A good mentor can have a profound impact on a mentee's professional and personal development. A good mentoring relationship primarily includes mutual trust and respect, effective sharing of knowledge and experience, regular communication, and focusing on the goals and needs of the mentee.
In this article, we will look at the key methods, techniques, and tools that a good mentor uses in their work. We will also provide a list of over fifty specific activities that a mentor can use in their work to best help the mentee grow.
In addition, at the end of this column, you will find a link to a free ebook in PDF format that can be useful to any mentor in mentoring practice.
And before we get to the techniques used in mentoring, let's take a moment to talk about a topic that is fundamental to the success of mentoring.
It is a clear definition of the mentoring goal and defining what will tell you that the goal has been achieved. This step in the mentoring relationship is mainly up to the mentee and it is up to the mentee to decide what they want to achieve by working with the mentor.
But a mentor can help you take that first, very important step. It may take even the first few sessions to clearly define the goal. But it is an investment necessary for your ultimate success and satisfaction. This can be achieved using various methods, such as setting SMART goals, setting OKR goals, creating a personal development plan, or using the GROW coaching model.
By setting clear goals and regularly reviewing their progress as a mentor, you will greatly help your mentee stay focused and motivated and ensure that the mentoring relationship continues to deliver the expected results. Fundamentally, however, these must be Mentee's goals - not goals imposed by you.
Another important aspect of mentoring is providing support, inspiration, knowledge, and practical guidance. This can take many forms, such as offering advice and insights based on their own experiences, providing access to resources and contacts, and providing constructive feedback that helps the mentee grow.
A mentor may also have a significant positive impact on college students. A mentor can help you choose classes, manage time, prepare for tests, and help you tackle other challenges. This is very nicely explained in a comprehensive column published by the ivypanda.com blog under the title "Who is a student mentor?"
There are many different activities and exercises you can do with your mentee as a mentor. Let's look at the most important of them first. However, at the end of this column, you will find a list of several dozen very specific activities and exercises that you, as a mentor, can do together with your mentee.
What a Good Mentor does to help his/her mentee develop
There are many different activities and exercises you can do with your mentee as a mentor. Let's look at the most important of them first. However, at the end of this column, you will find a list of nearly 60 very specific activities and exercises that you, as a mentor, can do together with your mentee.
The mentor shares his experience and acquired knowledge
This can be done through informal conversations or more structured discussions, such as sharing a case study or presenting a scenario to solve a problem. By sharing your own experiences and the challenges you have faced, as a mentor you can help the mentee realize that they are not alone and that there are many different ways to approach and solve problems.
A mentor gives Mentee access to valuable resources and people
One of the most valuable things you can do as a mentor is to help your mentee access the resources and contacts they need to grow and succeed. This may include sharing articles, books, or websites that you find helpful. This could be introducing the mentee to people in your network who can provide valuable advice or support, or helping the mentee find career opportunities.
The mentor gives feedback
Regular feedback is an essential part of any mentoring relationship as it helps the mentee see where they are progressing and where they need to improve. This can be done through conversations or more structured approaches such as feedback and feedback tools such as 360-degree feedback. By providing regular feedback and professional coaching, you can help your mentees develop new skills and behaviors that will help them achieve their goals.
Another important aspect of mentoring is helping the mentee develop their skills and abilities. This can be achieved through a variety of activities, such as creating opportunities for learning and new experiences, helping the mentee practice and apply new skills, and offering support and guidance as knowledge develops.
A mentor creates opportunities for learning and development
One of the best ways to help your mentee develop their skills and abilities is to offer them new opportunities to learn and develop. This may, for example, include sharing articles, books, or websites that you find helpful. But it can also create opportunities for new experiences in the current work environment. By providing your mentees with these opportunities, you help them gain new experiences, knowledge, and skills that will benefit them in their future careers.
The mentor helps the mentee practice and polish new skills
In addition to providing new opportunities to learn and grow, it is also important to help the mentee practice and apply the new skills they have learned.
The mentor plays roles and helps plan different scenarios
Role-playing and scenario planning are mentoring activities that involve simulating real-life situations or scenarios to practice and develop newly acquired skills and abilities. Planning different scenarios of solutions is aimed at showing how different ways problems can be solved and how to lead to the most optimal solution in given conditions. One of the most common questions used here is to ask "What if..."
These activities can be very beneficial in a mentoring relationship as they provide a safe and controlled environment for the mentee to practice and develop new skills and behaviors. They can also help the mentee develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives and approaches to problem-solving.
There are many different ways to use role-playing and scenario planning in a mentoring relationship. For example, you and your mentee can role-play a difficult conversation or negotiation, or go through planning different scenarios to practice decision-making or conflict resolution. You can also use these activities to help your mentee develop communication skills, assertiveness, leadership skills, or problem-solving strategies.
A good mentor understands the importance of summarizing and concluding reflections
The key to the effectiveness of role-playing and scenario simulations is summarizing and concluding reflection on the experience. After role-playing or planning a scenario, it's important to take some time to discuss what happened and what we've learned. This can help the mentee gain insights and perspectives that he or she may not have considered in class. It can also help him identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to overcome such challenges in the future.
Taking stock and reflecting on the experience, can significantly help your mentee get the most out of these exercises.
The mentor develops his mentee through action
Learning by doing is a mentoring activity that involves learning through one's own experience and reflecting on it together. In a learning-by-doing situation, the mentee is presented with a real problem or challenge and encouraged to think critically and creatively to find a solution. The mentee is then supported and mentored as he implements his solution and reflects on the results.
Learning by doing has many advantages in a mentoring relationship. It allows the mentees to gain practical experience and apply their knowledge and skills in real-life conditions. It also encourages creativity and critical thinking as the mentee is tasked with coming up with a solution to a problem or challenge. In addition, learning by doing fosters collaboration and teamwork as the mentee often collaborates with others to implement their solution.
There are many different ways to use learning by doing in a mentoring relationship. For example, you can use learning by doing to help your mentee develop leadership skills, allowing them to lead a team or project.
The key to effective learning by doing is encouraging self-reflection and feedback from the mentor. When the mentee implements his solution, it is important that he regularly reflects on his progress, and achieved results and shares this with the mentor. This makes it easy to identify areas for improvement and adjust the approach accordingly. Of course, such cooperation is possible only on the condition of previously developed mutual trust and respect.
The mentor creates space for self-reflection for the mentee
The practice of reflection and expanding the mentee's awareness is a mentoring activity that involves taking time regularly to reflect on one's experiences, thoughts, and emotions to gain new insights. Reflective practice can help the mentee develop self-awareness, challenge existing limiting beliefs, identify areas of growth and development, gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as become aware of how and why the mentee is perceived by colleagues.
In a mentoring relationship, reflective practice can be a valuable tool for both mentor and mentee. By regularly taking time to reflect on each other's experiences and thoughts, both parties can gain insights and perspectives that can help both parties grow and develop. The practice of regular reflection can also help build trust and understanding between mentor and mentee as it involves sharing personal thoughts and experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
There are many different ways to use reflective practice in a mentoring relationship. For example, you and your mentee can set aside time at the end of each mentoring session to reflect on what has been discussed and what you have learned. You can also use reflective practice as a tool to help your mentee learn from difficult experiences. Another way is for the mentor to use coaching techniques, in particular asking open questions. One of the most effective tools in this field is the GROW coaching model.
A practical description of the GROW coaching model, which can be used by a mentor, and after gaining some proficiency, even by the mentee himself, can be found at the following link:
The key to effective reflective practice is to make it a permanent part of the mentoring relationship. It is important to take time to reflect and create a safe and supportive environment where both parties feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences. By regularly reflecting on their experiences, both mentor and mentee can gain new insights and new perspectives.
The mentor is the sponsor and spokesperson of the mentee
Sponsoring and being a spokesperson are mentoring activities that include ethical promotion and supporting the mentee in gaining recognition in a given environment. As a sponsor, you provide your mentees with opportunities to develop skills and career development, as well as support them in your organization or industry, e.g. through access to new projects or training. As an advocate and advocate, you help the mentee connect with new people and networks.
There are many different ways to use sponsorship and advocacy in a mentoring relationship. For example, you can sponsor your mentees, providing them with the opportunity to work on ambitious projects or participate in professional development programs. You can also support your mentee by sharing your network and contacts, making specific suggestions, and providing encouragement and reassurance.
The key to effective sponsorship and advocacy is planned and consistent support and advocacy for the professional development and success of the mentee. This means being proactive in seeking opportunities as well as being genuinely committed to helping the mentee achieve their goals. By consistently supporting and standing up for your mentees, you can help them gain skills and experience that they would not be able to acquire without your help.
Here is a list of specific techniques, tools, and activities that a Good Mentor can use
Invite the Mentee to discuss personal values. Discuss how to align your actions with these values.
Share your experience in the area of setting and consistently implementing priorities, especially when there is a lot of work.
Discuss the results of the mentee's work so far (e.g. collected in the form of an annual employee evaluation summary) and provide feedback.
Discuss the professional goals and aspirations of the mentee.
Evaluate your current skills (e.g. using psychometric tests) and discuss areas for development with Mentee.
Conduct a 360-degree evaluation session.
Together with Mentee, create her/his personal development plan.
Research and discuss potential career paths.
Create a Mentee career plan together and evaluate potential employment opportunities.
Discuss and discuss the mentee's personal brand and give tips on how to develop and promote it.
Discuss the mentee's work-related stress level together and provide support.
Discuss and review the mentee's work-life balance and share your observations.
Discuss with Mentee her/his job challenges and provide support and guidance.
Analyze together the leadership competencies of the mentee. Give feedback and support.
Discuss different leadership styles with Mentee and their pros and cons.
Work through the Situational Leadership model with Mentee.
Share your experience in the field of team building and development.
Share your failures as a leader and lessons learned from failures.
Share your own experiences and lessons learned from your successes and achievements.
Tell us about the turning points in your professional career.
Share how you coped (or not) with unexpected developments or emergencies beyond your control.
Explain what has helped you overcome your limitations and develop so far.
Share how you take care of yourself and manage your energy and motivation.
Share and recommend articles, books, web portals, webinars, or other resources for professional or personal development.
Give your advice about associations, clubs, or other organizations worth joining.
Recommend training or workshops worth attending.
Inform about interesting projects in the company that are worth taking part in.
Familiarize the Mentee with the GROW coaching model. Invite Mentee to practice self-coaching regularly based on this model
Invite the Mentee to practice learning by transferring and explaining what you have just learned with others.
Invite Mentee to do something under your care that he has never done before.
Teach Mentee the art of asking open-ended questions.
Develop and practice effective communication skills with Mentee.
Practice with the Mentee to develop emotional intelligence.
Guide how to manage and navigate workplace politics.
Provide tips on networking and building professional relationships.
Share with your mentee part of your professional network and contacts.
Guide how to develop and maintain a professional network.
Provide tips on how to develop and maintain a professional online presence.
Take part in a networking event together.
Guide how to prepare for interviews.
Practice interviews with Mentee and give feedback.
Provide tips on how to prepare for public speaking and presentations.
Go through the presentation proposal prepared by Mentee together. Submit your suggestions.
Practice with the Mentee making presentations both remotely and live.
Guide how to negotiate salary and benefits.
Act out difficult conversations or negotiations.
Tell Mentee how to deal with a difficult employee or a difficult colleague from work.
Practice difficult conversations with Mentee. Play roles. Submit observations.
Develop the art of wise assertiveness with Mentee.
Develop and practice time management and organizational skills with Mentee.
Develop and practice problem-solving and critical thinking skills with your mentee.
Practice good project management practices with Mentee.
Provide tips on how to recognize and overcome Impostor Syndrome, Tall Poppy Syndrome, or Boiling Frog Syndrome.
Create intellectual and emotional challenges for your mentee
Challenge your mentee's beliefs and assumptions with open-ended questions
Regularly check the Mentee's progress toward the agreed plan. Adjust the plan if necessary. Show support. Provide motivation.
Regularly ask the Mentee for feedback on your mentoring activities.
Don't be afraid to admit you don't know something. Then, together with Mentee, look for answers.
Share your own experiences and lessons learned from being a Mentor to others.
Library of Questions that creates a space of comfort and trust
A free ebook in PDF format is available on the Empowerment Coaching portal. It is a 30-page self-development book called "The Engaging Leader Questions Library".
In it, you will find a list of very specific questions, thanks to which an atmosphere of comfort and security is built, and at the same time, a space for self-reflection and expanding awareness is created. Even a good mentor will find inspirational questions and tips in this free PDF ebook.
The last section of this free ebook is dedicated to leadership and self-reflection. It can be used by every mentor and every leader who is interested in expanding their awareness and self-development.
You can find this free booklet at the link below.