Want to Become a Better Mentor? Here’s What You Can Do

If you want to become a better mentor, you’re in the right place. 

Check out these tips to help you hone your mentoring skills.

Understand What You Want

You can only be a great mentor once you know what you want from the mentorship. 

Do you want to aid someone’s professional development? 

Are you looking to share your expertise with someone new to the industry? 

Spend some time understanding your objectives for the mentorship. 

This will help you be clear about your goals and expectations and enable you to find the perfect mentee.

You can start to take steps to become a great mentor when you know what you want from a mentorship. 

For example:

  • Have patience: It takes time for mentorship to blossom. Do not anticipate immediate results or overnight success. Be patient and give your mentee the time they need to develop into their new position.
  • Be available: Your mentee should be able to rely on you for questions and advice. Of course, you don’t need to be available 24/7, but try to be as accessible as possible.

It’s important, to be honest in any relationship, but it’s especially important in a mentorship. 

Your mentee needs to be able to trust you, so be honest with them about your thoughts and feelings. 

Tell them when they’re doing well, and give constructive criticism.

A good mentor is supportive without being overbearing. 

Offer help when needed, but also give your mentee the room they need to grow independently.

Set Expectations from the Start

It’s essential that you set the appropriate expectations right from the beginning if you want to be an excellent mentor. 

Unfortunately, people often enter mentoring relationships without clearly understanding what to expect or knowing what they want, which is a problem.

Consider what you want to achieve before you start mentoring someone. 

For example, do you want to assist with their professional or personal growth

On the other hand, you may want to help them hone particular skills. 

Once you know your objectives, you can begin setting expectations.

Make sure your mentee knows what you want from them. 

For example, tell them the types of things you’ll be looking for and how often you plan to meet. 

Also, let them know they can come to you with any difficulties.

Lastly, ensure that you uphold your commitments.

For example, if you agree to meet weekly, ensure you do. 

The same goes if you say you’ll assist with a certain objective. 

Again, the only way to gain trust is by consistently following through.

Take a Genuine Interest in Your Mentee

You can become an excellent mentor by taking a real interest in your mentee. 

First, get to know them well on a personal level and try to comprehend what their goals and aspirations are. 

Once you understand what they desire, you can start finding ways to assist them in achieving it.

Being a mentor is not simply about giving guidance; it’s also about developing relationships and aiding people in their growth. 

If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an excellent mentor.

Build Trust

One of the most vital things you can do when mentoring someone is to create trust. 

Unfortunately, if that trust is shattered, it can be hard to fix. 

Fortunately, there are ways to establish trust and have a beneficial, fruitful relationship with your mentee.

Below are some tips to help you earn your mentee’s trust:

  • Be truthful and transparent with them. If you’re not comfortable sharing something, be sure to communicate that to them. They will value your honesty, and it will help foster trust.
  • It’s important always to keep your word. If you tell your mentee you’ll do something, follow through. This builds trust and shows them that they can rely on you.
  • Make sure to listen to what your partner has to say. This will demonstrate that you care about their perspective and want to hear them out. Additionally, it’ll help foster a positive relationship between you.
  • Give them time. They may not comprehend everything immediately, but if you’re patient, they’ll come to understand eventually. Trust takes time to build, so don’t try to force it.

Know When to Give Advice

The most effective mentors know when it’s best to give advice and when to lend a listening ear. 

If you’re not mindful, you could easily become the “know-it-all” who always gives unwanted advice. 

That’s different from what people want.

It’s a sign of a good mentor knowing when to give advice and when to lend a listening ear. 

However, if you’re not sure when it’s appropriate to offer guidance, here are some general tips:

  • If someone is having difficulty and asks for your assistance, give them your time and energy. Your guidance may be exactly what they need to get back on track.
  • If someone is doing something that could harm themselves or others, it’s best to say something. In these cases, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • It can be tempting to offer your opinion when someone is venting about a situation but try to hold back if it doesn’t seem like they want advice. It’s crucial to let people vent without making them feel like they’re being judged or criticized.

There are, of course, always exceptions to these rules.

The key is to use your best judgment and always be respectful. 

If you’re unsure, ask the person if they want your advice before giving it.

Don’t Assume Anything

One of the most dangerous things you can do when mentoring someone is to presume that you know what they need or want to hear. 

This not only doesn’t work but can also be very hurtful. 

If you want to be a good mentor, there are three things you should always keep in mind: don’t jump to conclusions, don’t assume anything, and ask instead of assuming.

It is essential to keep in mind that everyone is unique when doling out advice. 

What was effective for you may not work for your mentoring individual. 

Instead of making assumptions, ask questions and carefully listen to the responses. 

Only then will you be able to give the guidance your mentee needs.

Furthermore, don’t take it for granted that your mentee knows everything. 

Even if someone is younger or has less experience, they can still offer insightful perspectives. 

Respect their intelligence and let them share their thoughts without making them feel they need to explain themselves.

Finally, don’t assume your mentee is comfortable with everything just because they don’t say anything. 

Many people are hesitant to speak up, especially if they’re still determining how their ideas will be received. 

If you want to create an open and supportive environment, make it a point to encourage your mentee to voice their thoughts and concerns freely.

You can maintain a strong relationship with your mentee and help them grow by following these three pieces of advice.

Share Your Journey

One of the best things you can do as a mentor is to share your journey with your mentee. 

This doesn’t mean you have to share every gory detail, but talking about your experiences and how you got to where you are today can be incredibly helpful for someone trying to figure out their path.

Being transparent about your journey will not only provide your mentee with a different perspective but will also allow them to see you as a fallible human being with weaknesses and challenges instead of just a successful individual who has always had everything together. 

In addition, being candid about your experiences allows your mentee to feel more comfortable discussing their own life with you and being open about what they’re currently going through.

Celebrate Achievements

One of the best things you can do as a mentor is to celebrate your mentee’s accomplishments—both big and small. 

This sends the message that you are committed to their success and want to see them progress.

Make sure to celebrate your mentee’s major accomplishments with them. 

This can be as easy as taking them out for coffee or lunch or sending them a congratulatory message. 

Simply saying “congrats” or “way to go” is sufficient for less significant successes.

Celebrating your mentee’s accomplishments demonstrates that you are both supportive and invested in their success—two key characteristics of a good mentor.

Seek Out Resources

Whether you’re a new or experienced mentor, finding resources to assist you in your role is always beneficial. 

After all, mentoring is a complex process that necessitates continual learning and growth.

There are some specific things you can do to become a better mentor, such as:

  • Share resources with your mentee. This could be anything from articles and books to website recommendations and helpful blog posts. If you have expertise in a certain area, consider sharing your knowledge with your mentee through tips, tricks or templates.
  • Encourage your mentee to network. One of the best ways to learn and grow is by meeting new people and hearing about their experiences. As their mentor, you can help facilitate these introductions.
  • Share your knowledge. In addition to sharing resources, another key way to support your mentee is by offering advice based on your own experiences. This could be advice on navigating a particular situation or overcoming a challenge. Either way, sharing your wisdom can be invaluable in helping your mentee grow and develop.

Conclusion

Although it can be tough to improve at mentoring, it is possible to do so. 

Use the tips above as a beginning, and have patience–it might take some time to observe any changes. 

Remember that the most successful mentors are often those who have had mentors themselves. 

If you can find somebody willing to help you and guide you through the process, you will start from a great place.