Like any relationship, mentoring can fall into a routine that can impact the quality of your time together. Here are some tips on how to enliven or refresh your relationship.
- Every quarter, spend time reviewing what has worked well and what changes/adjustments you need to make moving forward so that the relationship stays interesting to both parties.
- Get out of your routine. For example, if you've been using an agenda, try a few meetings without one and vice versa.
- Observe each other in action. Doing so gives each person a first-hand look at how your partner really performs under certain circumstances. This allows you to provide feedback to that person which can enrich the discussions that ensue.
- Go to the other person's work area and get oriented to what they do. This will give you a greater understanding of their work and also open up possibilities for further discussions in areas you may not have thought about.
- Vary your meetings. If you meet for breakfast, change it to lunch. If you meet in someone's office, meet in the cafeteria or outside the company.
- Read a book that focuses on an area of development, i.e. leadership; and exchange thoughts and ideas while reading the book. This is especially helpful if you feel you've run out of things to discuss.
- Debate an issue. Take a particular action the company has undertaken that may have been controversial and you each pick a side and debate the pros and cons by preparing your arguments in advance and presenting to the other partner.
- Attend an outside professional meeting with your partner. It's a great way to share a resource and also to assist the partner in networking with others.
- If possible, engage in a joint project where you actually work together. By working together, you'll each get a better grasp on how each operates within a team.
- Use a case study approach. In between the time for your next meeting, pick an event that occurred that you would both like to review and see what lessons can be learned.
So if you find yourself "stuck" in your mentoring relationship, try a few of the above and you'll discover more ways to share and grow. Feel free to come back to our blog and provide your feedback on what happened.
Dean Mitchell | Dreamstime.com