While I have had mentors throughout my life â€“ colleagues, boss, friends, parents and my own brother â€“ none of them were formal or structured mentoring. I was nominated for a Global Women leadership Mentoring program in 2012 which was my first experience of a StructuredÂ Mentoring Program. The program was sponsored by Fortune & US State department and we had women from different regions of the world being mentored by Fortune 500 Global Women leaders for a month.
“This experience made me realize how structuredÂ mentoring can lead to leadership.”
While formal mentoring has its own advantages but it can also be ineffective at times. I personally had both â€“ great and not so great experiences with my mentors. But as someone who has been both a mentor and a mentee, I want to share a few tips for mentors to guide their mentees in a more meaningful way.
At the very minimum, relationship skills required for mentoring include, showing kindness, practicing patience and flexibility, and conveying a sense of appreciation for the individualâ€™s accomplishments. Following are some additional suggestions for mentors:
- Respect your menteeâ€™s time as much as your own.
- Be explicit about the â€˜normsâ€™ for your meetings and your own needs and limits (e.g., time, style of interfacing, etc.).
- Always ask if you can make a suggestion or offer feedback.
- Tell your mentee that she is not expected to follow all of your suggestions.
- Expect your mentee to move toward his/her goals; not yours.
- Express appreciation for any help your mentee gives you.
- Recognize and work through conflicts in a respectful way; invite discussions of differences.
- Keep the door open for your mentee to contact you in the futureâ€”if that is your wish.
- Assume that your schedule always has priority.
- Commit unless you have the time .
- Make your mentee guess about the ground rules for your meetings.
- Automatically give advice or criticism.
- Assume your advice will be followed.
- Expect a clone of yourself.
- Take your mentee for granted or assume the she/he doesnâ€™t need positive reinforcement.
- End the relationship on a sour note.
A mentoring program done right can be very effective. It offers many benefits to an organization as it develops a growing, seasoned workforce, increases productivity, improves strategic planning and provides better succession planning and cost-effective training.
To know more about Biz Divas Mentoring Leadership program or to apply, please clickÂ here.