Monday, May 12, 2014

Best Practices in Mentoring

Over the years I have had the honour and opportunity to mentor a number of people, both in my role as a teacher and in my role as a small business advisor. I have thought about what it takes to be a good mentor and here are some ideas.

What is mentoring? Mentoring pertains to the development of rapport involving a more knowledgeable mentor and a less knowledgeable protégé or mentee. A protégé or a mentee is a person who is guided, supported and protected from an experienced mentor. A mentor is the one who boosts the career of a protégé or a mentee.

What is best practice? Best practice is an organizational idea which states that there is a standard activity, process, method, technique, reward or incentive that is more effectual in accomplishing a specific result. The idea is that a desired result is delivered with few or no unexpected complications and/or problems. Best practices is also described as one of the most effective and efficient way in carrying out a task, based on tried and tested procedures.

Therefore, best practices in mentoring involve the development of an equally beneficial correlation that improves the proficient intelligence of the mentor and the protégé or the mentee. A good mentor usually projects expertness, candidness, affability, and communication skills. Enthusiastic protégés or mentees have a tendency to express desire for knowledge, utmost discipline and self-respect.

A Good Mentor

A good mentor is a mentor who (is):

• Listens well and treats the conversation with the mentee as confidential.
• Determines what is important to a mentee and explore their ambitions, propensities and skills.
• Knows the importance of the learning process by creating a candid and open relationship to promote confidence and trust.
• Accepts the fact that in some cases a mentee may need to seek other sources of assistance and help.
• Appropriately trained and has vast knowledge in mentoring.
• Should have a professional approach in mentor-mentee relationship.
• Refrain from mentoring those who are directly reporting to them, no matter how professional the relationship is, this will avoid other colleagues to think that the mentor may influence some matters pertaining to the issues concerning the mentee’s decision and position.

A Good Mentee

A good mentee is a mentee who (is):

• Very enthusiastic to be taught and trained and is liberated to new ideas or concepts.
• A team-player who can interact well with other people.
• A risk taker who is not afraid to go beyond the boundaries of safety and venture into uncertainties to learn.
• Patient enough to realize that an ambition in life cannot be acquired overnight.
• A positive attitude, even in the midst of a crisis.
• Demonstrates inventiveness and resourcefulness in any task assigned.
• Accepts feedback, negative or positive, about behavior and skills, with an intention to improve and learn from it.

When is a Mentor-Mentee Relationship Good?

A good mentor-mentee relationship is not just gauged by the personality of each that they bring into the relationship, more significantly, the occurrence of proper interaction and behavior is needed all throughout the process. What the mentor accomplishes with the mentee, and how eager the mentee responds and receives it, is what matters most in such a relationship.

A good mentor-mentee relationship cultivates and successfully carries out the following:

• Career Roles:

1. A mentor that introduces new opportunities to the mentee, which the latter believes in.
2. A mentor that coaches and sponsors a mentee, which the latter gratefully accepts.
3. A mentor that protects and challenges a mentee, which the latter understands as part of the relationship.

• Psychological Roles:

1. A mentor who is a role-model, which the mentee looks up to.
2. A mentor who counsels, which the mentee receives wholeheartedly.
3. A mentor who befriend a mentee, but is still focus enough to achieve the goals of the relationship.
4. A mentor and a mentee who accept and confirm each others ideas.

Within this representation, a mentor serves as a leader, a teacher that encourages thinking abilities, an advocate of realistic principles, an overseer, and an analyst. A mentee on the other hand is a student who is willing to be taught and is ready to embark on a journey towards an absolute learning experience.

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