Successful Mentoring: Part 3
|Have you ever considered mentoring others? A successful mentoring relationship provides reciprocal benefits for both mentee and mentor. Mentoring can be one way of enhancing your career and professional development. If you would like to know more about how to do it successfully, check out the post below.
||Career & Work Life Matters
Vol 2, no. 8
|This is the 3rd post in our series of 3 articles looking at different aspects of mentoring. The previous issues were about the benefits of mentoring for your career, and how to make mentoring work. This issues focuses on some of the questions to consider if you’d like to mentor others.
| In the most successful mentoring relationships learning is shared. If you have benefited from mentoring relationships, you many wish to contribute to the personal and professional development of others. There are many opportunities available for both formal and informal mentoring. Read the article below to discover how to be better prepared to begin your journey as a mentor.
1. What are your personal reasons for being a mentor?
Individuals may take on mentoring roles for a variety of reasons. While there is no “right reason” to be a mentor, understanding your personal motivation is important. Being a mentor takes time and effort. Having a sense of purpose will support continued engagement in the face of competing demands.
2. What is your perspective on a successful mentoring relationship?
The ability to develop a good working relationship with your mentee is an essential foundation for the mentoring process. A good way to prepare for this discussion is to analyze your previous experience of successful mentoring or other working relationships. What were the key elements that made them successful?
What ground rules would you like to apply to your new relationship? These might include a variety of factors, such as meeting time and frequency, and roles and expectations. Although the relationship will develop and change over time, gaining clarity in the early stages will support the development process.
3. What is the scope of the relationship?
It is important that there is a shared understanding of what is included and excluded from the mentoring relationship. You may choose to be work-focused, or you may be more concerned with personal development, or a combination of personal and professional development.
Does your mentoring relationship overlap with a relationship in a different context? If so, how might these impact each other? Are there any taboo subjects for your work together? How do you deal with confidential information?
Successful mentoring relationships may take a variety of forms, but it is important to create a shared understanding of their scope and boundaries. You can play an important role by guiding your mentee to consider the issues that contribute to a successful partnership.
4. How will you deal with differences?
Access to a diverse learning network is an important element of successful personal and professional development. As a mentor you are in an unique position to offer different perspectives and help your mentee recognize “blind spots”.
However, it is likely that the mentoring relationship will also include areas of disagreement. How can you maintain a productive working relationship despite different views? If you anticipate conflict and agree a process for managing it with your mentee, it will be easier to address when it arises. It is important to consider your preferred conflict style and how this might impact the relationship.
The ability to manage conflict is an important personal and professional skill. The mentoring relationship can be a relatively safe space within which to enhance this area of development. This is more likely to occur if the issue has been discussed ahead of time.
Although mentoring relationships are varied and dynamic, advance consideration of your personal goals and preferences, and some of the obstacles that may arise can help you to be a more successful mentor.
| If you have mentored others, share your experience below.
What advice would you give to prospective mentors?