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May 2005 - Mentoring: Part 2

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.May 2005

Mentoring:  Part 2

Last month I told the importance of mentoring others. Now let’s consider how to be an effective mentor.

Write a Contract.  Consider writing a contract spelling out what both the mentor and the one being mentored will do—perhaps including frequency and times for meetings and deliverables or preparation needed by each of them. Although not always necessary for informal mentoring, a contract specifies expectations from each party and reduces the chance of misunderstanding.

Set Meeting Times.  Set times such as every other Thursday at 10:00 am, knowing that the time can change if either party has a conflict. If a meeting has to be cancelled, make certain to reschedule. Regularity helps mentoring. Missed meetings tend to lead to more missed meetings and deterioration of the relationship.

Maintain Symmetry.  Often the mentor will be senior in position, rank, and age; therefore, proper respect must be shown. But much like a relationship with family members or friends, mutual respect and balance is necessary. Without symmetry, the mentoring relationship will not last.

Ensure Dual Input.  Both must have a say about what is discussed. While the more experienced mentor will have more knowledge, the mentored will likely have specific questions and concerns. As in any balanced relationship, both should have input about what is to be accomplished.

Stress candor and openness.  Honesty and trust is crucial. There must be no hidden agendas and no falsifying of information. The effectiveness of mentoring depends upon both parties being candid and open. Mentors must be honest in their assessments and mentored must be honest in their questions, discussion, and information presented.

The bottom line of the mentor/mentored relationship is this: Stress Relationship!

Next month I’ll tell characteristics of effective mentors.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

May 2005 - Mentoring: Part 2
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