Mentoring can be a great way to share your professional and institutional knowledge, not to mention brush up on your own coaching skills. Here are some considerations that will help both you and your mentee get the most out of the program.
- Information. Mentors share their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. Consider talking to your mentees not only about what you know, but about how you learned it and how they can pursue further knowledge in the same area.
- Support. Mentors encourage growth through an open and supportive environment. Criticism should be constructive and to the point.
- Goal-setting. Mentors can help mentees envision their ‘career ladder,’ setting specific goals to help the mentee move her career forward in the long term.
- Advice. Mentors guide mentees on how to define and reach their career and work-life goals.
We ask that our mentors do a few specific things, in order to make the program a success for our mentees:
- Keep regular and frequent contacts with your mentee. You should have a face-to-face exchange at least once a month.
- Create an atmosphere of trust. All of your exchanges with your mentee – both personal and professional – are subject to the expectations of professional confidentiality. Although this confidentiality is legally limited, neither of you should share the content of your discussions without the written permission of the other.
- Do not evaluate a mentee’s performance. Instead, offer feedback – making observations or giving suggestions in order to help the mentee improve. Avoid making judgments or issuing evaluative statements.
- Ask a lot of questions of your mentee. For example: Where do you see yourself in the near future? Where are you going with your career? What are you currently doing to get to the next place you want to be? What do you feel you need to do to get to the next level?
- Avoid or limit interruptions from others and distractions such as phones, e-mails and text messages when meeting with your mentee. Active and attentive listening is a key part of being a good mentor.