Over the years, I have had the privilege of being an advisor, coach, and mentor to some of the most talented individuals. Through my extensive global diversity and business acumen, I have discovered the real power of successful mentoring comes from creating a deep connection and trust with my mentees.
Despite a very hectic travel schedule due to my international consulting and coaching practice, I find meaning in giving back in a tangible way. For this reason, I have accepted opportunities to mentor a number of people, handpicked for their drive toward professional development. I simply could not say no to individuals hungry to grow their skills and develop talent in specific areas of their lives.
One of my recent mentees, Jane Anderson, asked that we collaborate on this article so the success of our collaboration could be shared. In my role as mentor, I was able to guide her through the disruptive event of post-retirement. By leveraging inspiration, motivation, and transformation I was able to guide her to uncover her real passions, interests, and desires at this chapter in her life. This partnership has been gratifying and beneficial to both of us. Allow me to look at this process holistically from both perspectives: mentee and mentor.
The value of this Article will be evident as I share perspectives from my mentor’s vantage point, while Jane will share hers from the mentee point of view. This will portray both sides of the relationship required to create impactful and meaningful outcomes in someone’s life.
To ensure effective and successful mentorship, you may want to consider the following:
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Interview Mentee – It is essential to have an initial conversation before committing to mentor someone, even if you know them. Look for indicators of how well you may be paired as well as if it is the right timing for both parties. If not, it is crucial to decline your support professionally. (It should go without saying, but you may be surprised what often happens).
Define Mentor Role – The key is to minimize confusion regarding the role of the mentor, especially if someone has never worked with a mentor or previously had a poor experience. Mentoring is often confused with coaching and advising, although the roles are different. Carefully spell out what you will do, as the mentor, and set proper boundaries up front.
Establish goals for long and short-term growth and development. – Like anything in life, we all have different priorities that we would like to accomplish, goals we want to reach, and a desire to become the best version of ourselves. As a result, different goals or objectives will require different levels of effort and time frames. Most importantly, trust yourself, the process, and your mentor.
Outline Clear Expectations – As in any successful relationship, it is essential to outline expectations from both parties. This is where many things break down very quickly when they could be prevented. Recognize that mentoring requires substantial time and effort to define clear expectations and establish commitments prior to getting started on the proposed mentoring.
Create a Plan – Explain the actual purpose of the relationship and describe the mentoring that will work the best for both parties. Gain an understanding of what goals and objectives will be discussed, the length of the relationship, as well as the frequency of the meetings.
Foster a Safe Environment – It is so important to build this new relationship on a solid foundation, based on trust, integrity, and a positive attitude. Building a strong foundation from the start will allow mentees to share their goals, concerns, obstacles, and fears freely.
Provide Clear Guidance – Define the structures that will be in place to provide the most optimal conditions for mentee’s personal and professional development.
Create an Impact – The reason we mentor in the first place is to create lives of impact. Some impact will be immediate, even if it is initially very small or incremental. The influence of the mentoring experience will echo endlessly over the time and be experienced in months and years to come. [/message] [su_spacer]
From The Mentee Perspective
As I eased into the role of retiree, there were limitless benefits of sudden freedom from the 5:00 am alarm and 10-hour days. With that freedom, though, came limitless opportunities to waste daily hours that extended to weeks of no real accomplishments. As a former technical writer and analyst, I was not willing to hang up my keyboard and put my brain on permanent sabbatical. This new experience was the antithesis of what I envisioned for my life. I have always said I would never “retire from” but would instead “retire to”. I wasn’t sure if I needed a life coach or an advisor or a mentor, but I chose mentor because it seemed closer to what would serve me best in this season of life.
Izabela Lundberg had written a book, The World Messenger: From Fear to Greatness that allowed me insight into her character and her ambitions. With that background, I asked if she would consider mentoring me. She agreed to a telephone interview to discuss the possible relationship. During our initial call, I was surprised at the clarity I gained from our conversation. Izabela recapped our conversation almost flawlessly.
Here are four things I learned through this mentoring experience.
Choosing a Mentor: When seeking a mentor, be sure they share your values and have the character and integrity that earns your trust. Remember this person may hear some of your most personal stories, discover your fears, and help you work toward your aspirations. Your mentor needs to feel comfortable telling you the truth and being honest in sharing their assessments of progress.
Discovery: My mentor advised me to sit quietly with my thoughts and without interruptions so I could dig deep into what I wanted to do with my life. In discovery, I was to get my ideas, dreams, and roadblocks on paper so I had something tangible to work from. I was assigned a journaling session or several sessions, to determine the boundaries I would set up for myself and for others. It would be best to establish working hours and insist that people honor them.
Planning & Setting Goals: Once I establish boundaries and have communicated to others that I have put them in place, my next step is to set goals for myself and plan how to get from step to step moving forward. I don’t have a lofty goal right now, but that is one thing I am going to be working on through the next several months. Boundaries around my time is a huge step for me and not easily accomplished. I continue to reiterate that I am doing what is best for my health and well-being, which affects my family and friends too.
Following Through: With the guidance, instruction, and encouragement of my mentor I will continue to find the path toward changing my life story so I am setting goals and working toward them. I am determined to “retire to” not “retire from”.
Are you in need of complimentary professional guidance? Follow Jane’s lead and visit our @BIZMENTORING 360° Page to submit your MasterMinding Request!