Mentoring: Part 2
Last month I told the
importance of mentoring others. Now
let’s consider how to be an effective mentor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The bottom line of the mentor/mentored relationship
is this: Stress Relationship!
month I’ll tell characteristics of effective mentors.