“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.”
The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.
On 7th March, women from different walks of life sat around to discuss how to get the best from mentoring as a mentor and a mentee. Natacha Wilson who has an impressive career and acts as a mentor with the Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs and the Cherie Blair foundation for Women led the very enlightening workshop for the evening. Participants discussed a variety of topics such as what successful mentoring looks like, the reasons mentoring may not last and how and when to find mentorship.
Who should a mentee seek?
A mentee should firstly recognize that they could get mentoring when they need and not wait to face adversity before seeking help.
The workshop participants discussed what qualities and skill set look for in a mentor. First of all, they agreed that careers and similarity of background are quite important. Before starting the process, ensure that there is a rapport and trust with a potential mentor, who should have a behavioral awareness to be able to understand how other people may react to a situation. It is equally important for them to have a sense of humor and great communication skills. Ideally, the mentor should be committed to learning more about mentoring and help others manage self-care.
Who should a mentor seek?
A mentee who has clarity of go
als of what they would like out of their mentoring experience. An important tip from experienced mentors was to manage maximum two mentees, engage no longer than six months and get feedback halfway through the process.
What preparation can be done for mentoring?
A mentee should prepare an agenda for every meeting and have SMART goals to have a definition of success in mentorship. They should decide which area of their life they would like to discuss and set ground rules of commitment. In a meeting, the conversation should be led by the mentee with clarity on what they would like out of the mentoring experience. A mentor, on the other hand, could ask mentees to prioritize tasks vs timelines, identify the blockers, agree how to give feedback in a particular format and decide on boundaries. An employee could negotiate with an employer to find time for mentorship.
What could happen during the mentoring process?
It is important to recognize the moments where mentors find themselves getting too attached to a mentee’s progress, feeling like it is your responsibility to help achieve the goal of a mentee and do a lot more than required. It is vital to managing that closure when the mentorship finishes.
Towards the end of the workshop, a 5-minute speed mentoring session was held giving participants a glimpse of what the experience could be like. The workshop ended on a very positive note, listing the many benefits of mentoring. Mentors can help spot opportunities, build confidence, give impartial feedback and show broader perspectives. Mentees benefit from being listened to without interruption, can get help assessing risks and inspiration and motivation in their life. Most importantly you recognize how your life experiences can help anyone in a huge way, so get out there and get mentoring!
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