Three Tips on How to be an Effective Mentor

Have you ever accomplished a goal you knew you couldn't have done on your own? Throughout my professional journey, I have observed that mentoring has always made sense for organizations of all sizes, whether it's to aid the transition of new team members, improve employee engagement and satisfaction, assist in knowledge transfer and many more. From my own experience, mentors provide guidance and support through life and professional challenges. In addition, they help develop core competencies needed to achieve the mentees’ goals such as open communication, empathy and a growth mindset.

Here are 3 things that I have observed that assist with effective mentoring:

Always engage in open communication
Throughout my life I’ve been nurtured by great mentors, which has allowed me to see true value in the mentorship experience. What I’ve discovered is that starting your mentoring relationship with open communication and clear expectations will help you function effectively together. Similarly, I’ve found that establishing two or three goals that guide your work together during your mentoring relationship is beneficial. In fact, by collaborating on identifying hard or "stretch objectives" you can encourage the mentee out of their comfort zone. As a mentor, you're more likely to ensure that expectations and duties are directed with little to no confusion if you take the time to have an open talk about each person's goals and preferred communication strategies. By reading between the lines to discover your mentee's feelings through actively listening, you demonstrate that you care about their views.

Have a growth mindset
I continue to be inspired by mentors who encourage their mentees to learn and grow by sharing diverse viewpoints and experiences. Mentorship, from both perspectives, is a practice that embodies the growth mindset. As a mentee, you are guided to seek growth opportunities to get the most value out of your mentor relationship; as a mentor you develop positive attitudes that help you and your mentee continually grow. The mentor-mentee relationship is built on lifelong learning where both parties continue to develop and enhance their skills.

Implement reverse mentorship
According to (HBR) Harvard Business Review, millennials are "uninterested in working in financial services”. I have noticed that many companies are struggling with how to retain Millennial talent – and also with how to stay relevant to this younger cohort. In response to these challenges, leadership teams around the world are implementing reverse-mentoring programs. Reverse mentoring is an effective way of breaking down the silos between generations, exposing mentors to a fresh perspective usually associated with technology and cultural shift. Similarly, younger mentees learn about the organization and the industry as a whole and gain greater appreciation for it. Apart from the benefit to the mentor and mentee, this type of mentorship can produce fresh perspectives and ideas which can inspire innovation within organizations.

With these tips in mind, I'd like to challenge you to begin your mentorship journey and as Phil Collins once said, “in learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.”

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