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Mentoring youngsters can be an effective way to develop their interpersonal and professional skills. As a mentor, it is your responsibility to provide support and contribute towards their career aspirations through careful guidance. It is all about using your experience, expertise, guidance and wisdom to prepare your mentees for a better future.
Mentoring is a virtue that comes with experience. Nobody can become an inspirational mentor in just one day. It is a life skill that has to be learned, developed and nurtured over a period of time. It’s a continuous learning curve. You must be willing to grow and learn alongside your mentee.
If you are looking for tips to be a better mentor, then here are 5 proven ways that can effectively enhance your mentoring skills.
1. Be Yourself
Honesty is the biggest virtue that a mentor can possess. Always try to be your own self. Share your success stories, but don’t forget to mention about the failures. Mistakes are often the biggest lessons that we get to learn in life. The way you dealt with failures might help them in gaining insight about the ways to build resilience.
Letting them know about your mistakes would not diminish your stature, but it will eventually enhance your credibility among them.
2. Shut Up and Listen
A good mentor is an active, effective, focused and sensitive listener. Putting yourself in the shoes of the mentee is vital for successful mentoring relationships. You need to be genuinely interested in your mentee as an individual. You must know their dreams and goals, so that you can guide them appropriately towards the success route. So it is important to listen to them with patience. Do your best to ignite open-ended probing questions and sit back to listen to the thoughts of a young, creative mind.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
It is the responsibility of the mentor to help young minds set realistic expectations according to their potential and skills. Dreaming big is not a bad thing, but make them understand that achieving a big dream is a step-by-step process. It is important to climb the ladder one step at a time. Make them aware of the professional challenges they might encounter and suggest ideas for overcoming them.
4. Responsible, Reasonable and Respectful
The values of trust and respect are essential for an effective mentoring relationship. It is important to own the bottom-line responsibility. Be respectful towards your mentees. Always be patient and polite, even if they are slow learners. And most importantly, be reasonable and transparent in your approach. If you can follow these guidelines, then your mentees would look upon you as a person whom they can trust and feel free to share their thoughts and concerns.
5. Provide Constructive Feedback
Feedback plays a key role in a healthy mentor-mentee relationship. It is good to appreciate where appreciation is due. But don’t be indifferent to mistakes. It is important to point out their mistakes in a constructive manner. Don’t be judgemental, instead, create a healthy environment that promotes effective discussions and brainstorming. A mentor’s role is to find out positives even from the failures. So make sure that they stay optimistic, whatever the situation be. Make it a point to celebrate a milestone or accomplishment together. It will demonstrate your commitment to your mentees’ professional development and career success.
Mentoring can change lives and careers. Done the right way, it can be the stepping-stone to a successful future. At the same time, negligent mentoring can be demoralising and nip a promising career right in the bud. For being a good mentor, all you need to do is to set the correct examples.
Feature image: University of the Fraser Valley via Flickr.