The primary role of a mentor is to use the experience and knowledge they have gained to help a mentee work towards their future career ambitions.
A good mentor should be unconnected with the mentee’s day-to-day work in order to provide objectivity and a bring a focus on the future and the mentee’s personal development.
As a mentor, it is important to take the time to understand the building blocks to a mentee’s personality, preferences and performance in order to be able to give and receive information constructively. Through this process you will both discover if the chemistry of the mentoring relationship is right, as well as the practical experience and knowledge which can be shared.
A good mentor will be patient and not show frustration if it takes some time for the mentee to make changes and to reach their goals.
A mentor may be expected to share information and knowledge gained in the course of their own career, to support the mentee’s career goals and ambitions, exploring opportunities, setting goals, developing contacts and identifying resources.
In some mentoring relationships the mentor may be expected to provide motivation, guidance and emotional support, acting as a role model to the mentee.
Simply talking to someone about challenges faced can in itself go a long way to help a mentee get their thoughts in order and to identify the steps they might take to overcome the challenge.
Often mentoring isn’t about finding solutions for the mentee, but is more about revealing hidden thoughts and assumptions that may be holding the mentee back. Very often the mentee will have the answers that they are looking for, but need some probing questions and a projection of their thoughts to bring these answers to the surface. The mentor acts primarily as a mirror for the mentee, probing their underlying assumptions, ideas and feelings.
The ability to be an attentive and thoughtful listener is another key skill of a mentor, as is having the discipline to keep to relevant timelines and respecting confidentiality. Mentors need to understand that the journey of self-discovery is often a very private experience.
If you think you have what it takes to be a mentor and would like to take up the opportunity to move your own personal development to the next level, then why not take a look at the ABDO Peer to Peer mentoring program.