We often default to negative thinking. “What’s wrong?” “How can we fix this problem?” Stop thinking in terms of deficit, and instead focus on discovery, dream, and design.
You’ve created a mentoring agreement with your mentoring partner and your work plan is in place. Now it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work, and make the most of your mentoring relationship.
If you are a mentor, it means providing support to your mentees as they work on their goals, challenging them to get out of their comfort zone and try new approaches, and helping them see new possibilities for themselves as they pursue achievement of their goals.
If you are a mentee, you will want to let your mentor know the kind of support you need to be successful. Identify ways your mentor can challenge you to stretch and reach your goals. Think about what your mentor can do to help you envision and move towards your desired future.
We’ve asked dozens of mentors and mentees about what works for them. Here is a list of strategies mentors have used successfully.
- Set up networking opportunities
- Establish intermediate goals and reward their achievement
- Share personal examples of successes and failures that match the situation under discussion
- Share lessons learned and best practices
- Provide positive feedback
- Offer guidance and assistance in executing or resolving a challenging issue
- Be empathetic and show sincere concern
- Ask probing questions to stimulate your mentee’s thinking
- Help mentee discover their own answers rather than give them yours
- Encourage specific activities that focus on a goal area of improvement (external assignments, challenging internal rotations or projects)
- Suggest relevant articles and books to read
- Enhance mentee’s exposure through presentations and briefings to leadership
- Teach mentee a new skill or identify courses/training opportunities to improve skills
- Encourage continued formal education
- Offer feedback when results fail to measure up to expectations
- Create opportunities that demonstrate new knowledge and skills
- Develop specific plan/timeline with intermediate goals
- Arrange for interactions with senior leaders when possible
- Monitor and celebrate progress
- Encourage mentee to get feedback from peers, supervisors and senior leaders
Takeaway: Review these three lists with your mentoring partner, discuss additional options and get to work!