Being in a position to mentor others is one of the most fulfilling moments in any professional’s career.
“Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” – Emerson
Here are 5 ways you can be a better mentor in business.
- Give Mentees Permission To Fail
Learning to fail is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have.
“Mentors need to share both their “how I did it right” and their “how I did it wrong” stories. Both experiences provide valuable opportunities for learning.” – Forbes
Offer constructive criticism as a way to guide your mentee on the right path without steamrolling over their dreams. You will help them develop the resilience and self-esteem needed to persevere with confidence!
- Encourage “Stupid” Questions
“We’ve all been there: you’re in a meeting, conference, or lecture, and you’re completely lost. You have a question, but you don’t speak up. Why? Because you’re afraid of looking dumb.” – Entrepreneur
Remember, there are no stupid questions, so encourage your mentees to ask you anything. It will help to look back on the beginning of your career and recall the questions you might have been afraid to ask yourself.
“Just because something is easy for you doesn’t mean it’s easy for other people. Many leaders forget that, so you dismiss questions as dumb because you already know the answer. That doesn’t mean it’s dumb — it just means it’s not obvious to other people.” – Entrepreneur
Share anecdotes about your own “stupid” inquiries, and let your mentee know that asking rudimentary questions is all part of the learning process!
- Assess What The True Need Is
“If you see an opportunity to assist your mentee outside of your formal relationship, then do so.” – Forbes
The first thing you should do is assess the true need of your mentee. This means listening to them and really trying to understand how you can be of service at this point in their career.
Don’t be afraid to veer off the conventional path of what you think a mentoring relationship should be. “Many mentees make a mistake trying to focus on the skill sets of their mentors. Ensure that you go beyond skills and intelligence.” – Entrepreneur
For example, your mentee may be seeking advice on how to build their business, but their true need might be building confidence and self-esteem. While your mentee might come to you with a particular question in mind, it’s important to listen to what is not being said as well.
- Don’t Make It Personal
Refrain from trying to live vicariously through your mentee.
“Your mentee should ultimately oversee their own career path. You help them achieve whatever it is they want to achieve. Don’t inject too much of your own desires or opinions into their plan.” – Business News Weekly
No matter the industry you’re in, being a mentor requires selflessness. Remember, you’re there to guide your mentee as they achieve their goals, not yours!
- Keep Growing!
In a very practical sense, it’s important that mentors continue to grow and expand their industry knowledge.
“The best teachers have always been and always will be those who remain curious learners themselves. Would you rather be advised by someone whose mind is shut because he knows it all or by someone whose mind is open because she is always looking to deepen her knowledge?” – Forbes
In many cases, you can learn a lot from your mentees as well. Some of the most rewarding mentorships are mutually beneficial. Good mentors always practice what they preach, so keep your eyes and ears open and don’t forget to keep growing!
Whether you’re mentoring someone in their career, or in life, make sure to keep these tips in mind. Do your best to encourage those who are starting out in your field – it just might be one of the most rewarding experiences of your career!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email and my team will get in touch with you!