We talk a lot about how everyone can benefit from a mentor regardless of position. But what actually makes a great mentor? It is, after all, a serious responsibility. A mentor must believe in their mentee and offer constructive guidance at critical junctures.
Thinking of becoming a mentor? Here’s how to be a great one.
Not Just an Employee
A mentor who learns about their mentee’s personal life can give more constructive guidance. The mentor will understand which external factors are influencing the mentee’s perspective and what advice will help them the most.
Openness to Learning
Be open to learning from your mentee. Not only will this build trust and validate the mentee’s sense of professional self-worth, but it will likely open you to new ideas and make you test your own assumptions.
Continue to grow your own skill set. Take classes, attend speaking engagements and educate yourself on industry trends. This will make you a more valuable source of knowledge, and demonstrate to your mentee that education pays off.
Commit time on a regular basis to mentoring your mentee. Whether it’s biweekly or monthly check-in’s, following through is a critical part of being a successful mentor.
Read “Mentoring Myths that are Hurting Your Finance Team” to learn about how different, long-standing myths can limit your effectiveness as a mentor.
Be a Sounding Board
Listen to understand, not just to reply. Be willing to ask questions that will help guide the mentor to a decision.
You set goals for yourself and your team (if applicable). It makes sense, therefore, that you collaboratively create mutually agreed-upon goals for the mentoring relationship. This can create accountability, as well as give direction (at least initially) to your meetings and conversations.
Have a Mentor
Connect with people from other industries and have a mentor who can offer advice that you trust. The more diversified your network, the more you’ll be able to offer valuable feedback to your mentee.
Want to ask someone to be your mentor? Read this.
Try to operate from a posture of service, not judgement. The mentee must feel that you have their best interests at heart. This will come when the mentee understands that you can empathize with their situation and challenges.
At the same time, be willing to give constructive feedback if the need arises. This can be a delicate balancing act as you help your mentee evaluate a different approach. The goal is to help the mentee learn how to leverage their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.
Model the behaviors that you’d like to see your mentee develop.
The Long Haul
Mentoring requires patience – an awareness that this is not a short-term process. By committing to a long-term mentor/mentee relationship, there is a chance to see advice come to fruition and to reflect on the impact of various decisions.
Being a mentor is not a short-term commitment to be taken lightly. Great mentors lead by example, listen to understand and get to know the mentee as more than just an employee. Successful mentors operate from a place of service. They offer constructive feedback, help with goal setting and continue to grow their own skill set. While a good mentor can instruct and guide, the great ones inspire.
Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.
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