Being a mentor is about working hand-in-hand with your mentee. You’re sailing that ship together to achieve goals. As a mentor, how can you make the most of the relationship and have a positive impact?
Agree on Expectations.
Get on the same page from the beginning. Listen to your mentee’s expectations and set your own expectations to make for smooth sailing. If you both know the path you will walk together, then it’s easier to stay the course.
Listen First, Then Advise.
You can advise better if you listen to your mentee. Don’t formulate your responses while they are talking—instead, focus on being present. Fully understanding their point of view helps you provide meaningful and productive advice.
Just as you want your mentee to ask questions, you should be open to asking them questions. Don’t assume. Ask.
Guide Don’t Decide.
You are there to guide your mentee as they walk their path, however don’t fall into the role of making decisions for them. It’s not your job to make their decisions, and they may end up resenting you if you do so. Allow your mentee to form their own conclusions.
Vulnerability is critical in every aspect. Your mentee should open up, but so should you. Be honest about the mistakes you have made and how you have learned from them. Your mentee can learn just as much from your failures as they can learn from your successes.
Results don’t happen overnight. Mentorship is about building a relationship iteratively. Each session builds on the last. As time goes on, the more you learn about them and yourself. As the relationship grows, success will follow.
No two paths are the same. If you understand that from the beginning, you can mold your interactions with your mentee in a way that benefits you both. Listen, guide, and be patient. Mentorship is a skill. The more you mentor, the better you will be able to share your wisdom.