Be a mentor August 6, 2008Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Management.
Tags: being a mentor, helping others, mentor, picking someone to mentor
In my last entry, I talked about the characteristics of an effective mentor. Those characteristics apply to you as well. If you want to be a mentor, you need to know about the person and be honest with them. It is extremely important that you want to help this other person be successful.
The Big Dogz know how important it is to be a mentor; they do not waste time and energy waiting for people to ask them to be mentors. The Big Dogz take an active strategy — they seek out people to mentor.
- Take an honest self assessment. What skills do you have that could help someone else?
- Look around your world. Who do you see that shows promise in that skill area?
- Approach the person and offer to help them. It is not necessary that you use the word “mentor”. In some situations this may scare the person away from you. Let them know you think you could help them in an informal way. Also be aware of organization hierarchy; make sure you are not stepping on anyone’s toes. If you think you might be doing this, talk to their manager first.
- Identify the ‘rules of engagement’ with this person. Call me once a month for an hour. Send me emails. Here’s how we will interact when we meet. Go light at first. Some people may be intimidated by you or your position.
- Help the person construct a mentoring plan. Identify specific skills you will be working on with them.
- In a normal mentor relationship, it is up to the mentee to drive the schedule and topics. Since you are initiating this process, take the initiative for a few sessions to let the person see that you are serious about helping them. Usually, they will start to take control of the mentor process. If they don’t do that after 6 or 7 sessions, it probably means they are not getting enough out of the arrangement. You may need to look elsewhere for people to mentor.
The Big Dogz are always looking for people to mentor. They generally have 3-5 active mentoring situations taking place. One of the great things about mentoring others is that you build a foundation of knowledge about people’s capabilities and can tap into your mentees when you need help.
Another potentially huge payoff for mentoring a person is when they are successful and rise higher in the organization than you. You now have an ally in high places.
Start today! Look around your organization for potential people to mentor. There are huge benefits awaiting you.