Guidelines for Mentors
To be involved in a mentoring relationship is a privilege for both participants, and as a result it is important to be gracious and thoughtful towards each other. Mentors encourage growth and achievement by providing an open and supportive environment. By doing this, mentees discover talents and interests and define and attain their goals.
- A sincere desire to be involved with a young professional
- Respect for young professionals wanting to learn
- Active listening skills
- Ability to see solutions and opportunities
- Identify why you want to be a mentor. See what is motivating you to accept this opportunity in spite of your busy schedule.
- Analyze what you have to offer your mentee. Be brutally honest with yourself as you consider what influence, skills, knowledge or other contributions you can make.
- Provide guidance based on their past experiences. This needs to be done sensitively. If mentoring is turned into a boring reminiscence session, it will be unsuccessful. Guidance should always be as straightforward as possible, and lead directly from the stated concerns of the mentee.
- Create a positive counseling relationship and climate for open communication. It is important to avoid treating the mentee as incompetent or incapable. Over the long-term, a positive relationship will be created through a genuine interest in both the mentee and their new role.
- Avoid setting up a situation whereby the mentor is seen to be 'checking up' on the mentee. This means agreeing when contact will be made or sought and where possible leaving it up to the mentee to get in touch at previously agreed times.
- Help your mentee identify problems and guide them towards solutions. This means try to look deeper; if there are symptoms, look for what might be causing them, don't simply patch things up.
- Lead your mentee through the problem solving processes. Empowerment is the key to being a mentor. Don't give solutions to problems; this won't 'teach the man to fish' (as the saying goes). Work through problems with the student, even when you are not clear of the answers yourself.
- Solicit feedback from your mentee. Being a mentor isn't merely about giving; you should be developing your own skills too. If you don't see this, you won't set up a relationship of give and take, which is the most beneficial to the mentee.
- Be prepared for contact from your mentee. Before a phone conversation think about what might come up. If meeting face to face, think about what questions would elicit the responses that would allow you to do your job effectively.
- Keep your eyes open for things that could help your mentee. Look for articles and websites that refer to things that you have discussed. This will allow them to develop as well as shows them that you are interested in their success.