Natasha McCreesh is the founder of PIP to Grow Strong, her coaching, mentoring and collaboration business. She shares her tips on how to be a good peer mentor.
You might not identify yourself as a mentor if you are not officially engaged in a scheme. But the truth is, many of us naturally mentor our peers every day in our businesses. What should you bear in mind if you want to make your mentoring relationships more structured, taking them beyond the water cooler conversations?
If your company doesn't already have a mentoring scheme you can join, you could propose starting one, or you could reach out to a peer networking group in your industry.
As a mentor, your role is to ask questions, listen to responses, reflect back on what you have heard and encourage positive, future-focused goal creation.
In order to become a good mentor, you need to be CRAFTY!*
Curious – be genuinely interested in your mentee’s perspective
Responsive – connect with how your mentee is feeling, their mood and motivation
Assertive – be firm and persistent in encouraging clear, measurable and timed goals
Focused – be present, keep an eye on your framework and manage the session time
Thoughtful – be considerate of your mentee’s personality type and needs
Yes – create a positive environment with a ‘yes’ attitude to making progress
It is imperative that as a mentor you have clear boundaries. You are not expected to solve problems or do the work for your mentee. They own their action plan and are 100% accountable for acting on their goals.
You are not a counsellor. If you find yourself in this territory, reflect this back to your mentee and suggest that they seek professional support.
You can encourage and support your mentee to have tricky conversations or to raise concerns, but you don’t have to be an advocate for their ‘cause’.
It is important to form a solid agreement with your mentee; you invest your time with respect, by listening carefully and encouraging open sharing of goals and fears. Your mentee is asked to be honest and responsive to your questions.
Demonstrate that you value your mentee by showing up wholeheartedly, honouring your commitments and being present, and ask them to do the same.
Finally, make sure that you do what you say you are going to do, accept and admit when you can’t and ask your mentee to do the same.
*adapted from Mosaic’s How to be a Mosaic Mentor
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