Mentoring is the learning relationship that occurs between an experienced employee (the mentor) and a less seasoned co-worker (the protégé). While mentoring situations certainly exist outside of organizations, we will focus on the workplace.
A mentor’s responsibility is to guide, teach, and encourage. When assuming this critical role, keep the following tips in mind:
- Communicate your sincere desire to help the protégé develop professionally and personally.
- Earn trust in order to encourage open dialogue.
- Support the learning process with feedback that coaches and motivates.
- Schedule regular status meetings.
- Your function is to counsel, not do your pupil’s job.
The rewards of mentoring are numerous. Mentors earn the respect and appreciation of management and associates, due to their expertise, wisdom and capabilities. As role models, these professionals may assess their own performance more closely, which could lead to increased productivity.
Protégés who listen, embrace constructive criticism and ask questions will benefit from the wealth of knowledge acquired and valuable “been there, don’t do that” advice. They also receive career improvement pointers from a trusted source.
Business owners reap rewards as well. The organization’s capacity and efficiency increase, as mentors are often good candidates for promotion. Mentoring programs also result in increased job satisfaction, which leads to decreased turnover and higher production.
If you’ve ever been asked to serve as a mentor by a supervisor or fellow team member, consider it an extremely high honor. It is a reflection of trust and recognition of your insight as well as confidence in your communication and leadership abilities.