Those who have found success in their profession have often received help along the way. As a result, it is common for established professionals to want to pay it forward. By becoming a mentor, individuals who have excelled in their careers can guide and inspire those just starting at the bottom, and mentorship enables an incredibly valuable transfer of knowledge within a given industry helping to shape the upcoming generation to find even greater success. With the prior experience and expertise to inform enhanced, more well-informed decision making, mentors can serve to lift those just kicking off their careers.
Effectively Listen and Communicate
Like Elliot Sherer, Senior VP, Investments at Aegis Capital Corp, a good mentor has robust people skills and a knack for one-on-one teaching.It is essential for mentors to actively listen to mentees and exhibit patience, as sometimes, you are merely there to lend an ear. Taking notes, remaining engaged, and refraining from passing judgment will allow mentors to supply mentees with more tailored and useful advice.
As a mentor, your role is to help your mentee find a solution to reach their next step. Removing roadblocks and, in turn, building bridges for your mentee will empower them to embark on their unique professional journey. Mentors should also reassure mentees that the stresses and fears they may feel are entirely normal, encouraging them to find success in time. A mentor’s failures and struggles can prove useful to a mentee’s future success, teaching them lessons, and serving as a real-life example.
Give Constructive, Honest Feedback
Although mentors should not judge their mentees, it is imperative to provide constructive criticism alongside support and compliments. To avoid breaking a mentee’s confidence, mentors can share stories of their own mistakes and lessons learned. By being diplomatic and tactful while still addressing concerns, mentors can offer guidance that will allow mentees to improve themselves, their approaches, and their work.
Practice Empathy and Be Open
A character trait essential to good mentorship, empathy enables individuals to understand how their mentee might be feeling and the best ways to navigate assisting them. By listening more, appreciating others’ differences, highlighting inherent judgments, exhibiting curiosity, and educating oneself to leave behind ignorant assumptions, mentors can enhance their levels of empathy.
Each individual has their strengths, weaknesses, interests, history, etc., so t is essential to avoid presuming that a mentee will approach a situation in the exact way you might. Furthermore, mentors must be open to making time for their mentees and to learn from their mentees. Mentorship is, without a doubt, an opportunity for successful professionals to learn from an individual with a perspective and background different from their own.
Motivate Your Mentee to Take Action
Mentors should not do the work for their mentees. Alternatively, a mentor’s role is to empower a mentee to solve problems on their own in demanding and high-pressure environments. By helping a mentee develop problem-solving skills and hone their creativity, mentors can empower new professionals to make decisions without the comfort of their expertise and guidance. And allowing mentees some control will provide them with greater confidence. In inspiring and motivating mentees, mentors have the power to help the next generation of leaders reach their full potential and achieve their professional goals.