If you are considering mentoring a younger person, here are some things to think about.
- Make sure that mentoring is for you. Most effective mentors truly, deeply enjoy helping younger people grow and develop. Make sure you’re likely to enjoy the process before you take it on.
- Make sure you have the time and flexibility. If your schedule is already overloaded or you’re under stress at home, you might want to consider holding off on a mentoring commitment until things are a little less hectic.
- Make sure you know what you bring to the table. None of us is good at everything, but every one of us is really good at something. If you know what you’re good at and what other things you may bring to the table, you’re more likely to be successful.
In his excellent book, Winning, Jack Welch says that “There is no one right mentor. There are many right mentors.” From your perspective, that means you don’t have to do everything. You aren’t the only place that your protégé should get help.
- Make sure you know what kind of people you like to work with and which ones are hard for you. Mentoring should be a pleasant relationship for both of you.
- Make sure you know what you expect from your protégé. It’s a good idea to tell him or her what you expect them to do. Clear expectations are vital to a mentoring relationship.
- Make sure you know that a good mentoring relationship should be a good experience for both of you. You should both enjoy it. You should both grow and develop. And you should both make a friend for life.
I’m regularly reminded that the most effective leaders have not just one, but several people they will confide in so they can seek different perspectives both within and outside their organisation. They not only mentor others but are themselves mentored by others. As I was reminded recently – “Mentoring is a team sport!”.
Mentoring can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your career or it can be a frustrating and time-consuming trial. Make sure you know what you’re getting into.