Mentoring in general isn't a new concept, but for many firms, setting up a mentoring program is far down on the list of to-do's. Studies have shown that mentoring can be an effective workplace tool. Here are some tips for making the mentoring process a success.
- Set High Expectations: Expectations should be expressed, negotiated, and agreed upon at the beginning of a mentoring relationship. Sometimes mentoring proves disappointing. This disappointment can frequently be traced back to differing or unfulfilled expectations.
- Know the Purpose: Jointly agree on the purpose of the relationship. When you each know what you want and why you want it, you have the basis for building a wonderful relationship.
- Stick to The Schedule: All good things come to those who meet consistently. Determine the regularity of interaction and stick to it.
- Be Accountable: Determine the type of accountability. Mutual responsibility is an important mentoring dynamic! It does not just happen - you must plan for it. Agree together on how you will establish and monitor mentoring tasks.
The heart of empowerment lies not only in what the mentor shares but also in the tasks the mentor gives to the protégé. You must complete the tasks in order to benefit. Accountability is the prod to make sure this happens, because change rarely takes place without it. It can occur many ways: phone calls, probing questions during meetings, or a planned evaluation time.
- Develop Communication Mechanisms:It the mentor sees or learns of an area of need or concern for you - and it may be negative - how and when do you want your mentor to communicate it to you? Determine this important communication mechanism is advance so that it causes no undue harm or ill feeling later on.
- Keep it Confidential: Clarify the level of confidentiality. You both need to make it clear when something you share should be treated as confidential and never, ever violate this trust.
- Determine the Timeframe: Determine the length of your relationship and by all means avoid open-ended mentorship’s. That way both of you can back out without losing face if the mentoring relationship does not meet your expectations. On the other hand, if it goes well you can continue the relationship and set up a new evaluation point.
- Measure Progress: Evaluate the relationship from time to time. Inspecting progress from time to time allows you to reinforce predetermined expectations and agreed upon standards of performance.
- Encourage Feedback: Encourage your protégé to ask for feedback. Although difficult to hear at times, feedback is critical to growth and development. Demonstrate that you are open to hear ideas and suggestions to bring out areas that you may not have discussed at the beginning of your relationship. They may want you to keep on a eye on certain blind spots that were initially overlooked.
- Say Goodbye: A happy ending for a mentoring experience involves closure, in which both parties evaluate, recognize how and where empowerment has occurred, and mutually end the mentoring relationship. What frequently happens in successfully closed mentoring is an ongoing friendship that allows for occasional mentoring and future interweaving of lives as needed.
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