There are many things that could come to mind when thinking of professional development. There’s that big promotion you’ve been eyeing or the much-deserved raise you’ve been working so hard to earn. But for some, their professional progression and fulfillment could be satisfied by becoming a mentor to others in their immediate workspace or in their broader industry.
As a way of investing in the workplace, mentoring allows you to utilize the knowledge and expertise you’ve garnered throughout your years of work to guide other like-minded individuals towards their professional and personal goals. If you’re thinking of becoming a mentor to newer professionals, learn how to be one that makes a lasting impact. Continue reading for tips and tricks to become a career-changing mentor that genuinely cares about the mentees’ growth and well-being.
Quality Mentor Traits
When trying to learn how to become a great mentor, it would probably be helpful to know some of the characteristics that would make you the most valued by your mentee. Here are some traits often sought after in a mentor:
- Willingness to help
- Capacity for feedback
Ways to be a Good Mentor at Work
Keep in mind that mentors need to be able to demonstrate the characteristics of a good mentor and not just know what they are. In the following section, we’ll cover some of the best ways to be a good mentor that offers useful guidance to determined professionals.
1. Ask About Career Goals
Traditional mentorship is about seasoned professionals guiding the career growth of their mentees using the expertise acquired over the span of their own professional career. As such, it’s essential to prioritize the goals of the mentee to ensure you’re able to create a course of action that will allow them to achieve those things.
Take some time to get to know them. Ask questions concerning their career goals like what they want to improve on and how they like to receive feedback to work on any improvement opportunities. The answers given will allow you to structure your mentoring practices to better benefit them. A pro tip is to do your best at creating specific and measurable objectives for them to track their progress towards their set goals.
2. Adapt Your Mentoring Style
After you’ve taken the time to learn about their goals and preferences as professionals, find the mentoring style that best fits their needs. If your mentee is more concerned about climbing the corporate ladder, expose them to a wide variety of projects that will take them out of their comfort zone. If you’re dealing with a more experienced worker, give them some space to show you trust their work and judgment.
3. Learn About the Types of Mentors
There are many different types of mentors, and each type will work better based on the mentee you are dealing with. Personality and work ethic and preferences greatly impact the mentoring style that will be most effective to your mentee. Here are a few common types of mentors seen throughout workplaces today:
- The Cheerleader: This mentor is able to boost the confidence of their mentee by always offering support when they’re feeling discouraged. They also make it a point to celebrate successes and offer a reassuring hand when mistakes are made.
- The Companion: This mentor style is very collaborative, constantly giving and receiving feedback. This mentor will likely have a similar job level and/or age range.
- The Search Engine: These mentors are go-to resources when it comes to industry knowledge. They are able to act as an educator regarding current processes or industry trends.
- The Advocate: Some mentees care a lot about the connections they’re able to make and showcasing their work. The best mentor for them would be an advocate that can speak to their work ethic and character and leverage their own professional network to open the right doors for them.
- The Master: Masters are simply experts at what they do with the years of experience to prove it. They;re able to share their mastery to their mentees and across an organization with ease and confidence. They’re able to instill the skill needed to cultivate and acquire their own expertise.
4. Be Available for Your Mentee
A significant part of being a mentor is knowing how to prioritize the relationship over other professional duties. A good mentor knows how to make time for their mentee and be present when they’re needed the most. The worst feeling as a mentee is not being able to rely on the mentor that is supposed to be there to support and guide you through unfamiliar situations.
5. Set Clear Expectations
For a mentoring relationship to be successful, clear expectations need to be set early on. The mentor has the responsibility of outlining their own boundaries to set a tone for the relationship. It’s also important to allow the mentee to express their own expectations and boundaries to make them feel comfortable.
Becoming a good mentor can be incredibly fulfilling. You’re able to see how the years of hard work you’ve invested can be used to make a difference. Yes, it would be easy to go after that promotion or raise, but being able to say you’ve made a lasting impact on someone’s life could mean so much more. Use these tips to become a mentor and professional you’ll be proud of.