You’ve signed on to be mentor and your bright-eyed mentee is ready to soak up any and all guidance, wisdom and feedback you’re willing to share. As your start to navigate your mentee over roadblocks, keep this advice in mind:
- Take an interest in your mentee as a person.
Get to know your mentee on not just a professional level, but on a personal level. Research indicates that unless mentees have a basic relationship with their mentors, there is no difference between those who were mentored and those who were not mentored.
- Ask questions.
Don’t assume anything. Ask questions that draw out key information about the situation and help the mentee sort things out.
- Actively listen.
Take the time to listen and with an open mind. Listening well enables you to read between the lines and get a full picture before you offer advice.
- Speak in specifics.
“Keep at it!” isn’t going to cover it. The more specific you can get with your feedback, the better.
- Be patient.
Everyone learns at a different pace. And some need more guidance than others.
- Be honest.
You’re not doing anyone any favors by sugarcoating your response. It’s best to be straight-forward. Just make sure your keeping your feedback constructive.
- Celebrate their achievements.
Since mentees will often reach out with tough situations, mentorship conversations may not always take a positive tone. Highlighting your mentee’s successes will help your mentee build confidence.
- Lead by example.
Your mentee will learn a lot by simply observing your behavior and will likely follow your lead. So be self-aware and serve as a positive role model.
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