Leadership Is Mentoringship

All leaders need mentors of their own! A mentor is someone who is wise and who can be trusted at all times. Mentors are often seen as counselors, teachers, coaches, advisors, positive role models, friends, or advocates. In short, a mentor is a person of influence who is probably older than the mentee and who is considered an expert in a particular area. Mentors take interest in developing another person’s leadership, gifts, talents, and abilities.

Mentors have both interpersonal and professional relationships with their mentees. They assist them with their personal goals, and they tailor their approach according to the personality and the current issue(s) of their mentees. Mentors also guide others according to the culture, ethnicity, gender and experiences of their mentee. There are many benefits of mentorship. Mentees will mostly benefit from being exposed to new knowledge, a new concept of life, and a new way of thinking about their craft.

The mentee will learn, because the mentor uses different teaching methods, many of which may differ from their own. In addition, he or she will learn by seeing things through the eyes of their mentor as the partners share their viewpoints. The mentee will benefit by improving their character, ethnics, morals, performance, retention rates, commitment, knowledge, and more. Other benefits include the following: the development of new skills, boosting one’s self-confidence, increasing cooperation and positive behavioral patterns.

A mentor can also benefit from mentoring others. He or she can gain leadership attributes and a better understanding of leadership as a whole, as it relates to the personal development of the mentee. A mentoring partnership can be an enriching experience. You can develop your leadership and communication skills as well as contribute toward your own career advancement.

Mentoring can also give you a great overall sense of personal satisfaction, knowing that you are helping someone else learn and grow on a professional and personal level.

Mentors can apply their leadership skills in the organization, especially by working with others with diverse backgrounds. They can gain knowledge that will improve their time management, communication, and networking skills by meeting regularly with their mentee.

Most importantly, the mentor will gain self-gratification by enriching their mentee’s lives. In this way, they are giving back to the community as they train others to become future mentors themselves. The process is cyclical in nature, and it serves mentors and mentees alike.

Mentoring sessions can be setup in four different ways:

1. Informal Structured Sessions. This is a series of casual and relaxed meetings over a brief period of time (SHORT TERM – for example, thirty days or less).

2. Informal Structured Sessions. This is a series of meetings that extend over a longer period of time (LONG TERM – for example, two years or perhaps indefinitely).

3. Highly Structured Sessions. This is a series of meeting sessions that are scheduled for a brief period of time (SHORT TERM- for example, thirty days or less).

4. Highly Structured Sessions. This is a series of meeting sessions that that extend over a longer period of time (LONG TERM – for example, two years or perhaps indefinitely).

Again, the way these meetings are setup will differ depending on a person’s personality, culture, ethnicity, gender, history, location, experiences, needs, and issue(s) at hand.

While the meeting sessions are taking place, mentors should keep in mind that there are a number of things they should and should not do while they are with their mentee. Below is a list of what mentors should and should not do in their meeting sessions:

Should Do:
1 Acknowledge the areas in which you can offer: information, skills, experiences, etc.
2 Acknowledge the areas in which you do not have the necessary skills and refer the mentee to other resources.
3 Agree upon a set schedule date and time to interact with the mentee -that is at least once a week or once a month.
4 Ask your mentee to help you make the topic decisions and plan the activities.
5 Assist in making the connection between his/her actions of today and the dreams and goals he/she has for tomorrow.
6 Make sure to be open with your mentee, but avoid being overtly critical right from the start.
7 Be committed to your mentee.
8 Be open-minded to new experiences and different ideas
9 Be patient and build trust.
10 Challenge, motivate, inspire and encourage.
11 Clarify expectations about the extent to which you will offer guidance.
12 Communicate examples of personal experiences and challenges-when appropriate.
13 Communicate openly about helpful information.
14 Contact your mentee, if you have not heard from him/her for a while.
15 Decide how you will interact in the future or at the next meeting.
16 Discuss all money transactions for any meeting sessions, activities, etc.
17 Discuss and define common goals and the meeting purpose.
18 Discuss any questions or concerns.
19 Discuss training and educational opportunities.
20 Discussions between you and your mentee are considered confidential.
21 Encourage self-directed reflection, analysis and problem solving.
22 Establish a safe location to meet your mentee.
23 Establish a phone number to reach your mentee.
24 Establish a time and date to meet with your mentee.
25 Establish an address to reach your mentee.
26 Establish boundaries with your mentee.
27 Explain to your mentee why you find his/her behavior acceptable or unacceptable.
28 Explore positive and negative consequences.
29 Get to know your mentee.
30 Get your mentee to trust you.
31 Give your mentee eye contact-when speaking.
32 Give negative and positive feedback to your mentee.
33 Give all points of view a fair hearing.
34 Have a mentor and mentee evaluation.
35 Have some fun with your mentee.
36 Identify the mentee’s interests and take them seriously.
37 If you have a concern that is beyond your ability, refer the person to someone else.
38 Influence the mentee through constructive feedback.
39 Leave messages on your mentee’s voice mail to cancel meetings.
40 Leave messages on your mentee’s voice mail to confirm meetings.
41 Listen carefully and offer possible solutions.
42 Look for signs of improvements.
43 Make sure the mentee understands they will see you again.
44 Measure the success of the relationship by the extent of the mentee’s disclosure.
45 Offer alternative perspectives.
46 Participate in periodic evaluations.
47 Present information carefully without distortion.
48 Progress toward completion of your mentoring objectives.
49 Protect the health and safety of your mentee.
50 Provide relevant books, web resources, articles, or other resources to the mentee.
51 Provide job shadowing opportunities or an on-site visit.
52 Provide professional networking opportunities.
53 Recommend developmental activities.
54 Remember to encourage your mentee.
55 Request long-term career guidance.
56 Respect the uniqueness and honor the integrity of your mentee.
57 Serve as a resource expert.
58 Set realistic expectations and goals for your mentee.
59 Suggest methods for advancing the mentee’s growth.
60 Think of ways to problem solve together.
61 Try to achieve the goals.
62 Watch your time management.
63 Work together to discuss development expectations, set objectives and complete a formal mentoring agreement.
64 You may include others (i.e. spouse, friends, other mentees/mentors and relatives) only when needed.
65 You may call for help if the mentee becomes out of control.

Should Not Do
1. Do not pass judgment concerning your mentee.
2. Do not spend an exorbitant amount of money for non-related subject materials.
3. Do not bring someone else with you when you are with your mentee.
4. Do not display any forms of misconduct or participate in any illegal actions.
5. No overnight stays or physical contact.

Mentors and mentees should be matched together by their interests, education level or area of study, needs, career aspirations, leadership experience, availability, and location. More leaders should consider participating in a mentoring program to train the next generation. When considering being a mentor, the leader should answer the following questions: If you are a mentor, who are you teaching, developing or training? Are you assisting persons in your family? How are you giving your knowledge back to your community? Who is your personal mentor? How much time do you spend working on your own personal talents and abilities? Every organization should have a mentor or a mentoring program. If you are interested in starting a mentoring program, then please follow the steps below:

1. Get others to volunteer to become mentors.
2. Get a Mentor Program Coordinator.
3. Develop a mentor application form
4. Develop a mentee application form
5. Get others to register for the mentoring program.
6. All forms should be turned in to the Mentor Program Coordinator.
7. Mentors and mentees should be matched together.
8. Mentors and mentees will be notified of their match.
9 Mentee will be contacted details about their assignment mentor.
10. Details of the program along with program guidelines will be provided to the mentor.
11. It is the mentor’s responsibility to contact the mentee to initiate the mentoring process.
12. At the first meeting, the schedule of topics and the activities should be discussed and agreed upon.

Strive to maintain a positive mentorship with your mentee for as long as possible. If all goes well, the relationship can last a lifetime. But if that is not the case, then the leader should notify the mentee of the date and time of their final session well in advance. The mentorship may end due to the completion of the goal, personal development, or educational experiences. On the negative side of things, the mentorship may end because the pairing was simply a bad match.

Everything comes down to leadership, whether you are the leader of a non-profit organization, a small business, a Fortune 500 Company, or a line crew. Remember, a great leader will always work on their morality, character, influence, commitment level, communication, innovation, decision-making, problem solving, and their administrative and mentoring skills. Do not hesitate to evaluate yourself and make the necessary improvements to become a better leader. Remember, the world needs more great leaders to prepare, train, and mentor the leaders of tomorrow.

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