Mentoring is a two-way street. It’s not just about the mentor giving advice but also about the mentee receiving and accepting it. Being an effective mentor means having a deep understanding of one’s mentee and what they need to succeed in their career. For anyone looking to be an effective mentor, here are five tips that will help them get started:
Choose Mentees Carefully
One can’t just mentor anyone. As a matter of fact, the mentee should be someone a mentor knows and understands well enough to guide them through their career path. It’s important that they feel comfortable coming to their mentor for advice, which means choosing the right person is crucial! Guiding traits one should look at in their mentee include being curious, organized, efficient, responsible, and engaged.
Establish a Mentorship Team
As a mentor, it’s important to build a team that can provide support. This includes other mentors, as well as those who are above and below the mentee in the career path they’re following. The more people involved with the trainee – whether by choice or not – could make them feel overwhelmed and confused. Having an established team will ensure no one is overwhelmed and that the mentee gets proper guidance in all aspects of life.
Once a mentee is chosen, it’s time to plan out the session. While one or two random meetings can be helpful in an emergency situation, if this becomes a regular thing, there should be some structure and organization behind them! Mentoring sessions should have clear goals from the beginning so that mentors know what they want to accomplish and mentees know what to expect. Plans can include anything from giving feedback on a project, discussing career goals, or even just reviewing resumes!
Abstain from Committing Mentorship Malpractice
Mentorship malpractice is a term that refers to when mentors say or do things that they shouldn’t, whether it’s giving advice on work that doesn’t belong in their portfolio, treating them like an intern instead of an equal professional, being too critical, being competitive with the mentee, and constraining the mentee to their timeline. Also, a mentor should not discourage mentees from having co-mentors, asking them to advance their project instead of supporting their creativity development by starting their own projects and others.