Mentoring is a brain to pick. An ear to listen and a push in the right direction – John C Crosby
Take a minute to think about the best mentor you’ve ever had.
Was it a manager? A colleague? Maybe a parent, friend or a coach? What made them stand out to you? Did they give good advice? Did they lead by example? Maybe they gave you that push in the right direction when you needed it.
Early in our careers, many of us are eager to find a mentor to encourage, support and guide us. Then, at a certain age, many of us become mentors ourselves. Being a mentor can be exciting, but also a little daunting. It’s a big responsibility. So what does it take to be a great mentor?
Here are our top 5 mentoring tips to make a positive impact on others:
Be the kind of leader that you will follow
Lead by example. By observing how you behave, your mentee can learn a whole lot from you. They’ll pick up information about your “ethics, values, standards and style, attitude, methods and procedures,” writes E. Wayne Hart for Forbes. “They are likely to follow your lead, adapt your approach to their own style, and build confidence. As a mentor, you need to be keenly aware of your own behaviour.”
Be genuinely interested in your mentee as an individual
A mentor/mentee relationship is a personal one. You’ll give mediocre advice when you don’t really know a person. To be a great mentor, truly get to know your mentee on a personal level and be genuinely interested in their hopes, dreams and goals.
Be really honest about mistakes you’ve made.
Sharing your own mistakes and failures is one of the best gifts a mentor can give. Not only is it helpful information for problem-solving purposes, but it also helps build trust and gives your mentee the self-assurance to share their own mistakes.
Know when to give advice…and when not to.
“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K.Trenfor
When you’re mentoring someone, not all feedback or advice is helpful. A great mentor knows when to speak up, but also when to stand back. Your mentee will need your guidance, but be mindful to not be overbearing. Give them enough space to learn and empower them to think for themselves.
Celebrate their achievements.
Always take the time to highlight and celebrate your mentee’s successes and achievements. Give credit where it’s due, and be sure to say thank you. Motivate them constantly. Building their confidence, reinforcing good behavior, and keeping them focused is what mentoring is all about.
A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could – Unknown