Mentor Tips

If you have ever considered being a mentor but been unsure of what it involves or wondered what it takes to be a good mentor we have put together a few tips to help you decide.

Research has shown that the best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders.  So how do they do that?

Here are six things the best mentors do:

Put the relationship before the mentorship.

All too often, mentoring can evolve into a “check the box” procedure instead of something authentic and relationship-based. Take the time to develop a relationship and develop some rapport. This may involve forgetting formal roles and titles and finding common ground as individuals.

Focus on character rather than competency.

Although one element of mentoring can be around the acquisition of job skills, the best mentors go beyond skill competency and focus on helping to shape “soft skills” such as character, values, self-awareness, empathy and respect.

Show optimism rather than cynicism

Your mentee might come to you with some off-the-wall ideas or seemingly unrealistic ambitious. Consider why an idea might work, before you consider why it might not. Encourage unconventional success, rather than conventional failure. Not all unconventional ideas will work but help your mentee have the energy to fully explore why they might.

Don’t seek only to uncover your mentees’ strengths; look for their underlying passions, too.

Help your mentee to find their calling. The best mentors avoid overriding the dreams of their mentees. If a mentee and a job aren’t a good fit, or if an ambitious mentee realistically has limited upward mobility in a company, a good mentor will help that mentee move on. They might be better suited to another role within their current organisation, or even to a new opportunity somewhere else. A mentor can provide the impartial insight to help them fulfill their true potential.

Let the mentee make mistakes.

Being a mentor means you are there to give advice and guidance, not to keep the mentee from making mistakes. Mistakes are often the best way to learn. Sometimes mistakes can be looked at as risks that just didn’t pay off. The important thing is that the mentee learns from those mistakes and use them to inform future decisions.

Speak up when necessary.

Some mistakes may not be so easy to ignore. If you feel like the mentee is about to make a big decision that could really set them back, say so. Voice your concern and give solid reasons as to why you feel that way. But, at the end of the day, you have to remember that you are there to give guidance and advice, and once you’ve done that, it’s time to sit back and let the mentee make their own choices.

Mentoring is a rewarding experience for both mentee and mentor. So if you think you could benefit from having a mentor or could step up and become a mentor sign up to our mentoring program today.

Find out more about ABDO peer to peer mentoring here.