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Hot Off the Press

Why You Should Mentor and How to be Awesome at It

If you consider yourself at all successful (which you definitely should), chances are you can look back and identify a person or people who invested time in you, shared their wisdom, and helped you get where you are today. Having a great mentor is one of the keys to success, and if you’ve benefitted by being a mentee, it’s time to start paying it forward by being on the other side. Here’s what you need to know before you become a fantastic mentor:

The Benefits

- You’ll be recognized as an expert in your field. You’ve invested a ton of time and energy into developing your skills, and your mentee will be incredibly thankful that you’re willing to share your expertise.

- You’ll be exposed to fresh new ideas, perspectives and approaches. Mentors can learn a ton from their mentees, and the meeting of generations will spark some innovative concepts.

- You’ll be able to recognize young talent when you’re recruiting in the future. Who knows? Maybe your mentee will be the next rockstar employee at your company.

The Requirements

- Mentoring is time consuming, so you have to truly make a commitment to meeting regularly. Don’t promise more time than you’re actually able to give.

- You have to believe in your mentee. Trying to help someone whose interests and goals don’t have anything in common with yours is a waste of both the mentor and mentee’s time.

How to Be Awesome

- Be open-minded and compassionate. Your mentee should be able to ask the “dumb questions” without feeling intimidated or judged.

- Be accessible outside of your typical meeting time. Your mentee should be able to call you when problems or questions arise. If you let a lot of time lapse between speaking with your mentee, you’re not actually building a relationship.

- Be honest. Keep things positive, but don’t be afraid to give constructive criticism or talk about the challenges that are ahead. No one has ever grown by having someone sugar-coat everything for them.

- Listen with intent. Listening can be every bit as powerful as speaking, but you have to do so in a way that allows your mentee to think critically. If your mentee tells you about a problem that he or she has encountered, ask more questions, draw parallels to your own experiences, and help generate ideas for solutions.

- Always focus on the goals of your mentee. Get to know what he or she hopes to accomplish in the short-term, long-term, professionally and personally. While you may hope that your mentee will join your company, put his or her interests first and help your mentee get where they want to go.

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