Whether mentoring millennials or another generation, taking on mentorship is a big responsibility.
Each of us takes on mentorship at different stages of our career and for different reasons. Reasons may include giving back, honing our people development skills through coaching or developing better insights into how others view their careers. Becoming great at mentorship is like all great arts – it takes time, focus and commitment.
To become a great mentor, start by asking yourself these 3 questions.
Am I ready to be a mentor?
Don’t rush it. Being ready matters to your brand and the mentees’ potential for improvement. You are generally ready to take on the responsibility of mentorship when two things are met.
- You’ve experienced “the rodeo” of work. You are a seasoned in the realm of your field and have lessons to pass on.
- Your ability to develop people is well regarded or your desire to develop people is obvious. In the latter case, you have a great ability to listen, distill and synthesize new ways of interpreting situations and outcomes.
Should I be selective in who I mentor?
Absolutely. You are investing a lot and want to partner with someone who would be a fit for what you can advise on. Further, if you have a challenge interacting with a certain person (potential mentee) the relationship will be doomed from the beginning, so – don’t do it.
What type of mentor should you be?
There are two types of mentorship relationships: formal vs. informal. Formal relationships tend to be crystallized around corporate driven initiatives. These are great to structure how mentorship is done at a particular company. Informal relationships are everything else. Great examples of informal relationships tend to be former bosses, former coworkers, or an associate. Generally, the cadence tends to be less frequent and the meeting structure more fluid. Sometimes a mentor relationship can be maintained with something as simple as an out of blue call asking for advice.
In my next blog, I’ll be sharing the reasons why mentorship may be the biggest unexploited competitive advantage! Check out my last blog too on 5 Ways to be an Awesome Mentor for Millennials.