without a successor is just a form of failure." Kerrie
you are good at what you do, the time will surely come when
you are asked to act as someone else's mentor. However, before
you agree to be a mentor it is important to clarify exactly
what role you are expected to play.
role of a mentor can vary considerably depending on the purpose
of a formal mentoring program or on the expectations your
potential mentee might have in an informal situation.
mentor might be expected to assist in specific skill development,
offer advice, induct a new recruit into the organisation's
culture, encourage and support or even protect a mentee while
they take learning risks, learn new skills or identify and
solve particular problems.
may even need to help a mentee become more self-aware, identifying
areas for personal growth and development or confronting negative
or self-sabotaging behaviours.
industries or professional associations establish mentoring
programs to assist members to gain accreditation or credentials.
Whatever the exact role, a mentor needs to make the time to
be available, to listen and discuss options and to support
their mentee's decisions.
mentors can be drawn from a wide range of ages and backgrounds,
according to the role they are expected to play. If you are
approaching retirement you will have much wisdom and valuable
experience to share with your mentee. However, even if you
are similar in age to your prospective mentee, you may offer
helpful insight and encouragement.
a mentor should have substantial experience and expertise
in their relevant area, it isn't necessary to be the best,
or to know absolutely everything, in your field.
point of mentoring is not just to pour all your knowledge
into the head of your mentee. Mentoring offers the opportunity
to share some of the less tangible dimensions of your experience,
perspective and understanding with your mentor in a way that
contributes to the development of their full and unique potential.
So it is always important that a mentor have advanced communication
and interpersonal skills.
questioning, challenging and offering feedback and support
are central to your role as a mentor. Each of these needs
to be done with sensitivity and in a timely and appropriate
way so that your mentee grows in independence and understanding,
and develops in maturity and skill with your encouragement.
emphasis is often placed on the benefits of mentoring for
a mentee, mentoring also offers a range of personal and professional
rewards for the mentor. If the opportunity arises for you
to act as a mentor, don't miss it.
Quick Tips on Mentoring
wait to be asked. Offer to mentor someone. Good leaders
are always on the lookout for potential mentees. The best
are individuals who are willing to take risks in furthering
their own learning, who seek out responsibility and take
on challenging tasks, ask for feedback and who are committed
to their own improvement.
selective about who you agree to mentor. If you feel uncomfortable
with a potential mentee, or for some reason you don't respect
or trust them, or if you are truly too busy to commit the
time required, don't hesitate to decline. A reluctant mentor
is of little value to anyone.
you are unable or unwilling to take on a full mentoring
role for someone, consider whether you can offer just a
little of your time and experience. Perhaps you can make
time for a short telephone consultation, have a chat over
a coffee or give them the opportunity to ask a couple of
specific questions. Or perhaps you could introduce them
to someone else who may be willing to act as their mentor.
of the Leadership Skill Center have access to a free course
on the Secrets of Mentoring. Join
for free now to enrol in it.
© Kerrie Mullins-Gunst
Kerrie Mullins-Gunst is an expert in all the knowledge, skills, attitudes and
behaviours you need to mentor, manage and lead your people, and one of Australia's
leading mentors, planning facilitators and female business speakers. For your
free Top Leadership Tips Workbook and other resources or to listen to her podcast,
visit http://leadershipskillcenter.com or call her on 61-3-9859 3924.
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