Mentoring in the workplace is becoming more prevalent than ever before, aided by the establishment of new services designed to enhance and accelerate the mentor-mentee relationship. Millennials are leading the charge, with a recent study by Deloitte contending that those who plan on sticking around at a company for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor.
For young people in the workplace, identifying someone they want to learn off doesn’t tend to be too difficult, but building a relationship with them is another story. That’s where things have been simplified in recent years; there an assortment of platforms available to help facilitate these connections, rather than just approaching a senior colleague out of the blue.
To ensure the relationship between mentor and mentee is a healthy, mutually beneficial one, we’ve compiled some tips for each party.
Have clear goals
You’ve clearly thought enough about your career to seek out a mentor, so commit to some concrete goals you want to achieve rather than just cruising along. Having something tangible to aim for will help keep you on track.
Your mentor is putting time and effort into your professional development, so turning up ready to go is essential. Being well-prepared is key to demonstrating how serious you are about furthering your career.
Don’t just turn up to each meeting or catch-up and sit there absorbing information. Take the initiative, prepare questions of your own and pitch some original ideas to add a collaborative element to the interactive.
Ask decent questions
Steer clear of the mundane questions and opt for something a little more nuanced that requires the mentee to actually think about their answer. We’re not talking riddles or brainteasers – just questions that require the individual to elaborate and explain themselves.
Give honest feedback
At the end of the day, your prerogative is to better your mentee’s career, not be their friend. This doesn’t mean to scold them unnecessarily for mistakes but don’t hold back if you have some genuine constructive criticism that will help them moving forward.
Help with networking
One thing young employees usually struggle with in the interim is connecting with other people in the industry. This is where you come in; by introducing, recommending and advocating, you can get your mentees foot in the door where it otherwise may not have been possible.