Teaching imparts knowledge but it doesn’t always provide the confidence that comes from experience. As a mentor, your goal is to make your mentee a better project manager through guided experience.
Mentoring is the art of passing on the lessons you have learned so that others can succeed. As a mentor, you have an opportunity to help someone with less experience grow by equipping them with the support and self-confidence they need to succeed. To do this, you need to be a wise counselor and a well-connected networker able to facilitate the kind of assistance that helps your mentee achieve success.
There are 10 ways to be a great mentor which include:
- Start by setting examples. Your own example of success delivery shows that you know what you are talking about.
- Consider mentoring to be the start of a long-term relationship. Your aim is not to run a one-off session to impart a skill, but rather to develop ongoing conversations that help your mentee develop what they need to succeed. A good way to do this is to develop critical listening skills. Hear what they have to say before you ask questions or provide advice.
- Develop a program of guided experiences that suit what the mentee really needs to master. Some mentees may need to go back to the basics while some only need few subtle pointers.
- Set Informal goals and milestones to give your mentee a sense of progress.
- Make one or two goals a challenge and ensure they understand these goals are above and beyond.
- Develop your mentee’s sense of ownership of career by showing them how small changes in behavior, attitude and practice can have a large impact on their abilities.
- Use your position within the organization to empower them to succeed.
- Maintain regular communication with your mentees to access progress. Don’t underestimate the importance of meetings over lunch or coffee. Informal contexts develop honest communications you can’t get in the office.
- Consider their age and motivation. Millennials may be motivated by being able to share small successes with their social networks, while older mentees may respond better to the possibility of career enhancement.
- Be their filter. The digital age means there is a vast amount of available information. Anyone can go read up on a subject but they need you to become the filter they can use to weed out the bad from relevant and useful.
Mentoring is good for your own career too. Not only does it grow your leadership and communication abilities, but it enhances your value and company.