January is National Mentoring Month - Here Is Our Complete Guide!
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a mutually beneficial learning relationship that involves building trust, sharing advice, and modeling positive behavior. In many ways it is similar to coaching. The goal of mentorship training is to help someone else be successful at what they’re doing.
This type of relationship is often found in the workplace. It may begin within the first few days of a mentee's employment, but can last much longer than that! Mentorship training can develop into lifelong friendships as you grow and learn from each other.
What does a mentor do?
A mentor speaks from experience, acts as a resource, and gives insight to guide decisions. They are a friendly face, a trusted point of contact, and a positive role model.
In the workplace, a mentor is called upon for a wide range of requests—from giving a tour, to introducing a mentee to colleagues and customers. The support and information that mentorship training provides cannot be substituted.
Who benefits from mentoring?
Everyone benefits from mentoring! A mentor benefits by directly impacting the life of the mentee in positive ways. Mentorship provides the opportunity to give something back, and to create a legacy. The mentee benefits by gaining valuable knowledge, and by immediately having a trusted point of contact. In addition, mentorship training directly benefits your organization. Mentees can assimilate to their roles quicker, and become fully productive at a faster pace.
A mentor is one of any organization’s greatest resources. Having a committed mentor is a key factor in improving employee engagement—and we know that high engagement means employees will stay longer, contribute more, and find more fulfillment in their positions.
Must-do’s as a mentor
The two main must-do’s as a mentor are to communicate effectively, and to adopt the role of an advisor. Though efficient mentorship training requires an extensive skillset, building upon these two qualities will set any mentor up for success.
Keeping lines of communication open during mentor training may seem obvious. However, it’s easy to have an initial meeting followed by a decline in communication. Instead, a mentor should stay available to a mentee. You should reach out, and regularly set aside time to meet with your mentee.
Mentorship training requires that a mentor advise—not manage—their mentee! Though a mentor and mentee may share a similar career discipline, they are individuals with different experiences and challenges. Your choices may not be suitable for your mentee. Mentorship training requires the ability to view situations from another perspective, and to guide decisions while in someone else’s shoes.
Mentoring 201 - The Next Steps for Success
After you have a solid understanding of what mentorship training entails, you’ll be able to build upon the skills it requires. The next steps for success include preparing for discussion, setting goals, identifying career paths, and establishing development needs.
Planning for a successful discussion
Preparation is key! Reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of your mentee. This will help you plan the right questions to ask, and effectively guide the conversation.
Remind your mentee that you are here for their benefit, and that the discussions you share are confidential. This will help build trust with your mentee, and lead to a more productive conversation. Establishing trust and being honest will allow you to be as helpful as possible to your mentee.
As you share information with your mentee, it can be easy to forget the other half of productive conversation…listening! Give your mentee the chance to contribute to the conversation. The information you provide is valuable, but simply talking at someone won’t set them up for success. A two-way conversation allows you to understand someone. Remember that a mentor is an adviser, not a professor!
A key part of mentorship training is the establishment of short and long-term goals. A mentor should understand both the interpersonal and job-related skills of the mentee. As the mentee shares their goals, step back and mentally assess. Do their skills match their aspirations? What will they need to learn to achieve their goals? Is there a different path your mentee should take that will better suit them? Asking these questions will help you effectively lead a mentee through mentorship training.
Identifying career paths
After understanding where your mentee would like to be in the future, it’s time to come up with some options for consideration. As your mentee takes their next steps, you may suggest they continue in their current role. This means that your mentee is where they should be, and can view this role as their opportunity to gain additional knowledge and experience. Another option may be moving into another role within the same department. This way, they can gain insight on what type of work they may enjoy or find success in. A third option your mentee may consider is to move to a related department. In doing this, they can gain an understanding of how different departments interact and impact each other.
Establishing development needs
After covering the goals and career paths with your mentee, the next part of mentorship training is to show them the paths to achievement. Establishing development needs will help decide the strategies and tactics your mentee should draw upon to make their goals a reality. Personal development and job-related development are equally important when it comes to setting a mentee up for success. Define these needs in separate categories, and make sure your mentee understands the importance of both.
When starting a new role, it’s easy to become overwhelmed—especially when starting a new career. Think about your first job, and of those who helped you during your first few weeks. Reflect upon the conversations you had, and recall the benefits of those talks. Then, get excited about the difference you can make as a mentor. The impact of great mentorship training is larger than you may think!
Contact us and learn how you can become a better mentor to your organization in 2023 and beyond.