“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby
However, mentoring does much more than a quote can say. The importance of mentoring cannot be overemphasized. With the right mentorship, you stand a better chance of developing new skills in record time and in going farther than you could ever imagine.
Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the nitty gritty of mentoring. How to choose a mentor, tips to consider when choosing one and its benefits.
First, let’s answer this frequently asked question:
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is the process of helping someone learn and acquire the knowledge of a more experienced person.
Mentoring is all about supporting, encouraging, and guiding people to realize their full potential in life.
Mentoring can take various forms and also can happen both in a formal and informal environment.
According to Neal Taparia, a serial entrepreneur who runs classic gaming platform Solitaired.com, “Mentoring is also about emotional support. Everyone has challenges, and mentors help people know they’re not alone.”
Types of Mentoring.
Mentoring can take different forms. People can receive mentorship in several ways in any field of human endeavor. Teachers, members of the clergy, corporate professionals, medical experts, academicians, software developers and handymen, all need the guidance of a good mentor.
Various experts have come up with different types of mentoring based on different considerations.
The following are the major types of mentoring being used in the training and human resources industry:
In formal mentoring, the relationship between the mentor and the mentee is regulated. Here the participants follow a well-structured program.
We see formal mentoring in the workplace or in the school environment where the mentee is assigned to a mentor who will guide and supervise important tasks and projects. For instance, a mentee can play the role of a personal or virtual assistant to a mentor.
In a remote or hybrid work setting, regular productive physical and telemeetings can be organized to facilitate communication between the mentor and the mentee.
Informal mentoring takes place without any formal structure and programs. There is no accountability and the participants are not bound to follow any laid down rules.
Informal mentoring may come from a neighbor, a religious leader, an elder sibling, or a teacher who guides you when you have to make personal and career choices.
As the name suggests, one-on-one mentoring involves two persons; the mentor and the mentee. The mentorship structure is set up in such a way that the mentor can closely monitor the progress of the mentee. This type of mentoring is common between virtual assistants and mentors.
Group mentoring involves one or more mentors with several mentees. This type of mentoring allows several people to be trained and mentored at the same time within a short time. Employee training programs are often fashioned after the group mentoring model.
With this type of mentoring, there is little or no personal relationship between the parties.
The Benefits of Mentoring.
It’s no secret that life throws us a couple of curve balls when we least expect it. When this happens, we get stuck, demotivated, and many quit along the way.
A mentor can take your hand and show you the next step to take at each point in time. In other words, they help you to figure out how to achieve your set goals.
The big question, however, is what other benefits does mentoring offer?.
To make your job easier, we have outlined and explained several benefits of mentoring our personal, professional, career, financial, and spiritual development.
During mentorship, mentees experience an increase in their level of confidence. In their work titled “Unique types of mentoring for diverse groups in the military”, S.B. Knouse and S.C. Webb concluded that team mentoring can provide a sense of identity that can enhance the self-esteem of individual team members.
The mentoring process allows mentees to acquire new ideas and knowledge from a more experienced and knowledgeable mentor. Because mentors spend years studying and practising the craft, they can easily transfer knowledge and wisdom to the greenhorns under their tutelege.
Mentoring can provide novel insights for all the individuals engaged in a mentoring program.
Mentoring is one great way to develop cutting-edge resume skills. The inexperienced create their curriculum vitae through gathering work experience and working with an experienced leader.
One field where mentorship is taken very seriously is software development. In the first quarter of 2021 mentoring made a big impact in the virtual space leading to the spawning of many e-learning apps./With the guidance of a good mentor, a trainee can become more proficient in a specific field of work or study.
Expansion of the Mentee’s Social Network
Mentoring offers the mentee a great opportunity to gain a larger and richer social network. This is often because the mentor has amassed not just a wealth of knowledge in the field, but a wide network.
During the mentorship process, the mentor may introduce the mentee to experts and clients in a specific field of study. A diverse network can contribute to career and personal growth.
Helps The Mentor Experience The Pride Of Giving Back
Mentoring does not only benefit the mentee; there are many benefits that a mentor gets from guiding an inexperienced person. A recent research by Rajashi Ghosh of Drexel University and Thomas G. Reio of the Florida International University suggests that mentors also derive huge benefits from the mentoring process.
Tips For Identifying And Choosing A Good Mentor.
All mentors aren’t created equal. Not all mentors are a great fit for certain mentees.
To derive the most benefit from the mentorship process, it is best to find, identify and choose the right mentor.
Before you set off on the journey of identifying and choosing a mentor you have to first determine your professional and personal goals. This will make it easier for you to select someone who can offer a well-balanced and relevant perspective.
Listed below are certain criteria to keep in mind during the section process:
- the kind of skills the protege hopes to develop
- the goals the learner wants to achieve
- And the level of experience of both the mentor and the mentee.
However, it is important to consider the fact the mentor has to possess certain important traits and characteristics. These qualities will increase their likelihood of being successful in their role as guides.
The following qualities and traits should be present in any mentor you decide to choose:
Ability To Listen Attentively
In this world of the internet, mentors will need to explore both synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication.
A good mentor must be open to listening effectively during personal and impersonal meetings. Effective listening strategies must be used during teleconference meetings and physical meetings.
In order to have the required influence and impact, a good mentor must be committed to listening to and understanding the mentee.
So choose a mentor who is a good listener or one who’s working on improving his/her listening skills.
Flexible and Open To Experiments
A good mentor is not rigid. A mentor who is too strict and controlling will make it difficult for the mentee to acquire the required knowledge. Sometimes, a protege may want to experiment with a new technique or format. A good mentor will encourage the protege to try out as many new things as they may be open to exploring.
Knowledgeable and Wiser
Ever heard of the saying, “you cannot give what you don’t have?” That is so true in mentoring. The best mentors are authorities and experts in their chosen field of learning. They will be in the best position to transfer knowledge to their understudies or assistants. Before you choose a mentor, ensure the person is an authority in the relevant area.
Ability To Give Honest Feedback
An honest feedback from a mentor is a great way of helping the mentee to become more proficient in carrying out tasks. Choose a mentor that is skilled at offering honest feedback.
Shows Preparedness to Learn
Mentoring is a symbiotic relationship. Good mentors are therefore eager to learn from those they are mentoring.
Great Social Skills
A good mentor has decent social skills and is able to interact with colleagues and proteges. Choose a mentor who interacts with people effectively. A sociable mentor is more likely to know how to share learnings and guide you in an easy-to-understand manner.
Possesses Great Life Philosophies
Focus on the person’s life philosophies. Figure out if they inspire you. Also, you want to check if the values of your potential mentor match yours.
Wrap Up On Mentoring:
According to the study by Gosh and Reio, individuals who served under mentors reported greater job satisfaction and more commitment to their work.
Mentoring is, therefore, one of the best ways for the development and growth of individuals and organizations.
Mentoring is useful for both the mentor and the mentee who can both learn and improve themselves in the process.