No matter how well you articulate mentoring goals, define the process and celebrate milestones, finding the path- the rhythm- of a mentoring relationship takes time. This is why enabling, the third phase, takes the longest to complete.
Mentoring unfolds in many different ways. While some relationships just seem to flow, others meander. What makes the difference? The simple answer is doing the work. Real progress depends on communicating well, monitoring progress on goals and continuing to grow the relationship. None of this can happen without self-disclosure, a respect for and openness to the feedback process. Regularly assess your mentoring relationship to make sure you are on track.
8 Questions to Help Mentees Stay on Track
- Are you meeting regularly with your mentoring partner?
- Do you clearly communicate schedule changes?
- Do you minimize or eliminate interruptions and distractions when you meet?
- Are you clear in how you communicate what you need?
- Are you able to acknowledge and address conflicts as they occur?
- Have you talked with your mentor about your progress?
- Does your mentor offer regular feedback?
- Are you conscientious about safeguarding confidentiality?
For a handy list of strategies and checklists for mentors and mentees to keep learning and the relationship on track and promote mutual accountability see our Goals and Accountability Toolkit and our Mentoring Accountability Tools.