Mentoring can best be described as a process in which we invest in the success of other people. A good mentor sees the potential and ability in their mentee, but rather than explicitly telling them what to do, helps them to reveal the right pathway for themselves.
It is this model of empowerment and guidance, that has proved so popular for individuals and organisations alike. Studies have shown the benefits of mentoring to include greater career success, increased opportunities and higher levels of engagement in the workplace. Many organisations are now seeing the benefits of mentoring with over 70% of Fortune 500 companies offering mentoring programs for their employees.
2) Co-design the structure
One of the main challenges when beginning mentoring, can be the lack of an agreed structure. This can lead to the mentoring sessions being vague and devoid of any real benefits or outcomes. It is important for both parties to have a shared understanding of what they want to get out of the process and real clarity around how this will be achieved. Setting clear parameters for the mentoring sessions, agreeing on methods of accountability and feedback, discussing each person’s roles and responsibilities and discussing levels of confidentiality are all elements to be considered when designing a successful mentoring structure.
3) Check in & reflect
Once the relationship has been established, the structure put in place and the mentoring process is up and running, it is imperative to build in mechanisms to reflect and evaluate on what is working and what could be improved. Taking a couple of minutes at the end of each mentoring session to discuss what has been helpful and what might to be done slightly differently, will strengthen the efficacy of future sessions, and should also build deeper levels of trust within the relationship.