Do you have what it takes to be a great mentor? Take a look at some of the skills it takes to effectively mentor others in personal and professional settings.
By Katlynd Poulton
Employers who take on co-op students also take on the role of being a mentor. Mentors are great people to have access to; they are helpful, understanding and want to see others succeed. Recently I was told by Avery Morris, another PR professional, that everyone should have two mentors – one personal and one professional. I had never thought about it before but completely agreed with her when she explained why. Avery talked about how not enough people ask others to mentor them, shying away worried of rejection. However, she explained that most people, if asked, are more than willing to be a mentor and are often flattered by the request.
It's nice to have someone to turn to for advice and support, which is what mentors are great at doing. Ask yourself, 'do I have what it takes to be a mentor'? Truthfully, you may not know or you may question if others could see you as their mentor. The following are some key qualities that great mentors possess, check them out and see what it takes to be a great mentor to your colleagues and co-op students.
Take pride in your work and your work ethic. Make others strive to be of your likeness. Mentors inspire people to be like them in many ways and are strong leaders, which is why others are drawn to them. As a mentor, you must stay consistent and live up to those high standards on a daily basis. Show your enthusiasm for your job on a daily basis and let others know why you love what you do!
Care both about your role as a mentor but also the relationship you hold with the mentee. It is important to those you mentor that they feel you truly care about them, the relationship and their future. Your mentee has a lot of trust in you, therefore you must place importance on the relationship.
Make sure you are listening to your mentee. People like to double check, so you may have to explain things more than once or twice but this is okay – stay patient! Your mentee simply wants to do the best they can. Also, make sure the advice you are giving is perceived correctly. Ask your mentee questions, have them clarify; if you are both on the same page your mentoring has been effective.
Don't always wait for your mentee to approach you for help. Every now and then connect with them and see how they're doing or if they need you. Letting the mentee know you're interested shows that you care and value the relationship with them. It can also assure them that you share a two-way relationship; rather than them coming to you all the time, make an effort to check in and chat.
Offer to share your expertise when appropriate, the mentee will appreciate your ideas and constructive criticism. If you have skills you can easily teach to others, pass them along. A mentor of mine once taught me more about using Excel in an hour than I was able to pick up in 5-10 online tutorials. It is nice to have someone teach you new things – it's also nice to be the teacher!
Mentors should also be someone else's mentee! There is always something new for us to learn and there is always someone willing to teach us. Mentors need to stay up-to-date and efficient in their job roles in order to be the best mentor that they can be. Take tips from other mentors or mentees and utilize them to better yourself.
Motivating others can be tricky, but if you are the kind of person that possesses a positive attitude and the willingness to succeed, you'll do great! People that constantly set and reach their goals motivate others to do the same. Individuals who set strong examples in their personal and professional lives are cut out to be great mentors.
If someone approached you today, do you have what it takes to be a great mentor?