A basic and practical tip for improving your mentoring skills

Mentoring programs have ceased to be a novelty, and now they are becoming a trend in the organizational world. Therefore, it is essential that we all learn to improve our mentoring skills, so that these processes are increasingly effective and beneficial for companies and their workers. In this post, you will find a very simple tip that will help you build your mentoring qualities.

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One of the most beneficial qualities for the improvement of a mentor’s skills is, above all, emotional intelligence. This is so, because the main inherent condition when carrying out a mentoring program is, besides knowing the subject on which the program is concerned, being able to empathize with the mentee and transmit knowledge through a relationship of trust, in which the mentor should also be willing to learn everything the mentee is capable of teaching.

Know yourself. When somebody does not know herself/himself, she/he knows nothing at all. Being aware on your response to certain situations means you will be able to recognize how you feel throughout a day. That is basic. What things do you not support from others? What things make you feel better? If you already know what motivates you, then use that knowledge. Knowing how to answer these questions is key to helping promote the personal growth of mentees. In order to present a point of reference in terms of models of motivation, empathy and emotional balance, it is necessary, precisely, to begin by knowing yourself.

In this way, mentors would achieve to develop emotional intelligence as a tool to ostensibly improve mentoring programs. More than anything, we must emphasize a fundamental aspect. The first is, as mentioned, to work on empathy. This means being able to put yourself in the shoes of other people and contemplate reality from that perspective (especially, if you have to teach the mentee to look at things from a different point of view.)

Read also: Why is mentoring the best way to raise leaders in your company?, by Suzzanne Uhland

On the other hand, you must work on your emotional balance. All people have impulses, but emotionally intelligent people are different from the rest in thinking before acting and controlling their impulsiveness. This has a lot to do with the first point because without him this would be impossible.

It is essential that you find an emotional balance. If not, it would be unfair to you and for those who relate to you. It is good to let off steam and hit a scream in intimacy from time to time, or cry if that is what you need at that moment but do not let the emotions drag you away. Therefore, you should not repress your emotions but do not let them govern you. You are the one in control to allow or not to flourish, and knowing how to manage them is a feature of emotional intelligence.

Without an adequate emotional balance, it is impossible to advance in your improvement as a mentor, mainly because if you are not a person emotionally balanced, you cannot develop as a person, in general.

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It is important that the mentors understand that the authority that is held against the mentees is something that is constructed. It is not assumed per se. For that authority to be possible, and, therefore, the guide and transmission of knowledge from the mentor to the mentee, the latter must see in the former a model to follow; someone with a set of solid qualities. So to advance in your emotional management it is very useful to discover what your values are and analyze the beliefs that have formed you around those values. These beliefs are the filters by which you see the world and determine your way of thinking and feeling. If you want to get a higher level in your results, you have to be willing to let go of some of your old ways of thinking to adopt new ones. If to perform this task, you need support consider the Coaching services.

Always remember the following tips:

  • Recognize your true feelings, especially your fears and desires.
  • Channel your feelings for making choices and reaching your goals.
  • Turn the anger into productive energy and use it to fill yourself with it.
  • Look for the positive side of negative feelings: Yours and others.
  • Go ahead to go beyond your comfort zone in terms of your commitment.
  • Recognize your principles and what really matters to you.
  • Show empathy, understanding, and acceptance towards the feelings of others.
  • Before counseling, sermonizing, judging or ordering, listen.
  • Take on new challenges

We have all had a mentor in our lives. Maybe more than one. A mentor is someone we can turn to when we need to make decisions or we feel lost (not just in the workplace). We all, to some extent, end up becoming someone’s mentors (friends, children, etc.). Become the mentor you have always wanted to have or the one you remember with such gratitude.

Recommended: How to Be an Amazing Mentor: 12 Ways to Make a Positive Impact on Others

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How to have a positive impact as a mentor

The job of a mentor is quite serious. It is meant to have an impact on somebody else’s life. Therefore, it better be a good impact.

If we took a minute to think about the best mentor we have ever had, we would remember some important pieces of advice, attitudes, situations and all sorts of events that would help us identify why our mentor had such a positive impact in our lives.

On the mentor’s side, having a positive impact on mentees can be quite challenging. Not because intentions are not nice. But, because becoming the example to follow or the advice-giver of someone who is trusting you its career, is rather difficult and represents a big responsibility.

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There are many different types of mentors. All of them may vary according to the type of business they work with, or the type of mentee they will guide. It can even be said that mentors come in every possible “shape and flavor”. They can come in the shape of a dear professor, a friend, family member, a parent, or a coach.

Regardless the type of mentor that you want to become or already are, there are some basic tips that you should keep in mind in order to have a positive impact on your mentees. Here, Suzzanne Uhland will share some of these tips.

Related: Some Of The Things That Set A Good And A Great Mentor Apart.

1 – You need to know what it means to be a mentor

If you are in the business world or are a lawyer and you are good at what you do, you will inevitably become a mentor. This is something that most people can’t escape of and it is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and legacy.

However, before you become a mentor you need to actually know what that means. It is not about improvising and acting according to your needs. It is actually about knowing your mentee and establishing a relationship with that person.

Being a good mentor requires you to develop communication skills as well as a working style. Nevertheless, if you really want to have a positive impact on your mentee, you need to gain their trust as their advisor.

Being a trusted advisor can mean several different things. All these things are summarized in making yourself available for your mentee whenever it needs advice and support. Giving your mentee support is what actually defines your role as a mentor.

Acknowledging your role as a mentor and knowing how to support your mentee in order to provide it with great advice and support, will help your mentee keep a great mindset. This will represent the greatest impact overall.

2 – Measure time

A mentor and mentee relationship should not last forever. It will need to last for as long as the mentee feels ready to face the challenges of the market. In terms of time, this cannot be defined properly.

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The relationship between a mentor and a mentee can be as short as one single meeting around a cup of coffee or as long as several years of preparation. It is important to keep in mind that when this kind of relationships extend in time and become long term, the mentor has the obligation of actually knowing its mentee.

The longer the mentoring process is, the more important it becomes for the mentor to know and understand the goals, personality, and learning style of its mentee. Long-term relationships regarding this matter are more fulfilling when both parties have an enriching attitude towards the other.

3 – Define your mentorship plan and expectations

Not all mentors are equal, and not all mentee will react in the same way to the same things. Having said that, if the mentor wants to have an amazing impact on its mentee, it should prepare a mentorship plan.

This plan must be based on the expectations that both parties share from the beginning. Expectations work as goals and clarify what both parties want and don’t want since the moment they start their relationship

Understanding these expectations will help you understand where your mentee is coming from when asking something from you, and vice versa.

4 – Work on your emotional intelligence

Being a mentor can be emotionally challenging. There might be situations in which you want to give up, react poorly, and stop your job right there. This is why emotional intelligence plays such an important role in the job of any mentor.

By becoming a mentor, you will get the chance to know they very special personality of your mentee. You will have to deal with its needs and the previous experiences that have shaped your mentees personality. Knowing all this and using this information in the best interest of yourself and the mentee will make a huge difference.

Keeping all these tips in mind will help become a good mentor and have a positive impact on your mentee.

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Some Of The Things That Set A Good And A Great Mentor Apart.

Mentoring relationships come in all shapes in sizes, like we have discussed before here at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, and that means that while no two mentorships are alike there are some common factors they share in order to be successful. With that being said, it is important to also understand that not all mentoring relationships are as successful as others and that there are mentors who truly make a difference when compared to their peers.

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It is an honor to be chosen to be someone’s mentor. There is a lot that goes into that responsibility and those who truly care never take it lightly. A mentor is a highly influential figure in someone else’s life and the support they give is extremely valuable and important in helping their protégées get ahead and reach their full potential.

Understanding the full potential of a mentor and the immense responsibility it carries with to fill those shoes in someone’s life can be daunting and overwhelming, and accepting that fact is the first step that proves that you will make a difference as a mentor; the trepidation for fear of getting it wrong.

Mentoring isn’t easy and being great at it is even more difficult. A great part of it has to do with a correct match between mentor and mentee and the idea that each one of the parties involved in able and willing to give the partnership their best and contribute with everything they can. However, even a great match up is only part of the issue, there are many things that mentees just like mentors must bring to the table and contribute to the partnership in order to not just to succeed but also to stand apart from the rest. Helping others may be easier than you think, but creating a truly lasting difference takes a lot of hard work.

One of the first things to consider is the fact that great mentors are involved and take real actions towards the evolution of their mentees. Mentors who care about the people under their wing and about doing a great job at mentoring are known for taking risks and getting their hands dirty when it’s time to get the job done. Anyone can talk about great mentoring, but only a few can back those words with real meaningful actions and that is one of the most important things that make a great mentor.

A great mentor doesn’t just solve situations for their mentees; they actually find ways to challenge them and help them believe in their own abilities and their capacity to get ahead and figure things out on their own. A person who pushes you is a person who is in a way forcing you into a situation that will help you find the better side of you and polish your skills to be better or even find skills you didn’t even know you had.

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A great mentor is real. Mentors do not pretend to know everything as they are well aware of their own shortcomings and will help their mentees utilize the experience they have accrued over the years. It is a reality that you may not be able to learn from other people’s mistake, but it is worth a try and going against that approach pretty much negates the entire point of having a mentor. Experience has its good and its bad sides and you must embrace both of them in order to truly learn. A great mentor will not simply sit there and tell you stories about their glory or show you how successful they are. A mentor who cares is someone who sees the value in defeats just as they see it in victories, especially when it comes to their own experiences.

A great mentor knows how to communicate. Body language and nonverbal queues are ways great leaders and especially mentors must dominate in order to communicate efficiently. Your job as a mentor is that of guiding, advising and inspiring and that is why you must learn to be an effective communicator and someone with high emotional intelligence. These skills are not just great for mentoring, but also for any type of leader and for someone who is trying to advance their career like is the case with mentees who seek a mentor’s help. Being a great example of an emotionally intelligent individual is a great way to pass down those skills.

To sum up, a great mentor is a person who understands the importance of teamwork and communication in a relationship as important and influential as mentorships are. They are dedicated, patient, firm and inquisitive about their mentees and their journey and understand overall the importance of allowing people to grow by giving them a chance to shine and not withholding the experiences that have made them who they are today, even if those experiences aren’t always pleasant.