1. Spend sufficient time getting to know your mentoring partner.
- We bring who we are into our mentoring relationships. Without building a relationship, mentoring becomes a transaction rather than a true learning experience.
2. Always have a meeting date on the calendar.
- When you have a date on the calendar you create momentum and continuity of contact. If you need to reschedule do so immediately.
3. Find ways to communicate in between meetings.
- Stay in contact. Identify early on the best ways to reach and communicate with your mentoring partner.
4. Keep focused on the big picture.
- It is easy to get distracted by daily work pressures and problems. Talk about them but don’t let them dominate your mentoring conversations. To get the most out of mentoring you need focus on your mentee’s personal, professional and career development.
5. Provide feedback regularly.
- It is important to create an expectation that feedback is part of the relationship. Ask your mentee how she prefers to receive feedback – what is helpful and what is not. Model good feedback practices for your mentee.
6. Schedule accountability conversations.
- Don’t wait until something goes wrong or there is a problem in the relationship. Make accountability a mutual responsibility and regularly check in with one another.
7. Revisit the goals to make sure they are still on track.
- Situations change. People change. New goals emerge and some goals lose their luster. Periodically discuss your goals to make sure they are still relevant and worth your time and effort. If they are not, revise or reformulate them.
8. Expect to make mid-course corrections.
- Change happens. Don’t get locked into processes and patterns that are working against you. Do a relationship audit. Check out your ground rules. Check out the pace and process of learning.
9. Use a journal.
- Mentoring is a reflective practice. Thinking about what you are doing helps you get better at it. Using a journal triggers insights and helps fast track your learning as a mentor.
10. Engage in conversation.
- Don’t let mentoring become a transaction. Think about what makes for a good conversation by reflecting on your own experience. Identify five must have criteria and make sure that you engage in mentoring conversations at each meeting.