How do you know if the mentor assigned to you or the one you choose is really supporting you?
You might ask 4 questions: Does your mentor listen? Demonstrate empathy? Share feedback? Review take-aways from new learning with you?
The listening skills of a really fine mentor go beyond fact-checking; beyond judging, beyond problem-solving and are exercised beyond the mentor’s own internal chatter. A truly attentive mentor is good at observing non-verbals; expressing understanding; providing empathy and exercising “other-person” focus.
And then, is your mentor asking, “What do you need from me?’ “What are you ready to take on?” Does your mentor share learnings that worked in a somewhat similar situation? Does your mentor ask you to identify specific goals with real-time starting dates and possible related deadlines?
These are some of the hallmarks of solid mentors who are engaged in the growing process along with the mentees. So what’s your experience? Let us hear a great mentor story from you!
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.
One of the most exciting moves in the game of baseball occurs when the slugger steals a base, then two, then three, then slides home!
In some ways, the dividends of being a mentor are a bit like stealing all the bases. Here’s what one seasoned mentor wrote:
—–“I get to re-teach myself important lessons from my experience, as I prepare to support my mentee.
—–My only mission is to help my mentee become more able, so I concentrate on listening, clarifying, probing and challenging. That carries over into all my relationships and helps ME be a better person and more interesting to be around.
—–Mentoring forces me to re-open my mind to a wider range of alternatives and ways of thinking. I become more creative and thoughtful, and that rubs off on my own habits, judgments and decision-making.
—–Working with mentees from different circumstances helps me look at t hings I might otherwise ignore or never face. I’ve had mentees who are younger, older, of a different gender, culture and race than myself. They have gifted me with a spectrum of views, values, norms and ways of thinking that i can now celebrate.”
WOW! That’s like stealing ALL the bases….in the game of life…and winning the inning!