Mentoring: Part 3
For the past two months
we’ve discussed (1) the importance of leaders mentoring others and (2)
how to be a mentor. This month we’ll look at six characteristics of effective
Invest time and
effort. Mentoring takes time. Unfortunately, when time
is short, mentoring falls by the wayside. This is unfair to
individuals that need mentoring and to the organization that needs
people mentored. Regular ongoing mentoring is important.
Coach and develop. The terms, “mentoring” and
“coaching’ are often used together.
coaches provide on-the-job training—a way for the person being
mentored to learn by doing. Effective mentors stand on the
sidelines offering words of positive criticism and encouragement.
Enlist help from
others. When mentors don’t have the necessary expertise,
they willingly connect the person to someone who can help.
Effective mentors realize the importance of using their contacts to help
the person being mentored.
stretch. Effective mentors don’t allow those being mentored
to do less than their best. Mentors challenge others to think
creatively, try new things and engage in new ways of acting.
Mentors encourage others to stretch beyond the boundaries of their
deficiencies. Everyone has some knowledge, skill, and attitude
deficiencies. Mentors can often observe the deficiencies and even
arrange for the person being mentored to take tests and inventories to
identify KSA shortfalls so action can be taken to correct them.
Provide a positive
role model. The most effective thing a mentor can do is to be
a positive role model. As the poet Edgar Guest once said, “I
soon can learn to do it if you let me see it done; I can watch your
hands in action but your tongue too fast may run . . . And the
lecture you deliver may be very wise and true, But I'd rather get my
lessons by observing what you do.” Never underestimate the value
One of the most
important things leaders do is mentor others. Re-read the April
and May columns, as well as this one, and then
focus on the importance of mentoring, how to mentor, and the
characteristics of effective mentoring. Finally, apply what you’ve