People tend to enter mentorship relationships once they’re comfortable with each other’s goals. But is that always enough to guarantee a successful mentorship relationship? It’s not because being a mentor implies a connection more profound than someone might have with their business coach or teacher.
To succeed as a mentor, you must learn to outline your journey and shape the relationship in such a way that it’s helpful and validating for both sides. To offer assistance towards this end, the following six tips will aim to help you create successful relationships guaranteed to give both parties what they seek.
Tip No. 1 – Set Expectations
Figuring out what you and your mentees want from a mentorship relationship is easy enough. But what comes next requires more effort.
The first tip to shaping a successful mentorship relationship is setting expectations. You must set expectations right from the start because each relationship is unique. You should understand what the mentee wants to determine if you’re the best mentor for the job. It’s your duty to acknowledge if you’re ready to commit and if the mentee is up for entering a mentorship with you.
Discuss and set a time limit and figure out the frequency at which you should meet. Settle the metrics you’ll use going forward to measure the quality of the relationship and success. Determine how involved you should be and if your mentee wants or needs a hands-on mentor.
Maybe you take a step back and intervene less frequently. You won’t know until you clarify the situation. Clear communication is key when setting expectations and the most professional way to approach building a successful mentorship relationship.
Tip No. 2 – Take an Interest in Your Mentee
Of course, every mentor is invested in making their mentees successful, yet that’s not always enough. One of the secrets to nurturing successful relationships with a mentee is taking a genuine interest in them as people. Knowing a mentee on a more personal level will allow you to give much better advice.
Remember that being a mentor is different from being a life coach or a business coach. Genuinely knowing and understanding your mentees is crucial for building a strong relationship. It’s easy to figure out someone’s dream job or preferred lifestyle, but a true mentor wants to know about the things that make them who they are.
Tip No. 3 – Keep Building Trust
Even if a mentorship relationship starts out well, it can hit some speed bumps along the way. Earning trust is one thing but maintaining and building more trust is different. Successful mentorship occurs when you can maintain a safe environment for your mentee because the safer they feel, the more they’ll voice their concerns, issues, challenges, and opinions.
Helping people is about getting them to be open, transparent, and genuine when communicating with you. You don’t want them to tiptoe around deep issues! Therefore, you should never stop building trust. Sometimes you might have to say something your mentees won’t like to hear. It could be imperative for their personal and professional growth.
You can only do that in a safe environment with trust and transparency.
Tip No. 4 – Engage in Active Listening
Active listening is such an essential skill for a mentor. Flexing this muscle gives you a deeper understanding of your mentee. You make them realize that you’re listening, hearing, and learning about what makes them tick by listening before you speak, reading between the lines, and considering body language cues.
Focus on clarifying everything your mentee shares. The clearer the message, the easier it is for you to relate, formulate better responses, and steer your mentee in the right direction. It’s vital for a successful mentorship relationship, as, without it, you could be missing the point of what your mentee tries to tell you. And there isn’t a long way to go from that to offering bad advice.
Tip No. 5 – Provide Resources
Communication and sharing your own experiences and wisdom aren’t the only ways to help a mentee be successful. To make the most out of the relationship, you must provide resources the mentee can use to grow. It could be making introductions with people in their field, signing up a mentee for a new project, especially if you work together, maybe it’s new reading material, or taking them through a hypothetical scenario.
Find resources that provide context and align with the goals and expectations set at the beginning of your relationship. You could even send your mentee on a quest to do their own research to uncover relevant and valuable information.
Tip No. 6 – Celebrate Successes
You’ll find that mentorship relationships have different stages of success. Many achievements will happen along the way before your mentee reaches the level of success indicated at the start of your relationship, and as a mentor, you must be there every step of the way.
Make your mentees aware of small achievements and successes as they happen. They might be so caught up with the experience they won’t notice all the smaller positive results. Celebrate those successes and use them as opportunities to show your approval, validate mentees, make them see the value of the relationship, and push them harder to reach their main objective. This behavior is enough to satisfy their need for validation and your own psychological desire for recognition.
You Have to Work on Mentorship Relations, Not Make Assumptions
Mentoring is more of a calling than a task, job, or profession. But oversimplifying it won’t do you any favors. As noble as being a mentor can be, mentorship takes work as much as having passion and wanting to help. But you also need enough time to commit and take an interest in your mentee.
There must also be something in it for you, a benefit of some sort, to motivate you. Mentorship is always a two-way street, a relationship not that different from dating. Thus, it takes work and planning to ensure you and your mentee are on the same page and heading in the right direction.
Check out our article on Mentorly: The Best Fit for Mentorship
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