Archive for December, 2012

Just Started a Mentoring Relationship and Wondering What’s Next?

Posted on: December 26th, 2012 by Mentoring Matters Blog presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

  1. Share yourself. Be open and willing to be vulnerable. Take the time to share your experiences. Talk about how they influenced you and the impact they have had on your career development. Don’t turn your story into “war stories.”  What you want your story to do is to serve as a springboard to further conversation and learning. Invite questions. Don’t assume that your story will be their story.
  2. Share your expertise and experience.  Mentoring provides an opportunity to pass on knowledge and spawn a new generation of thinking. Create safe hands-on opportunities for your mentee to learn. For example, you might have your mentee shadow you for a day. But, before you do that, prep your mentee. Tell her what she might observe, and suggest some questions that will help her know what to look for while observing you or the situation. After the “shadowing” experience have a conversation to debrief what she learned and how she might apply it.
  3. Make connections and share your networks. Remember you didn’t get where you are by yourself. If a colleague of yours has some expertise or experience that you think might be helpful to your mentee, pick up the phone/send a text. Leveraging your connections on behalf of your mentee offers first-hand exposure that they can’t leverage by themselves. It also provides another perspective, another way of doing things. After your mentee has made the connection, encourage him to reflect on what they learned.
  4. Help your mentee stay focused on the big picture. It is so easy for a mentee to get distracted by everyday spur of the moment workday pressures. When that happens, they lose the strategic opportunity having a mentor provides. Mentoring is about development. That means envisioning that future and staying focused on creating that future. The questions you ask are important. They encourage movement and offer a map. For example, “let’s explore how that strategy relates to your career goals or your vision of yourself five years from now.” 
  5. Be mutually accountable. You and your mentee have formed a partnership. In a partnership both parties are mutually accountable for results. Creating clear and specific goals is essential. Once you’ve done that and discussed how you plan to achieve your goals, calendar specific checkpoints to have a meaningful conversation about how you are doing as mentoring partners. How are things working? Is the relationship mutually satisfactory? What progress have you made toward achieving your goals? What can you each do better to ensure success?
  6. Set the stage for feedback. Engaging in feedback— asking for it, giving it, receiving it, accepting it, and acting on it—is a vital part of enabling growth for your mentee. Providing feedback without having first established a climate of readiness and expectation can create a frustrating and negative experience for both you and your mentee.  As a mentor, you need to set the stage for success by creating the expectation early on that feedback will be an ongoing part of the mentoring process. For example, you might relate your own personal story about someone who provided feedback that had significant impact on you.

The Five Most Deadly Mentoring Mistakes

Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by Management Mentors presented by How To Mentor Toolkit No Comments

  1. Choosing the wrong mentoring partner. The decision to participate in a mentoring relationship needs to be deliberate and well-thought out.  Choosing the right mentoring partner is critical to achieving successful outcomes. It is easy to zero in on chemistry when meeting a prospective mentoring partner. Rather than relying on chemistry alone, focus on “learning fit.”  Is there a match between what the mentee wants to learn and the attributes, skills, experience and expertise of the mentor?
  2. Going through the motions. Whether you are a mentor or a mentee you are the one who ultimately gets to choose if and how you will participate in a mentoring relationship. You can show up completely by being fully present or just go through the motions. Mentoring is a development opportunity for both mentor and mentee. It doesn’t happen without authenticity and commitment.
  3. Jumping in too early without laying the groundwork. Relationship is the groundwork for mentoring. Mentoring relationships are built one conversation at a time. Before you jump in and start working on goals, work on your relationship. Get to know your mentoring partner. Each of you brings a whole history and multiple selves to the relationship. Your “history” affects how you interact, learn and connect with one another. You need to “know” each other not just “know about each other.”  Be curious! What is you’d like to know about your mentoring partner?
  4. Making assumptions without checking them out. This is a bigger stumbling block than most people think. Why? We act on our assumptions. When we don’t check them out to see if they are valid and they aren’t, it creates distrust and compromises communication. For example, a mentee might be assuming that having a mentor will ensure promotion. The mentor, on the other hand, is assuming thepurpose of the relationship is developing promotability. Or, a mentee assumes that the mentor will be there for them 24/7 and the mentor only has limited time availability. The list goes on. The lesson: Check out your assumptions before they undermine your mentoring relationship.
  5. Settling for low-level goals. When mentoring partners settle on low-level mentee goals, they end up being dissatisfied with their mentoring relationships.  Even though the goals may produce a set of easily accomplished tasks that result in some sense of accomplishment, they don’t create the needed traction that will lead to sustainable career development. If you are a mentor, push back on your mentee to make sure that the goals are truly development goals. If you are mentee, don’t waste this precious opportunity to grow and develop, opt for s-t-r-e-t-c-h goals.