How Do You Mentor?
Just How Do You Mentor?
You need more than just your expertise to be effective. You also know how to pass along your experience to others. Today, we'll look at some best practices. Your approach is important because teaching involves trust. Those you mentor need to know you're looking out for them. They need to know you're genuine. And they need to believe you are passing along applicable value that helps them help themselves. Well, you can't just say trust me. Trust is built over time. But here are some approaches you can use to build a working relationship with those you help.
If you just lecture down, you won't create a trusting relationship. Instead, create an environment for two-way learning. Discover what you can adopt from the mentoree. Working together helps your career and demonstrates your sincerity. For example, last week I produced a writing seminar that included a section on e-mail etiquette. While thinking I was well prepared, one of my students raised some fascinating points that I will work into my program in the future.
Teach By Modeling.
It's one thing to tell others what to do. It's another to actually show ownership of your beliefs. Demonstrate how your approach achieves goals by modeling the behaviors, concepts and strategies you preach. Share success -- and failures -- from your experiences to help others relate to your learnings.
Acknowledge The Relationship.
You're best work will create a partnership between teacher and student. That means you need a safe, trusted environment in which to brainstorm, banter and build success. To be effective you need to communicate clearly, guarantee confidentiality and share challenges. Work together and you'll both prosper in your individual roles.
Encourage, Don't Do.
Play the role of advisor but don't get sucked into actually doing work for the mentoree. It's easy to end up doing tasks at which you already excel. Rather, you want to find ways to work as a cheerleader. Enable people to take on new approaches and encourage them. You'll give them confidence that helps them succeed.
Source: Roger A. Shapiro has been mentoring colleagues, students and clients for years as he built his communications consulting business. He is president/creative director at Mitchell Rose, LLC and the author of Write Right, 26 Tips to Improve Your Writing. Dramatically.
Posted on Wed, May 5, 2010
by Roger A. Shapiro filed under