Perhaps you are looking to step up to the next level in your career and are looking at how to select an effective mentor? You may be considering taking on a new challenge such as a different role, writing a book or setting up your own business. Selecting an effective mentor can be daunting and building trust is vital to get the best out of the relationship. Having access to a really supportive mentor can achieve amazing results.
Tell me and I forget – teach me and I may remember – involve me and I learn
– Benjamin Franklin
Mentoring is not a method so much as a way of being. At best it is a way to build a relationship with you as the mentee so you can believe in, and progress, your own ideas. Selecting an effective mentor can greatly enhance your self-belief and motivation particularly in times of change and uncertainty. Many mentees value having someone who really listens, stays non-judgmental and truly believes in their own development. Selecting an effective mentor who may have already walked the path you have chosen and have valuable tips and advice to pass on is vital. They will listen to your ideas and work with you to develop a plan so you can reach your goals as smoothly as possible with a solid foundation.
Select an Effective Mentor with the following 12 tips
When selecting a mentor look for the following, that the mentor, in addition to some specific mentor training or previous mentoring experience…
- Is fully committed to building a trusting and open relationship
- Is clear about what is expected from both parties
- Refrains from making judgements
- Listens well with minimum interruption
- Has a naturally supportive and positive attitude
- Has knowledge and experience in your chosen field
- Shares advice and knowledge sensitively
- Gives thoughtful, honest and constructive feedback
- Has a genuine interest in your advancement
- Imparts skills, tools and wisdom appropriate to your needs
- Displays integrity and reliability
- Encourages the mentee to complete agreed tasks and meet joint expectations
Try before you buy
Most trained mentors will be willing to have a ‘chemistry’ session of about 30 mins to see if you would work well together. In this case, it is useful to consider what you want to get from the relationship in terms of goals, and desired outcomes both long and short term. Making a plan before your meet will focus your mind and show your commitment to the mentoring relationship. You need to feel comfortable with your mentor and able to express openly your desires and concerns. If you are investigating how to work with a mentor then let them know you will be consulting up to three people. This allows you to opt-out if the ‘chemistry’ session does not feel a good match for you.
Mentoring requires a particular positive mindset and way of being in a respectful conversation with another person. A mentor will believe in your ability to learn and work with you to nurture that potential. They will guide you to walk your chosen path with fewer pitfalls and hazards. As a result, you will feel more willing to take responsibility for your progress and feel motivated when you are encouraged and valued. Selecting the right person to partner you on your journey is vital to your continuing success and achievements.
Resources to help you find a mentor
Using LinkedIn to search for an external mentor is a great networking
www.slideshare.net Linkedin Slideshare: Coaching V Mentoring what’s the difference?
- EMCC European Coaching and Mentoring Council www.emcc.com
- The Aspire Foundation www.theaspirefoundation.org
- Mentors Me www.mentorsme.co.uk
- Women 1st www.women1st.co.uk
- Mentoring Foundation www.mentoringfoundation.co.uk
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