Whether the mentoring program is formal or informal, the relationship between Mentor and Mentee goes through stages similar to those in any meaningful human relationship.
There are at least three fairly clear stages for the mentoring relationship:
- “The Honeymoon” which is marked by a spirit of agreeability.
- “Testing the Boundaries” which is marked by a spirit of disagreeability.
- “Generative” which is characterized by a spirit of mutuality.
It’s that middle phase that can behave the most like stormy weather. So how do you ride it out? For Mentees, keep your eyes firmly set on your personal goals and be candid in all communications. Accept honest criticism in the belief that it will help shape and speed your progress. Keep asking questions until you’re really clear about the answers–But don’t ask the Mentor to solve or fix anything–figure out your way forward with valuable input. For Mentors, recall that your comments and questions–your candor and genuine interest in your Mentee–make all the difference in sailing through the shoals of life. Everyone faces stormy weather at some point in on the job or elsewhere. Mentors are there to support but not to solve; to guide but not to gloss over occasional tough issues. Plan on enjoying that next phase of mutuality–TOGETHER!
Here’s a list of demands-upon-self that can turn mentoring absolutely golden:
—Devote at least 2 hours a month to the mentoring process, including at least 1 meeting with your mentor.
—Participate in all formal mentoring activities.
—Take full responsibility for your own development.
—Initiate the mentoring process, meeting regularly with your mentor, fulfilling follow-up actions.
—Commit to accelerate the process of your growth.
—Articulate your growth goals, to yourself and to your mentor.
—Invite and accept feedback, coaching, and new challenges.
—Step out of your comfort zone and actively pursue learning opportunities.
—Solicit feedback and receive it for your use.
—Respect the confidentiality guidelines of your mentoring partnership.
—View the formal mentoring process as long-term with strategic focus, rather than for mere day-to-day problem solving.
Whether you’e a Mentor or a Mentee, a sense of urgency on the job matters–because it beats complacency every time.
Folks who are complacent on the job, no matter at what stage of development, just hang out in a comfort zone of safety.
They usually think everything’s pretty much OK, just the way it is.
But those with a strategic vision, for their organization and for themselves, aren’t really comfortable.
They nurture a gut level determination to keep moving forward; keep winning; keep adding skills and tools to their world of work.
These people seek action on critical issues NOW–and want to move forward toward distinction, greatness, unique goals.
They work on renewing their sense of purpose and pay attention to their inner direction. You might think of their approach as urgent care!
The 5-part complex of “vitamin C’s” to maintain this spirit includes Courage, Creativity, Competence, Communication and Competitiveness.
A balanced and steady dose of these will give new meaning to “urgent care” for both Mentor and Mentee career pathways and personal relationships.