Mentoring is a cost effective valuable tool for developing our most important asset, our people. A successful mentoring process depends on the partners sharing common goals and expectations, having a commitment to the mentoring practice, and giving and receiving trust and respect.
Both the mentor and the mentee give and grow in the mentoring process. You, the mentor, have the opportunity to review your accomplishments and challenges, as a reminder of lessons learned. In sharing your expertise you are leaving a legacy and guiding another’s career path. This also gives you an opportunity to review and reenergize your personal career goals. You, the Mentor will get many benefits from this experience. Here are just a few additional benefits you might consider:
• Personal satisfaction in helping someone grow professionally
• Learning from the Mentee
• Building new Relationships
• Developing your skill as a “teacher”—helping someone clarify their career goals
• Developing your skill as a “guide” – helping someone navigate the waters of the organization
• Developing your skill as an “advisor” – helping someone find their strengths and weaknesses
• Receiving recognition
• Future pay-offs
As you reflect on being a mentor, think about who you would like as a mentee and what you would like to impart to them. This is, after all, going to be a partnership.
• Do you want someone who seems to be following your same career path?
• Do you want someone who has skills which you have strengths in?
• Do you want someone who has different or similar skills as you?
• Do you want someone who has interest in similar skills and knowledge as you, but does not possess those competencies now?
• Do you want someone who is motivated by upward mobility?
Use the above questions to help you respond to the questions on the Mentor Application
MENTOR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIESDevelopment of your mentee depends on exploring career aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, collaborating on means to “get there,” implementing strategies, and evaluating along the way. You as the mentor provide the “light” for the mentee to follow. Sharing your wisdom and past experiences is what the mentee looks for from you. Here are a few roles and responsibilities to help you in the process:
• Support the mentee’s development of professional and interpersonal competencies through strategic questioning, goal setting, and planning
• Create a supportive and trusting environment
• Agree to, and schedule uninterrupted time with your mentee
• Stay accessible, committed, and engaged during the length of the program
• Actively listen and question
• Give feedback to the mentee on his/her goals, situations, plans and ideas
• Encourage your mentee by giving them genuine positive reinforcement
• Serve as a positive role model
• Provide frank (and kind) corrective feedback if necessary
• Openly and honestly share “lessons learned” from your own experience
• Keep discussions on track
• Respect your mentee’s time and resources
• Participate in the scheduled events for the program:
• Seek assistance if questions arise that you cannot answer
Shadowing Events: “Take your mentee to work”- meetings- include them in any when possible, presentations, etc., Look for opportunities to include your partner in what you do. Your mentee will be able to observe you and how you demonstrate your strong competencies.
Work Sharing: Look for or design learning assignments, where your mentee can assist you with projects to better understand your contribution to the organization.
Hands-On Training: Find opportunities to share specific knowledge and introduce your protégé to new work within the organization.
Introducing: Look for opportunities to introduce your mentee to key players or to others to broaden their prospective on the Organization.
Listen more than talk. Review the Effective Questioning sheet for ideas on progressing and the active listening worksheet to find out what will work best with your mentee.
Effective QuestioningAs a Mentor, it can be very easy to want to just jump in and solve your Mentee’s problems for him/ her. However, your role is to help the Mentee think for him/herself, and to do so, this involves you asking thought-provoking questions. Help your partner self-discover.
Questions should usually be open ended questions: Questions that can’t be answered with a one word answer. We want you to be a Questioning Coach. Using questions to help your protégé reflect on their experiences and learn from yours. Being a questioning coach gives you, the mentor, an opportunity to:
• Uncover additional facts and information about your mentee
• Confirm your protégé’s goals, aspirations, and needs
• Explore strong feeling about situations
• Define problems and possible solutions
• Discover your mentee’s commitment to their growth
Exploratory questions – to assess the real issues and gain greater understanding:
• What are the most interesting aspects of your job?
• Why did you pick this to concentrate on?
• What do you want to gain?
• What do you want to be known for?
• What do you understand the issue to be?
• What tells you that your assessment is correct? What are other people’s perceptions of this issue?
• What assumptions are you making here?
• What other ideas do you have?
• How long has this been as issue?
• What did you learn from past experiences that you didn’t expect to learn?
• What are the reasons behind an issue?
• Have you tried to resolve this issue before? Why or why not? If yes, what was the result?
• What choices do you have?
• What progress have you made?
• What other ideas do you have?
• How are you using the things/ideas we’ve spoken about?
• What results are you looking for?
Empowering questions – to assist the Mentee to think for him/herself:
• What are the skills you want to develop?
• What strategies come to mind when looking at a situation?
• What do you see as possible solutions here?
• What outcomes are you after here? Are these outcomes reasonable given the circumstances?
• What resources are available to help you move forward?
• What key players do you need help from?
• What forces may help and/or hinder you?
• What other information do you need to arrive at a solution?
• What are the pros and cons of each solution?
• What is the first step you need to take to achieve your preferred outcome?
• What alternative strategies should you develop?
• How will you know you have mastered or successfully enhanced a competency?
• How will you apply your new skill?
Ask more questions to really understand the responses you’ve been given. Rephrase the answer to ensure you have heard the reply correctly. Most importantly—Ask more questions & give fewer answers. Remember, he who speaks the most, learns the most!
Giving Feedback—Checklist for MentorsThink of feedback as a teaching/counseling opportunity. Exhibit positive or neutral body language.
Do use:• Good Eye contact – no scary stares
• Interested/neutral facial expression
• Nodding of head to show understanding or agreement
• Calm tone of voice
• Even voice volume
• Sitting slightly forward
• Relaxed arm & hand placement
Do Not use:• Reduced eye contact, scowling, or narrowing of eyes
• Tense or aggressive posture
• Rocking, pen bouncing, hand wringing, or your specific version of nervousness/defensiveness
• Hands on hips or tightly clenched
• Arms tightly crossed across chest
• A blank expression
Use “I” statements. Give examples from your experience. Don’t say, “but” or “however”.
Avoid statements that describe someone instead of their actions Ensure feedback is specific.
Give the other person an opportunity to ask questions or share their viewpoint.
Listen – carefully not only to the words but to the feelings and body language of the speaker. Don’t become defensive.
Don’t interrupt when the other person is responding.
Allow time and privacy for feedback- avoid/minimize distractions, set aside a uninterrupted time for your feedback session.
Help your mentee plan for next steps. Ask questions such as:
• What is a step you can do to reach your desired outcome?
• What are some ways you can think of to resolve this challenge?
• What resources are available to you?
• What can I do to help you?
Tips for Being a Good Listener
Be an “active” listener. That means doing the following:
• Give the employee your undivided attention.
• Stay off your phone, off your computer, and avoid disruptions.
• Hear the person out. Avoid interrupting.
• Be aware of your non-verbal cues such as nodding, smiling, and maintaining eye contact.
• To ensure that you heard the person correctly,
Paraphrase “As I understand . . .”
“So, you’re saying that . . .”
“Let me see if I got that . . .”
“So, your three concerns are . . .”
“There seem to be a few issues . . .”
“So, our main goals this time are . . .”