“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
How Mentors and Mentees Can Communicate More Effectively
Ever since the time of Ulysses or Odysseus, mentors have been around to provide insight and guidance to mentees or protégées. Today, a mentor’s role involves giving encouragement and practical plans on how to deal with personal dilemmas. This is typically given without bias towards a specific outcome or direction._
The number one thing for a mentor to keep in mind when guiding a mentee is, that while their own experience is invaluable, each person still has their own journey. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. As well as the successes, the mistakes the mentor has made also have a silver lining. For mentors, be ready to share yours and also support the mentee through theirs.
The wonderful thing about the perspective of the mentor is that it stretches five to 10 years into the mentee’s future. At its best, this view is more global in outlook and less tactical or immediate.
A mentoring relationship, whether it be an organic one or from a structured program, can be valuable for both parties involved, and the organisations they work for. This is not a student/teacher relationship, but is more comparable to that of a spiritual leader _ providing guidance, not answers.
A mentor, through their own experiences, can help fast track a mentee’s learning, provide valuable insights and support them to avoid the pitfalls in their career path.
Being such a unique relationship, both the mentor and the mentee need to take time to think and plan what they hope to achieve by forming the relationship, and the actions they will take to accomplish this. If well thought out, both mentor and mentee will uncover new approaches that they can apply to their own lives.
Listen with interest
A conversation goes two ways. A mentor needs to listen to a mentee’s needs in order to respond appropriately and a mentee has to listen to what the mentor is saying to them _ careful listening can reveal inner meanings, ideas and information they can apply to their own lives.
If this first crucial step doesn’t happen, there is little value in continuing the relationship.
Mentors _ understand yourself before you can understand others
As a mentor, you can work on your social and emotional intelligence so you can better understand yourself and others’ emotions and responses.
- Emotional intelligence is about self-awareness _ understanding your motivators, what annoys you or makes you happy - and being able to regulate your emotions.
- Social intelligence is about knowing yourself and also how you are reflected in the world _ how you appear to other people. SQ is also about picking up on others emotions and being able to use this information to relate to others effectively.
In order to develop social and emotional intelligence, you need to take a look at yourself and how you react in different situations. Next time you feel stressed, happy or angry, take a minute to think about why you feel this way. You can also observe how you interact with others and their reactions to you. How does the communication of your intention get reflected through the response of others?_Importantly for mentors, what did your observation teach you?
After a meeting, or discussion with your mentee, ensure you follow-up. This can be an SMS, a short email, or phone call to ask if there were any points that weren’t understood, if clarification is needed and also to provide feedback of how the meeting went.
This way there are fewer misinterpretations and the relationship can grow into a more effective one through the feedback provided. This supports both the mentor and mentee. Mentees should also be ready to share their opinion as well.
Investing time, effort and thought into this relationship will have benefits for both parties and will ensure the time and effort put into building it bears fruit.
Are you looking for a business mentor?
The Australian Businesswomen's Network runs the award-winning MentorNet Mentoring and Training Program, which begins 12 June 2012. Join us on 8 May for a free ‘Me & My Mentor’ information session if you’re ready to grow your business with the help of a mentor.