It can be easier to fail as a mentor than succeed
Mentoring someone is a privilege. For most of us it’s a two way street and we learn as much from our mentees as they do from us. But it is also easy to fail as a mentor, especially when we want the best for our mentees.
Here are 3 ways to fail as a mentor. All of them are centred around not empowering the people we are working with, mistakenly thinking we are helping them.
Set goals for your mentee
The mentee should be clear on why she wants a mentor and why you are meeting. She should be able to define what type of help she’s looking for from a mentor in terms of skills and experience, and the skills she’s seeking to develop now or in the short-term. She should have established goals for your mentoring relationship and clear ideas about what make those outcomes successful. These goals will not be set in stone and can be flexible.
Create a plan for your mentee
During the course of the mentoring relationship, the mentee will need to write a plan herself. You should not do it for her. You could maybe do it in a fraction of the time, but your role is to enable your mentee to do it for herself. Read: What makes a good mentor? If you feel she is making some choices which may not be the best, ask her what was behind her decision to take that particular step.
Do the work for your mentee
Often times your mentor will run into challenges or have difficulties. Your role is to share your experiences so she can take care of herself and rise to those challenges in her own way. Read: How mentoring gave me a new page in a new book! Do not go into coach mode or into territory outside your area of expertise. If you are not a presentation skills or career coach, you can’t drill down into granular detail of that specialty. What you can do is share your experience and then recommend specialist professional support without setting it up for her. You can make a network introduction but let her run the hard yards.
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Your deep experience will be enough to guide and motivate your mentee, so be careful not to fall into the sand traps which could make you fail as a mentor – download our Free eBook Make The Most of Mentoring