Successful Professional Mentoring

Katie Kelly joined us today to reveal the secrets to being a successful professional mentor.

While the value of having a successful professional mentor is often appreciated by the masses, how to go about identifying and managing a mentor-mentee relationship remains a mystery to many.

Most mentor relationships develop naturally.

Sometimes people think that the only way they can be mentored is if they are formally assigned one in their workplace. This is not true. There are all kind of mentoring relationships. In fact, you are inevitably mentoring someone right now, and you don’t even know it. However, the richest professional mentoring relationships happen organically with two simple ideas at the helm: I want what you have and will you help me get there?

Mentees need to be pro-active when navigating their mentor relationship.

It is critical that mentees initiate and drive the bulk of the communications and the work that is involved in mentoring.  Mentors want to know why they in particular have been identified by the potential mentee to help them achieve their professional goals.  Once you agree to a time commitment and the areas you want to work on, and then set up a schedule.  It is the mentee’s responsibility to set up the meetings and drive the agenda.  At the end of each meeting, the mentor should always ask for next steps or action items that should be completed before your next gathering. 

Establish rules of the road with your mentor.

Mentor relationships, like all professional relationships must be built on a solid foundation of trust and respect for one another’s time, resources and relationships.  Mentors don’t want to feel overburdened by responsibility within the relationship—so it is always critical to be attuned to signs, even non verbal communication by your mentor, that could be indicating that the relationship is in need of a tune up.

Heed Your Mentor’s Advice

It seems like it should go without saying but you need to be sure you are willing to heed the advice your mentor gives you and be open and flexible enough with your own plans to incorporate potential  changes in your journey.  Sometimes we think we are open to advice and want to think we are, but when we hear something that doesn’t fit into our set plans, it can be challenging to digest.
 

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