Are you mentoring anyone right now? If not, it might be time to start. Whether you’ve been mentored in the past or are considering mentoring someone now, this type of professional relationship is a key aspect of honest and inspiring leadership. Let’s take a look at why mentorship matters no matter where you are in your leadership journey – and a few tips for making the most of mentorship skills right now.
What is Mentoring?
We should know by now that it can be unnecessarily hard to achieve success all by ourselves. There is no need to re-invent the wheel when we can learn from those who came before us. Having or being a mentor provides a perspective that is an advantage to developing the skills that lead to growth and achievement.
Mentoring goes a lot deeper than simply teaching someone how to do something and checking to make sure they’ve done it correctly. Working one-on-one with someone and actively listening to their long-term personal and career goals to help them achieve is an art form. And it should be a rewarding experience for both parties.
Real mentoring comes from a place of genuine interest in the success of someone else – and the real payoff for us as leaders is that we get to see our protege succeed.
Mentoring is not just periodically checking in with someone every once in a while or just giving critical feedback; it’s a two-way street that requires both the mentor and the protege to develop a real rapport. Some mentors work with their proteges for many months or years, thanks to a strong relationship built on truly taking an interest in the growth process and their success.
How mentorship matters & makes you an inspiring leader
When we teach others, we often learn a lot about ourselves in the process. Who we teach also becomes a key part of growth. Seeking out proteges who come from different backgrounds and have different experiences will help us to see the world from different points of view – something the best leaders understand well.
This broader viewpoint is one that delivers a better view of the whole picture; it will help you see the forest through trees. That larger perspective will give you a lot more information to work with when it comes to making key decisions for your success. After all, if we only worked closely with people that are just like us in every way, the world would be a simple but boring place.
A fascinating 2006 study on the effects of mentorship concluded that “mentoring has a positive impact on mentors and mentees, producing employees that are more highly valued by the business.” It also found that 25% of employees in a test group who took part in the company’s mentoring program had a salary grade change, compared with 5% of employees in a control group who did not participate in the program. The research also showed that the program had positive financial benefits for mentors: 28% of mentors in the test group had a salary grade change as opposed to just 5% in the control group.
Let’s look at a few tips for effective mentorship.
How to Create an Effective Mentorship
Develop their strengths
Take the time to learn about what skills and traits your protege already brings to the table so that you can help them further develop those talents. This can help you identify where they shine best, so together you can expand those skills while working on their challenges as well.
Tell your own stories
Share your successes and failures for them to take into consideration when thinking through their own professional journeys. Putting your own personal touch on a message can help illustrate the lesson and allow your protege to relate to it more personally.
Meet challenges and overcome them
What particular challenges does your protege face? Identify and meet the challenges head-on, and constructively help them overcome those challenges with clear tools, techniques, or resources. Rather than give vague “don’ts” or “nevers,” try to provide concrete options for potential solutions. This way, your protege will have a bigger pool of choices and ideas to choose from when their challenges arise in the real world.
Everyone learns differently, so taking the time to get to know how your protege learns best is going to give you a lot of specific insight into which direction to take your mentorship program. Whether they’re a visual learner, a logical learner who loves systems and procedures, or a social learner who thrives on social skills, deciphering the learning style of your protege is essential. Click here to watch more about the seven different types of Learning Styles.
Mentorship matters because investing your time into someone else’s success matters. Allow your own experiences and knowledge to provide a piece of the knowledge puzzle that will help your protege reach their goals. You will see how your business also benefits along the way.
For more guidance on great leadership techniques to take your business to the next level, head to Evil Genius Leadership Consultants for weekly or bi-weekly coaching packages that are tailored to your own unique needs. We offer a free initial consultation – spend an hour with one of our coaches for a closer look at how Evil Genius can work for you.