank you. It doesn't get said enough.
- Don't be afraid to say "goodbye" when the time comes. Some relationships last a long time while others do not. If you feel it's time to move on, let your mentor know. Tell them that what they've given you is allowing you to move on at this point.
- Have fun! Not everyone is lucky enough to take part in a mentoring program. Remember to relish in what may be the opportunity of a lifetime!
A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. ~ Unknown
One of the things we do in our training of mentors and mentorees is to identify one's preferred style of mentoring or being mentored. Here's a question for you: if you were mentoring someone on a subject that your mentoree was completely unfamiliar with, which style would you be likely to use: Directed, co-directed, consulting or self-directed? The answer: Directed. Out of the 4 styles mentioned, the directed style is best used when assisting a mentoree in an area they are unfamiliar with. A directed style can be characterized as one that tends to be one-way (mentor to mentoree), is about providing very specific information on "how to do something". It's about providing direction, providing the map.