Originally published at Mentoring How-tos
Have you ever thought about being a mentor? If you have done, you are in the right direction. Today many people earn their living, offering mentoring services. So, you may also become one of such successful people and gain your success. In this article, we are going to discuss the most important mentoring how-tos together. But first of all, let’s clearly identify who is a mentor and what is the mentoring role in the current digital era.
Many people confuse mentoring with coaching or teaching, but this is different. Mentoring is not just about sharing educational content. This is a mutually beneficial relationship between two sides aimed at reaching long-term career success. The mentor is not a teacher or a coach. They are the ones who share experience, skills, pieces of advice, and guidance with mentees who are less experienced in the field.
So, there is not a word about sharing tons of theoretical knowledge, formulas, or rules. Everything is based on experience throughout the practical activity and the arsenal of skills. The role of the mentor depends on continual support to the mentees in order to achieve career growth, gain confidence, or improve skills. As the mentors do not merely focus on the theoretical material, they are more likely to gain the mentees’ trust.
Now let’s go on and learn what are the most common and accepted mentoring qualities one should have.
Each of us needs a mentor at some point in our career. Just like we need some pieces of advice from our friends to make decisions or successfully overcome difficulties, — sometimes we also need people who can provide the same level of support in our career. Mentors can be valuable in just about any stage we are in, whether it is about looking for a relevant job position, getting adjusted in a role, looking to move up, or exploring a new and intimidating path.
Of course, not all mentors are created equally with the same experience or knowledge base. Then what are the qualities of a good mentor? You will get the answer to this question soon. In the case, you want to become a better mentor yourself, these qualities are highly recommended to take into consideration.
#1 Relevant Experience and Knowledge Base
As we know, the role of mentoring is based on experience. Accordingly, it is more than obvious that a mentor must be highly experienced in the industry or field they share support about. This is a must-have quality for every mentor.
These days, there are various niches and directions one may be experienced in. Every industry is divided into branches and to provide support, you need to be experienced in the field. Even if you choose an industry, you may still lack knowledge on any specific direction of its.
#2 Enthusiasm and Motivation
A good mentor should be motivated and always ready to share knowledge, provide support, and be there for the mentees. When the mentors are enthusiastic about the topic, they arouse the mentees’ interest as well and make them go deeper and gain better results.
The mentees should always have the feeling that you are always there, willing to share your knowledge and experience. As it is said, a good mentor gives advice not because they like to hear themselves talk, but because they genuinely want others to benefit from the hard-won wisdom they have learned over the course of their careers.
#3 A Respectful Attitude
People do not look for having a mentor who will criticize or offend them. As a mentor, you should show a respectful attitude towards the mentees, their lifestyle, knowledge, or skills. If you do not respect their personality or knowledge base, they will stop working with you, giving a bad name to your services.
Of course, all of us are human and from time to time we may show a disrespectful attitude towards others. In similar cases, a good mentor acknowledges their mistake and asks for an apology. Try to be nice.
#4 Eagerness to Invest in Others
Sharing is caring; mentoring is investing. Mentors are not as much focus on getting paid as they are to feel the joy and satisfaction of having helped others.
As a good mentor, you should realize that you are a part of a long game, and as a result, you should be patient in how you guide others down their path. You should never expect immediate gains, and even do not think about giving up easily. More importantly, you should care about maintaining and growing your professional relationships.
#5 Ability to Share Honest Feedback
Mentees need feedback to realize their drawbacks and work on improving them. You should provide honest feedback to help them in this process. A good mentor finds the right option to deliver feedback in a way that is constructive, kind, and direct. This feedback should also be sincere and honest, at the same time smooth enough in order not to hurt the mentees’ feelings.
You should be such a good mentor, that your mentees make better decisions and come out stronger with someone like you by their side.
#6 Reflective Listening and Empathy
As a mentor, you may have all the answers in your head, but if you do not listen to the mentees and understand where they come from, you are not likely to provide a satisfying answer to them. A good mentor tends to ask a lot of questions before telling you what to do.
As in every aspect of our lives, first of all, we need to identify the problem, then find the best possible solution for it. The same is here. Ask questions, show that you are curious about the answers, and learn the real needs. Then take into consideration your knowledge experience and provide options of solution.
#7 Willingness to Be a Sponsor
Not all of the mentors are sponsors as well, but it will be good if you be one. Such a mentor is not only sharing support and guidance but also acts as an advocate of the mentees in a different environment — public or private.
It is to say that if you really care about what you do and how your mentees benefit from your services, you should create opportunities for them to reach better roles, titles, or positions, they cannot gain on their own. In this way, your mentees will be more than satisfied. Isn’t this a goal you want to achieve?
Now you are already familiar with the qualities of a good mentor. You know what you need to do but you are not familiar with how to do it. And here I am to help you go deeper.
Mentoring How-tos You Need to Consider
Once George Bernard Shaw said: “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” People who have insight, wisdom, and expertise have much to offer the juniors. You also may have the power to foster a new generation of successful corporate learners. Therefore, first of all, you should find the best possible way to share your experience and knowledge. For instance, you may develop a mentorship online training program that follows the best practices. Now let’s dive deeper into the scope and discuss the how-tos of mentoring.
Step #1 Know Your Main Goals
During the mentoring session, you and the participants (mentees) should be aware of what skills, knowledge, or tasks are going to be discussed. Identifying your key goals and objectives also helps you to develop a solid framework for your mentorship online training program.
When you know the final goal, you can organize the overall process more easily and reach better results. Today, similar sessions are organized through online channels. It helps both the mentor and mentees manage their time more effectively and usefully. Besides, the digital approach help to reach goals easier thanks to the automation tools, thanks to which you may avoid some mechanical work.
Step #2 Focus on Specific Skills
As we have already discussed above, one may be a good specialist in any industry but do not master in all the directions of that scope. Your mentoring services will be effective when they target specific issues, such as improving necessary skill sets. Accordingly, you will create more focused mentorship activities and online training materials, as you clearly understand which sub-topics or secondary skills are going to be discussed as the key points. Create surveys, consider focus groups, skills assessments, and on-the-job observations to shortlist the skills that are going to be improved. In this way, you will also have the opportunity to discover performance gaps that need to be filled based on the responsibilities of the mentees.
Step #3 Focus on the Right Mentorship Group
There are two key roles that you must consider when developing a mentorship online training program. The first is the mentor, who will offer guidance, and the second one is the mentee. You should focus on the right group of mentees who have the needs you can help to meet. When you know the specific skills, you may identify the goals as well as the target group who may have the same objectives.
Step #4 Choose a Good Tool to Collaborate
I recommend you going for digital mentoring. It is more effective, targeted, and required these days. You reach a wider market and get an opportunity to work with more mentees. In this route, you will need to have an effective online collaboration tool that will allow you to hold regular meetings, share documents, and keep track of milestones and deadlines.
One of such platforms is Uteach. Here you may create an e-learning platform where it will be possible to organize your mentoring sessions. There is an opportunity not only to conduct online live time meetings but also to publish and sell video courses. The greatest thing is that no technical knowledge is required, and a platform may be created within minutes. Besides, you will get a 35-days of FREE trial.
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Step #5 Collect Feedback and Track the Progress
Your online mentorship training program is a constant work in progress. There are always ways to improve the collaboration between you (as a mentor) and the mentees. Here you may develop more effective online training materials to suit their evolving needs. However, only providing good content is not enough. The success of your mentorship program highly relies on the feedback and input of the mentees.
Carry out periodic surveys, focus groups, and questionnaires to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your online training strategy. You may also create online tests. Uteach offers such a quiz builder with an automated checking function. In this way, you will also get an opportunity to track the progress individually and determine if the corporate eLearning teams may need to be shuffled.
Step #6 Offer Mentor-Mentee Guidelines
Every pair of mentors and mentees should follow detailed guidelines in order to maximize efficiency and productivity. This outline should include the preferred method of communication, as well as timing — how often the meetings are, how long the training program is expected to last, how the progress will be assessed, etc.
Of course, it takes time and planning, but creating a solid foundation for your mentors and mentees will prevent confusion in the future. Additionally, the guidelines should mention all of the tools and resources that are available to you and the mentees. You will use this list during the mentoring process to develop online training activities on your own or explore related sub-topics.
To Sum Up
An online mentorship training program is a great chance to use a framework to share ideas, provide feedback, and impart insights. Considering all the above-mentioned points as well as showing the qualities of a good mentor, you may develop your mentorship online training program. Keep in mind that in this way, you ensure the future success of your mentees, providing guidance and support. The online tools will make your responsibilities easier to take. Go in the right direction. Good Luck!