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How to be a good mentor: 5 ways to make an impact

These five tips on how to be a good mentor will give you a foundation for both you and your mentee to grow in the partnership.

In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to be a mentor and have found a great sense of pride in making a positive impact on someone else. While doing so, I’ve learned the ins and outs of advising others and how to be a good mentor for them.

Being a mentor promotes connectivity to other people in the workplace. It is a rewarding experience for the mentor, and in turn, assures the mentee there are others in the organization who care about them, want to help them with their professional goals and can support them when dealing with the day-to-day struggles of the workplace.

As a mentor, you will want to set some guidelines to follow to ensure both you and your mentee are successful in the partnership. Here are a few tips to start:

5 tips on how to be a good mentor

1. Establish expectations and ground rules.

When you are first introduced to your mentee, make them comfortable by explaining your role. Share a bit about yourself. Answer any questions they may have about the mentoring process.

Point out what you expect of them, and then explain what you’re prepared to do for them, whether it be coach, teach or open doors to help them be successful.

2. Do an informal needs assessment.

Ask the mentee what their priorities are in meeting with you. Which aspects of their job or career do they want to focus on? What areas are they hoping to improve in?

3. Set goals mutually.

Find out from the mentee’s leader what they would like you to focus on as their mentor. Weave in those elements with the areas the mentee wants to focus on.

You and the mentee should then prioritize what you’ll address together first. Agree on how much time you’ll devote to the initial issues and how much depth to go into.

4. Listen carefully first, then ask and advise.

You may have all kinds of wisdom and experience, but a mentee isn’t an empty vessel into which you pour your knowledge. It’s unfair to them if you drown them with all your own brilliance. Hear what the mentee has to say before giving your opinion.

5. Be accountable to each other.

If you promise to investigate an issue or provide a resource to the mentee, do so according to the terms of your commitment. By the same token, expect them to meet their pledges to you.

Trust and accountability are foundations of an effective mentoring relationship.

Your next steps as a mentor

If you have not committed to be a mentor already, ask yourself if the role is right for you. It is such a great opportunity to impact someone while also growing yourself.

If you are already a mentor, this should give you the foundation to grow in your role. Just remember to be yourself, be honest, be transparent and do your best to give your mentee the best experience that you can.

Find a company that supports career growth.

At Schneider, we encourage our associates to take advantage of career growth and professional development opportunities – like joining the mentoring program. Apply for a job at Schneider and see where your career could take you.

About the author
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Ashley is a Senior Campus Recruiter who started her journey at Schneider in 2015. Over the years, she has been involved in many special projects and operating plans that have helped the company's recruiting efforts. Ashley also oversees Schneider's Summer Internship Program: She enjoys working with colleges and students all over the country! Outside of work, Ashley is very busy attending her four children's sporting events and activities. She also loves biking, gardening and going on supper club dates with her husband.

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