Mentoring employees is a part of any leading role. A manager has the responsibility to develop their team to get the best out of them.
Never be scared to help someone develop. Mentoring is a great way to empower and engage your employees, many of whom will see the effort that is being put into them, and enhances satisfaction and engagement with the business.
There are several ways that mentoring can be executed, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each person has their own way of learning so find a way that works for both them and you.
Some mentoring employees tips include:
Choose your candidate
You do not have to mentor one of your direct reports. You do not even have to mentor someone in the same department. Find someone who you see potential in, regardless of what department or team they are in at the moment.
Build a real connection
Authenticity is a key factor here, so as a mentor you need to be able to build a real relationship with your mentee. There must be a level of comfort in your meetings allowing the person being mentored to get the most out of the sessions. This goes both ways, as your development will be a part of this process too. Ask open ended questions initially, which will show you how their thought processes work, as well as guide you in the best way to mentor this employee. Earning the trust of your mentee will ensure the relationship continues strongly.
Make the time
Meetings overrun, are rescheduled, calls come in, and let’s not forget the occasional moment of firefighting. If you do have problems with meeting up with your mentee for one reason or another, try to make this time up. This programme is for them and their long-term career, so always try and maintain a regular conversation.
This also goes both ways, and if your mentee isn’t putting the effort in that you require, then a conversation needs to be had.
Hands on learning
Mentored employees have a higher level of dedication to a business, and this can be expanded with hands on learning. Get them involved in projects that they may not necessarily have had a chance to without your guidance. Sometimes a totally different perspective can achieve wonders.
Gauge their strengths and weaknesses
Find out where their strengths and weaknesses are, and work with them to utilise and polish their strengths. When it comes to weaknesses, explain what they are and give the mentee the support and tools to improve these areas. Be aware though, that we all have weaknesses and there are no perfect people.
Create a goal plan
Work with your mentee to find out what their long-term aspirations are and create a plan to fit them for short term (immediate) and long term (stretch) expectations. Don’t be afraid to push the stretch goals, whether they seem lofty ambitions or not. If this is where your mentee wants to aim, help them create the goal plan and measurables for them to get there, so they have the relevant focus, and don’t lose confidence.
Being a mentor is not something that everyone enjoys, which is why those that don’t, don’t. There will always be good and bad days, but when you see someone that you have coached progress well, it’s a pretty good feeling.