A Simple How To: I’m the Mentor, now What?
You’ve done it. You’ve worked the process, followed the advice, and now you’re going to be a mentor. But this process went so fast! How do you know you’re ready? And if you’ve decided you’re ready, what the heck do you do? Check out this list and confirm your suspicion that you are indeed ready to become a mentor. (And check out this to see where you can find a mentee).
Rule One: Being a mentor is not about you. Your one hour coffee is not the place to ramble of your resume and talk about what you’ve done. Your job is to help your mentee become a stronger person. You want to teach them transferable skills, preferably for the next five jobs they have.
Rule Two: Treat everyone as an equal. Even if they haven’t started their first job and you’re a VP of a huge company, treating everyone with humility and respect is always the best call. It helps make your advice more relatable and helps you to foster a more positive relationship.
Rule Three: Encourage, encourage, encourage. You should believe in your mentee and remind them that they can be on top, if they stay the course and keep working their asses off.
Rule Four: But don’t solve their problems for them. You should be a guiding force that helps them find the solution without giving away the answers. Think of a high school math teacher, they are not going to give you the answer to solution but they’ll give you the steps to solve it. Channel your inner math teacher and guide, don’t solve.
Rule Five: Be open to sharing your network. You’ve worked hard to make the connections that you’ve made, help the person that you’re mentoring by giving them access to your expansive network. If they really want to meet someone, introduce them! This will allow for your mentee to gain a diversity of perspective that will give them even more insight. It works for you too, as they’ll impress your connection and make you look good!
Rule Six: Like any other meaningful relationship, it is based in trust, honesty, and communication. Work on these things. Do not assume that because you are lending your time to someone else you can treat them badly. Mentoring is a two way street, keep that in mind and treat everyone with respect!
Rule Seven: Boundaries. If you and your mentee become the best of friends, that is awesome! But until that moment, stay professional and make sure both people feel comfortable with the relationship. Once again this relies largely on respect.
Rule Eight: Become a mentor! Reading this means that you are probably on the right track. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or feel like you don’t have all the answers. Mentoring will help you has much as it helps your mentee. Check this out for more info.
I’ll see you next week as we look at A Simple How To: Business Turn Offs.