Is there any tangible evidence of mentoring success? Well, yes, there is.
It is possible to evaluate mentoring success using at least 3 basic measures:
PROFESSIONAL GROWTH: Is the mentee more competent? More able? More responsible for self-development?Becoming as good as can be and better than has been?
PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT: Does the mentee act with increased confidence, making decisions, charting a meaningful career direction?
Doe she or he take more ownership and become more pro-active? Does the mentee Deliver on initiatives with a sense of inner strength that is not over-inflated?
APPROPRIATE RISK-TAKING: Are communications authentic? Can mentor and mentee have honest exchanges about their partnership?
Can the mentee leave some comfort zones to experience breakthrough growth through learning and accomplishing in new arenas?
Measuring the mentoring process needs to be ON-GOING and has the goal of constant improvement at its core!
If you drive much at all, you’ve had the experience of hearing a siren wailing, seeing flashing lights, knowing you MUST pull over very soon to get out of the way of the police, fire or rescue vehicle.
Working in a mentoring relationship can be like that too.
You’ve been speeding along, making great progress and then, over time, you loose energy. You feel pulled over by the side of the road. You know you’re getting warning lights, but you have a bit of confusion. Your mentoring relationship may need life support and somehow you think YOU may be the problem.
One of the biggest obstacles to a successful mentoring relationship IS internal. Constant self-criticism can drain the blood right out of any potent relationship. “I can’t.” It’ll never work.” “It’s too challenging.” “I’m not ready.” “They won’t like it if I do that.” “I never do that very well.” “This could make me different than others.”
These are all wounding words, and they can cut to the core and halt progress. The best remedy is to drive straight forward and ask these questions to confront your inner loudmouth critic: “Am I really helpless?” “Do I actually NEED to escape this next challenge?” “Why?” “Is that really true?” “Do I remember my energy level when I began this?” “What motivated me then?” “Am I ambivalent now? Why?” What could I gain if I drive straight forward?” “What would I get that I don’t have now?”
Having some self-doubt is all too human. But if your roadblock is steady self-defeating chatter within, it’s time for first aid–give yourself aid, first. This applies to mentors AND mentees. Human development is a journey loaded with challenges and obstacles–but the rewards can be SO satisfying–for those who mentor intentionally and for those who apply themselves as mentees.
Imagine that you want to move up to a more rewarding but challenging position. Or enhance your visibility and reputation in an organization. Or make a lateral move that requires skills you don’t have right now. Or change careers altogether. Or begin a career. Or choose between different and competing options?
Having someone who is not your boss and who really wants you to succeed in life can be SO helpful.
Without such a person in your corner, it is harder to build up your skill kit; polish your resume; test your ideas; anticipate changes in a particular industry; or take advantage of experience-based listening and guidance. Life without a genuine mentor is definitely more difficult.
At the same time, life WITH a good mentor can speed your progress; uncover talents you were not aware you possessed; answer questions that can clarify your thinking and action steps; develop your creativity and confidence in problem-prevention and problem-solving; and affirm you as a person interested in life-long learning and positive growth.
Why wouldn’t EVERYONE seek out a few good mentors along the way? Whether the mentoring is formal or informal, life with a mentor has a great deal to recommend it!