Whether you are searching for advice to take your career to the next level, or have agreed to mentor a direct report, an effective mentoring relationship takes time and care to get right. Here are five tips for more effective mentoring relationships:
- Start as you mean to go on
For both mentor and mentee, it is important to start a mentoring relationship positively, with a clear understanding of its purpose and limitations. Set the ground rules early on about the format that mentoring meetings will take and how the relationship is expected to develop.
- Be clear on needs and expectations
When you begin, it also important to establish the expectations and needs of both parties. As a mentee, it is important to understand the skills and experience of your mentor, and be clear on how these could help your own career. For the mentor, it is important to understand what it is your mentee is hoping to achieve, and how you can possibly help them.
- Maintain regular contact
A mentoring relationship is only as effective as the effort you both put into it. This begins with establishing and maintaining regular contact – be it through regular meetings, emails, or catch-up phone calls. As a mentee, it is important not to harass your mentor with questions, but is similarly important that you feel able to approach them with issues and concerns.
- Be honest and open
Honesty is an important facet of an effective mentoring relationship – for both mentor and mentee. Candid conversations and open advice are the bedrock of mentoring, so it is important both parties feel able to communicate freely.
- Make the most of it
Mentoring should be useful for mentee and mentor, so it must be approached with enthusiasm and commitment by both. Active participation and genuine engagement with the process is the best way to ensure that each is able to come away from the experience with a new outlook and a fresh understanding of themselves.