Mentoring Benefits the Mentee, the Mentor, and Their Company
A good mentor can make a difference in the careers – and lives – of their mentees. Call it giving back or preparing for the future: mentoring, when done thoughtfully, with respect and open communication, can be beneficial to both sides.
Here are some best practices for successful mentoring:
- Seek out opportunities to help your mentee grow and learn.
- Help him or her navigate the politics of the organization and the industry.
- Provide constructive criticism.
- Be a sounding board as he or she thinks through decisions and considers choices.
- Offer perspectives, options, and alternatives your mentee might not have thought of.
Beyond career guidance, a mentor can also be a source of psychological support. The fact that you believe in your mentee, both personally and professionally, can boost his or her self-confidence and willingness to take risks. Being open-minded and patient, shows respect. Be invested in your mentee’s success, but maintain high expectations; you’ll inspire him or her to shoot for the stars.
It is up to the mentor to establish the tone for all interactions and keep the relationship on track, especially when disagreements arise. But beyond this, the best mentorship is a two-way street.
As more millennial employees come on stream, the concept of mentorship, like so many other things in the office environment, will likely change. Millennials bring new approaches to replace the old, but the practice of mentoring may become even more important, albeit in a different way.
Some companies have recently implemented “reverse mentoring” programs, partnering seasoned executives with millennial employees to learn new tech skills and develop an understanding of this digitally savvy, socially connected generation. It’s a relationship that benefits both – and the company they work for.