Moving Your Mentoring Relationship To A Whole New Level

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Having spoken about how to choose a mentor, why somebody should become a mentor and meeting your mentor for the first time, it’s now time to move your mentoring relation to a whole new level.

Your relation with your mentor or mentee is like any other important relationship. It’s built on trust, shared experiences, reciprocity, respecting boundaries and being genuinely interested in the other person. Eric Barker from Barking Up The Wrong Tree made some great suggestions on how to build trust in a relationship:

  • Act with discretion. Keep secrets secret.
  • Communicate often and well. The more you know about each other, the more you are willing to help each other.
  • Match words and deeds. Remember all the promises you make and set realistic expectations so you can meet all of your commitments.
  • Highlight knowledge domain boundaries. If you don’t know something, be willing to admit your lack of knowledge.
  • Hold people accountable for trustworthy behavior. If someone does well, let them know. If they disappoint you, let them know because they will not respect you if you let them walk over you.

For a mentoring relationship to really blossom it has to evolve into an intimate relationship. It is a relation in which both parties are able to disclose their inner most thoughts and concerns, and where both mentor and mentee become interdependent. This of course can’t be hurried, although specific defining moments can certainly accelerate this process. Who doesn’t remember the bond that was created with your best friend when both of you went through that ‘once in a life time experience’.

Ellen Esher and Susan Murphy in their book: Power Mentoring, mention that to deepen the mentoring relationship you need to:

  • Develop a deep understanding of each other’s work and issues
  • Develop a mutual admiration
  • Treat each others as confidants
  • Be open to ideas
  • Help each other focus on solving issues you can influence
  • Create mutual wins

Not all mentoring relations end up in a powerful and highly successful partnership. Sometimes the chemistry or the intent is not there or simply the circumstances are not right. In those cases you have to have the guts to call it a day and move on. Maybe find another moment or maybe find another mentor. Don’t give up, the support you can get from a mentor makes it a worthwhile pursuit and hopefully at some time you can turn the tables and mentor others.

– Paul Keijzer

P.S. If you are interested in being mentored by me, send me a short email (paulkeijzer@engageconsulting.biz) with the reasons why I should chose you as my mentee. I can’t promise I will choose you but I do promise I will respond! 

You may also like:
Meeting Your Mentor For The First Time
Why Should You Become A Mentor

Why Should You Become A Mentor?

Mentoring

“Before you are a leader success is all about growing yourself, when you are a leader success is all about growing others” – Jack Welch

So why should you and why would you trouble yourself in making the effort, investing time and emotional capital in trying to mentor someone junior. Of course you should not. If you really feel that mentoring someone younger is a burden then is not worth it, please don’t do it because it will not work and will leave a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.

Let me however ask you a question. When you are 85 and looking back on your career and people are asked to summarize your achievements, which of the below statements would you prefer (you can only choose one of the two)

“John has been an amazing achiever. He beat the competition, doubled our market share, tripled the revenue of the company and quadrupled the profit. Shareholders loved him for dividend soared and made them rich”

Versus

“John was a real talent magnet; he attracted the best and no matter your ability he was able to help individuals grow beyond what they thought was possible. Whoever worked with him succeeded to bigger jobs and 10 of them became CEO’s of other large companies. They all recognize him for the impact he had on their career”

Personally I would choose the second example any time. Why? Simply because financial results are as lasting as the calendar they are made in. Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of modern Vietnam captured this beautifully when he said “to reap a return in 10 years plant trees, to reap a return in 100 years cultivate the people”.

Even if you are not driven by the desire to positively impact another person’s career, then here are some other reasons why you should consider mentoring:

1. Mentoring others accelerates your own career
First and foremost mentoring will accelerate your own career. Developing talent for most companies is a capability that they will carefully assess regarding the potential of a future leader. Your ability to attract, support and push mentees forward proves to your managers that you have the ability to not only deliver results, but also the talent needed to further grow the organization.

2. You will in return learn as well
Mentoring someone younger gives you the opportunity to learn from others. You will be challenged to stay on top of your game by teaching others. You get the opportunity to see the world from someone else’s perspective, you get an opportunity to stay in tune with what is ‘really’ happening in the organization and hopefully have an opportunity to get infused with new ideas as you will be stepping outside your normal circle of influence.

3. Build long lasting reciprocal relationships
Finally, mutual beneficial mentoring relationships last a life time. Giving the opportunity to help each other out over a long period of time will at some point in time prove that you would appreciate if your mentee could mentor you.

Senior managers will share their knowledge and experience and in turn the junior upcoming talent will bring to your table innovative and new ideas to allow you to be the best you can be!

Next week I will write about how to make a mentoring relationship work for both parties.

– Paul Keijzer

You may also like:
How Do I Find A Mentor?
Who Did You Learn Most From?