When Odysseus was preparing to fight the Trojan War, his biggest concern was his only son and heir, Telemachus. Since war meant staying away from home for long years, he was concerned about the child’s care and education.
But he knew he had nothing to worry about; his trusted friend would take good care of the child. His name was Mentor.
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you,”
– Bob Proctor, a Canadian self-help author.
To describe mentoring more vividly, it is a process through which an individual offers professional expertise and support to less experienced.
Mentoring can help build personal and reciprocal relationships while focusing on achievements through constant improvement. In the mentoring process, emotional support is a critical element.
Steps to becoming a mentor
If you plan to become a mentor and are looking for self-help books on how to become a mentor, please note there are no official guide or rule books to mentoring.
Becoming a mentor is as elementary as guiding a junior in the right direction. Mentoring helps less experienced staff overcome challenges and assists them in developing and growing in their roles and responsibilities.
As the brilliant musician Phil Collins said – “In learning we teach and in teaching, we learn.”
To become a mentor, all you need is enthusiasm to help a less experienced person with your knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you have two years or twenty years of experience in your field. As you gain expertise, knowledge, and confidence, you can become a mentor.
- Develop an interest in people and the urge to help them and make them feel good.
- Focus more on listening than speaking. You must be an excellent listener to be a good mentor.
- Know how to find out about the core aspects of a problem and provide relevant solutions.
- Set goals and timelines so that progress can be made in a time-bound manner.
- Be readily accessible at all times.
- Offer suggestions but train mentees to come up with their solutions.
- Never act impulsively, and always act in an impartial and unbiased manner.
It is important to know how to mentor an employee. Don’t just dive into the problem. Instead, begin with casual conversations and establish a mental connection.
Maintain a relaxed posture because that will put the employee at ease. A nervous, fidgeting mentor is hardly likely to ease the frayed nerves of an employee, and it will not make them feel confident in your ability to guide them.
As a mentor, you must have a clear vision of what is mentoring in the workplace all about. Always follow the basic rules of mentoring and the best practices.
You can become a better mentor if you act as a colleague first and a mentor later. Your mentee will likely feel intimidated and nervous if you begin with an I-know-it-all approach.
Mentoring employees is not only about telling them what to do. It involves collaboration, communication, and offering solutions based on what you observe and understand — in addition, drawing from your own experiences.
The purpose of workplace mentoring
The purpose of mentoring in the workplace is to help employees understand their roles and responsibilities clearly. The mentor must prepare them to deal with the various challenges they may encounter as they begin their professional journey in the organization.
The role of a mentor in the workplace also involves assisting the HR department in the faster onboarding of new employees through a well-established new employee mentoring program. This is achieved by providing new employees with relevant information about the company and telling them about its expectations.
Mentor relationships at work can also be established at professional levels. Professional development mentoring programs are commonplace in many organizations nowadays. In such programs, an experienced individual can help other professionals improve their professional output and personal relationships: both can benefit the organization in the long run.
Different types of mentoring
The different types of mentoring in the workplace include:
- Leadership development.
- Graduate-specific mentoring.
- Women’s leadership.
- Knowledge retention.
- Maternity & paternity mentoring.
- Skill sharing.
- Transitional periods.
However, the big picture of any staff mentoring program is to develop emerging leaders by identifying top performers and developing their leadership qualities.
Some examples of mentoring in the workplace, resulting in impressive outcomes, are:
- The mentorship program focuses on career and leadership guidance. Participant employees get the opportunity to work on various projects as a part of this program.
- Intel’s mentorship program is driven by employees who share the skills they are keen to learn. The mentor then matches them to the appropriate workshops and programs.
- General Electric has a two-year mentorship program aimed at helping employees improve their sales and marketing skills.
- The mentoring program at Morgan Stanley encourages and guides female employees in sales roles.
Benefits of becoming a mentor
The question that many people might ask is, why become a mentor at work? What are the benefits?
There are many benefits of becoming a mentor at work.
It is a confidence booster and also helps to improve communication skills. A study by Harvard Business Review on the positive effects of mentoring on mentors revealed that mentors experienced lower anxiety levels and found their job more meaningful than others.
Mentoring is a passion for many. You may read books on how to become a mentor, but effective mentoring is all about commonsense and understanding the needs of your mentees.
Good mentors will always let the mentee get major positives from a relationship but not steer its outcome. They will always encourage and inspire confidence in the mentee to achieve his goals.