Are you looking at mentoring someone right now?

Have you mentored someone in the past or considering mentoring someone in the future?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, you are probably aware that mentoring is enjoying an unprecedented popularity right now. No longer the curiosity of the 70s or the fad of the 80s, its trendiness and novelty has worn off but not its cache — and what’s more it is here to stay!

Mentoring has become a gateway to personal and organizational growth and development. It can be a ticket up the corporate ladder. It can be a powerful pathway for development and career success. It can be the a way of orienting and acclimating new employees to an organization’s culture. It can align a culture and promote a learning organization.

Preparation is key to ensuring successful mentoring. No matter how much mentoring experience you may have had, it is important to remember that each mentoring relationship is a new partnership and therefore unique.

The assumption that one becomes a mentor because one has an area of expertise or experience and therefore there is little need to prepare that individual is erroneous. There is no such thing as a model, because we mentor “who we are.” Therefore, mentors who are clear about who they are  and, prepare themselves for the role based on that knowledge, are more likely to be successful.

Most people would agree, at least in principle, that a mentor is a more experienced individual who contributes to the enhancement of someone else’s growth, knowledge, skills and/or development. To ensure the likelihood of success however, both partners must be actively engaged in preparing, building, sustaining the relationship. It has been demonstrated that:

  • When mentors and proteges share similar expectations about mentoring roles and responsibilities their mentoring relationship is more likely to succeed.
  • Commitment to and engagement of mentoring partners is a key element in establishing, maintaining and experiencing successful mentoring relationships.
  • Attitudes and understandings formed early on in a mentoring relationship influence the success or failure of a relationship later on.
  • Adequate preparation increases the likelihood of high involvement in the mentoring process by both partners.

The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Relationships