What Makes a Stellar Mentoring Relationship? 4 Key Elements
1. Build trust
First and foremost, there must be trust between the mentee and mentor. This is imperative to building a productive mentoring relationship, particularly when the mentor and mentee work in the same organization. Each must feel comfortable sharing insights, lessons learned and challenges in a way that is confidential and judgement free.
2. Establish goals and share lessons learned
It's hard to get anything other than polite conversation out of a mentoring relationship unless you have specific goals to focus on. What is your mentee trying to accomplish? Many mentees I've worked with want my support on improving their presentation and public speaking skills, developing executive presence, enhancing networking skills, and overall career development – just to name a few. In some cases, the mentee might not know how to articulate what they want to focus on. It's the role of the mentor to ask the right questions, listen and offer suggestions.
3. Take action
Mentees should drive the relationship - after all - mentors are donating their time. So, mentees should help set up meetings, schedule calls or video conferencing sessions, and even put together agendas. Revisit previous conversations and have the mentee share updates, progress and how they applied the advice offered. This approach provides a chance to discuss any speedbumps and how to address them going forward. And, bonus, it shows progress, which is always rewarding for both parties.
4. Celebrate successes
This is incredibly important. Celebrating milestones, achievements – large and small – is key to showing progression. One program offers a "graduation" ceremony with certificates of achievement, a virtual toast and awards for mentor and mentee of the year. A great way to cap off time well spent.