Experienced business leaders have a lot to offer. Not only can they bring their skills and experience to the business they are leading, but they can also share them with the people that comprise that business. Below, we have outlined how any business leader can improve their value as a mentor to employees.
Establish Expectations Immediately
When you first start mentoring someone, it is important that you take the time to work out what their goals and expectations are. If necessary, you might need to help your mentee to adjust their expectations, so they are more realistic. If they are expecting your mentoring to radically transform their lives, then they will likely be disappointed. Even the best mentor can only do so much for other people before they are essentially doing their jobs for them.
Your first session with a new mentee should involve a thorough introduction in which you explain to them exactly what your role is and what you can do for them. It is also worth establishing ground rules for how your sessions and your relationship will evolve over time. For example, make them aware of the importance of turning up on time to sessions, being professional and respectful, and any other ground rules that you have for mentees. Clear communication from the outset will ensure that your relationship begins on the best footing possible.
Assess Your Mentee’s Needs
Once you have got the admin out of the way and you have introduced your mentee to the world of mentoring, the next thing to do is to assess what their needs and goals are. You will find that many people that seek out a mentor only know that they want to grow and improve but don’t know how to go about it. As a mentor, one of the most important things you can do for your mentees is to help them to identify what their long-term goals are and how they can achieve them.
Your mentee might be coming to you with some goals already in mind. If this is the case, then break down exactly what those goals are and why they are pursuing them. If you think that these goals are worth pursuing, you can offer them advice on how to do so. However, if you think that they are headed down the wrong path then you can suggest an appropriate course correction.
Try To Arrange A Regular Schedule
If you want your mentoring lessons to stick with your mentee then you need to regularly meet for sessions. Meeting regularly will make your mentoring sessions a part of your mentee’s regular schedule, making it much easier for them to integrate the lessons they learn into their professional lives. Setting up a regular schedule is also good practice for those mentees that need to improve their organisation abilities.
You should also discuss with them what the protocol is for contacting you outside of your regular sessions. You might not be available outside of your scheduled sessions, in which case you will need to work with your mentee to ensure that they have a way of reaching out to you, even if the response isn’t immediate.
Remember To Listen As Well As Advise
Being a good mentor isn’t just about dispensing advice. Obviously, this is an important component of mentoring, but it is only half the battle. It is just as important that you are able to listen to your mentees and take on board everything that they say to you. The advice that you are dispensing should be rooted in what they tell you. You might have plenty of worthwhile advice to dispense but you should only dispense it where it is directly relevant to the mentee in question.
Part of listening is learning to ask the right questions. This is a skill that you have to develop with experience. But as a general rule, you should be asking open-ended questions that encourage the mentee to think about their response. Avoid leading questions that imply an answer as these will prevent your mentee from considering things for themselves and drawing their own conclusions.
Consider A Business Coaching Course
Business coaches are like professional mentors. Over the course of a business coaching qualification, students will learn how to help their clients to identify their long-term business goals and formulate a plan for achieving them. There is a wide range of business coaching courses available today. Not only are there business coaching courses that are tailored for coaches that want to work in specific industries but there are also several different levels of business coaching courses.
For example, as the ILM Level 7 course details outlined here state, the ILM Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring is aimed at business managers and leaders. Many people working in these roles are acting as mentors to their workers and an ILM Level 7 coaching course will allow them to formalize this aspect of their job. These courses enable business leaders to offer a more structured and deliberate mentoring experience for their mentees. While completing an ILM Level 7 Qualifications in Executive Coaching and Mentoring and earning an coaching certificate, students will cover a variety of subjects, spread across several modules.
If you are serious about being a mentor and see it as being an integral part of your duties as a business leader then a business coaching course is one of the most effective ways of building on your abilities in that regard. By combining the formal learning of a business coaching course with real-world experience that you have gained as a business leader, you can take your mentoring to the next level.
The best business leaders are also fantastic mentors. The right mentor can enable a mentee to achieve their full potential and transform their professional lives. Being a good mentor is partly about experience, but it is a skill that you can develop deliberately. Sticking to the advice above will enable you to be a better business mentor.