Mentoring can help leaders at any stage in their career develop valuable work, life and people skills, and grow their businesses, but it can be just as transformative for the mentors themselves. By connecting and coaching with a mentee, mentors can uncover deeper insights on life and leadership by embracing the role.
So what makes a great mentor?
- Create a safe space.
As with all partnerships, mentoring only succeeds if both parties work at it, but it helps if the mentor makes it easy for the mentee to drive the process and achieve objectives. The best mentors learn to listen, help the mentees think for themselves and create the space for this to happen.
—Gerhard Van Der Horst
- Get to know your mentee.
A great mentor takes the time to learn about the mentee’s desires, skills and shortcomings to better help the mentee chart a path for success.
—Suzanne McKechnie Klahr
- Share your experience.
Mentorship is a one-on-one deeper forum experience where the shared experiences are the keys to a higher level of self-awareness.
- Be inquisitive.
Asking the right questions helps to focus on the real issues. A mentor needs to try and separate the noise from the key issues.
- Create a life strategy.
When coaching people on their careers, I focus on six elements: passion, lifestyle, values, economics, skill and demand. Thinking strategically about each of these elements lets you create a framework for a solid career map.
- Be a storyteller.
Effective mentors do not offer specific advice unless requested. Instead, we relate relevant experiences of our own that may help the mentee evaluate his/her issue better.
- Park your ego.
By opening yourself up to being vulnerable and telling the stories of when you were not your own finest ambassador, you might just create the proper learning for your mentee.
—Jannie van Wyk